What are the hardest parts of a flight attendant’s job?

Being a flight attendant is truly a way of life and not everyone is suited to it. For some it’s a dream career while for others it’s just a temporary summer job. The job can be very varied and not everyone’s experience is the same. So let’s look at some of the hardest things to do as a flight attendant.

Recruitment process

It is very difficult to get a job as a flight attendant. Each airline has very specific requirements of what they are looking for and all must be met before you even start your application. Then there are many processes to follow like doing online tests, video interview, assessment days, etc. If you pass them, there is the medical and background check to complete. Thousands of people apply to become a flight attendant, but only a small percentage are successful – less than 5% of all applicants.

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Flight attendant training can be stressful. Photo: Getty Images

Training days

The training is very hard and intense, but if you are successful it is the best learning experience and you will acquire skills for life. It’s a stressful time, and it has to be, as flight attendants may have to deal with an emergency and need to be calm and focused in such an event. Not everyone survives training, as some people realize it’s not the job for them or they don’t succeed. No one forgets their first flight attendant training!

Way of life

Working as a cabin crew is a lifestyle and you get used to working long hours at all hours of the day and night. But, because it’s so unpredictable, you may miss family occasions and work when you’d rather celebrate. Friends and family don’t always understand and relationships outside of aviation can be complicated because they don’t appreciate that flying for a living takes up your whole life. Dedicated cabin crew accept it and wouldn’t change it for the world.

Flying is certainly a lifestyle that sometimes friends and family cannot understand. Photo: Austrian Airlines

Salary

The uniform might look nice, and you might have a few decent layovers and maybe even some staff travel, but the pay is pretty low. One certainly does not become an air hostess for the money!

Health

It can be hard on the body after a few years of flying. Working at the altitude of an airplane is like working on top of a mountain, so you have to be in good physical shape. You have to get used to working irregular and conflicting hours and maybe doing multi-sector days – all those take-offs and landings can have an effect on the body. Plus, jet lag can really add up over time and needs to be managed as best you can.

Career change

Once you’ve been flying for a few years, it’s very hard to do anything else. It becomes a very addictive way of life and it is often difficult to change careers. Most long-term workers stay in the aviation industry for many years. Even though flight attendants have many transferable and useful skills, being a flight attendant is still stigmatized and it is difficult to find work outside of aviation as most people think that we are just a waitress in the sky.

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