What we don’t know about a flight attendant’s work?


Can you imagine that of all the drinks diet coke fizz takes the most time to settle at 35,000 feet height? In that time which takes cabin crew to pour a single glass of diet coke, one of them can serve three passengers with different beverage. Flight attendants’ work is full of surprises. And there are more things that most of us, probably, even don’t know about flight attendants.

The flight attendant could survive situations like in the TV series LOST

Survival training is one of the many skills in cabin crew’s toolkit. They know how to create a shelter, gather food, find safe drinking water and attract help in the Arctic, jungle, rainforests and deserts, which means passengers are really safe in their hands.

The flight attendant can probably equal the bodyguard

In addition to training in CPR, first-aid, fire safety, and even delivering babies, flight attendants are taught self-defense. The training probably reminds what a woman would learn at an ordinary self-defense class. This course is tailored mainly to deal with security threats such as someone rushing the cockpit.

Flight attendants against human trafficking

Cabin crew self-preparation for tricky situations ensures safety not only during the flight and not only in physical way. Also, cabin crew could be the first line of defense against human trafficking. After Sandra Fiorini, one of the flight attendants, testified to USA Congress about an 18-year-old male passenger carrying a newborn with its umbilical cord still attached. There was no mother in sight, just one bottle of milk and two diapers stuck in his pocket for the six-hour flight. When Sandra reported her suspicions to the authorities, she got no response. In 2007 Sandra Fiorini began working to train airline employees on what to spot and who to call before or during the flight to avoid crimes against human dignity.

Too tall or too short to fly

In the 1960s there were strict requirements for flight attendants. They had to be at least 155 centimeters tall, weigh no more than 60 kilos, and retire by the age of 32. They couldn’t be married or have children, either. Fortunately, the organization Stewardesses for Women’s rights forced airlines to change the requirements. By the 1990s most of the restrictions had been gone.

These days, as long as flight attendants can do the job and pass an initial training programme, they can keep flying. Today, the rules are all about safety! Flight attendants who can’t sit in the jump seat without an extended seat belt or can’t fit through the emergency exit window cannot fly. Also, cabin crew members should be tall enough to grab equipment from the overhead bins, but yet not too tall to avoid hitting the head on the celling. The medium age for cabin crew members is 44 these days.

“No” for alcohol before the flight

There are no exceptions to the mentioned rule. All cabin crew could be subjected to alcohol or drug testing before a flight as it is illegal to be intoxicated on an aircraft.

What happens to the ‘drunk/hangover’ cabin crew member? It depends on the airline. A report has to be written, of course. Alcohol and/or drugs during work results in being fired, without questions or hesitation. Such major safety violation cannot be accepted.

Games flight attendants play

Just because the flight is over does not mean the fun has to stop! Saying 300 “Good-byes” to passengers can get very repetitive, so cabin crew members devise some fun. For example, they pick a random way to share the workload, if there are two of them standing near the exit. One of them takes the passengers with eyeglasses and the other one says goodbye to the ones without them. It may seem silly, but it is the way to stay engaged in each personal encounter so that a flight attendant’s smiles look genuine.

What kinds of surprises cabin crew run into can only be found out after becoming one of them. They are not some kind of special agents with a secret life, but continuous self-improvement makes flight attendants similar to a mysterious group members. A colourful profession with a very colourful daily life!

If you are interested in Flight Attendant training click here.

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