- Nine flight attendants described to Business Insider the most surprising part of their jobs.
- They work for eight airlines, including United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and American Airlines.
- They offered a range of feedback about passengers, other flight attendants, and themselves.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Any job is bound to have surprises, and being a flight attendant is no different.
Nine flight attendants who work for eight airlines described to Business Insider the most surprising part of their jobs.
Here’s what they said.
The photos in this story do not depict the flight attendants Business Insider interviewed.
How little some people know about flying
A Delta Air Lines flight attendant said that since she flies frequently, she naturally assumes that passengers have a high level of knowledge about flying. So when a passenger asks how to find their row, for example, she’s surprised.
When she encounters passengers flying for the first time, she has to remind herself that they don’t know as much about flying as she does, she said.
How easy it is to bond with other flight attendants
“Most of the people who I work with, I just hit it off with right away. We’re just so similar,” a flight attendant for United Airlines said. “I feel like flight attendants, in general, have very similar personalities.”
“You meet someone and you feel like you’ve known them for 10 years,” she added.
How inconsiderate some passengers can be
A flight attendant for Delta Air Lines said he’s surprised by how inconsiderate some passengers can be toward flight attendants and other passengers.
“Some people just act like children,” he said.
One time, a passenger required medical attention after a flight he was working landed. In that kind of situation, the immediate priority is to make sure the passenger who needs medical attention is able to leave the plane, but some passengers were worried about missing their connection and had to be told to stay in their seats as the passenger who needed medical attention was escorted off the flight, the Delta flight attendant said.
“It’s just shocking to see that side of people,” he said.
How enjoyable the job is
Kevin Cain, a flight attendant for PSA Airlines, said he’s been surprised by how much he’s enjoyed being a flight attendant.
“I knew what to expect, but I didn’t think I would find a career, per se, in being a flight attendant,” he said. “It’s kind of addicting being in-flight and getting positive feedback from passengers and knowing that you are providing a service [to them].”
Celebrities can be very different in person than you’d expect
A flight attendant who works for Worldwide Jet, which charters private jets, said she often works flights with celebrity passengers. By watching celebrities on television or reading about them in tabloids, you think you know them better than you do, she said.
Sometimes, their personalities are different than she expects, like Prince, who wanted the plane’s internal temperature to be very hot and didn’t want anyone on the flight to eat meat.
“You think you know how the celebrities live, but you don’t really know until you actually work with them,” she said.
Unruly passengers are rare
“The most surprising part of my job is that I haven’t actually had that many angry passengers,” a flight attendant for Envoy Air said. “There’s always something in the media about the airline industry and how passengers are getting into fights and stuff like that, but in my experience, I’ve had like two passengers that were an issue.”
The flight-attendant community feels like a family
Sally Ann MacLagan, a flight attendant for Mesa Airlines, said she’s been surprised by how the flight attendant community feels like a family no matter where she is.
“We all have this huge sense of community,” she said.
You learn something new every day
“It might seem cliché, but I think I learn something new every day,” a flight attendant for Alaska Airlines said.
One of the biggest lessons she’s learned is to expect the unexpected.
“You literally can’t plan for everything, and that’s what this job is going to show you,” she said.
Things don’t change at home, even when you’ve been away for a while
“I remember having anxiety about being away for long periods of time and my best friend reassuring me that I wasn’t going to lose my connections with my friends and family, and it’s true,” a flight attendant for American Airlines said. “I find myself being able to pick up right where we left off. The most surprising part is how little things change back home even when we’re gone half the time.”
Are you a flight attendant? Do you have opinions about how much you’re paid? Contact this reporter at [email protected].
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