Flight Attendant Confesses Ups And Downs Of Job

An anonymous woman who said she is a 22-year-old flight attendant for a major airline urged Reddit users to ask her anything in an open forum over the weekend. The candid Q&A session turned into a behind-the-scenes look at the life of a flight attendant, including a tell all on the weird things passengers ask for, a discussion on how many people really try to join the mile high club and a confession about the kind of shenanigans that really happen between lonely crew members at outposts. Keep reading to learn more about the ups and downs of the job, including why you should be nice while on board a plane. Just be warned this post is most definitely NSFW (not safe for work).

Q: What is the most crazy request you have been asked by a passenger?

A: Crazy? Goodness.
  • A bag to spit in. I had to confirm several times the word spit
  • A lady with a neck brace “I need soft food I will have rice” (The menu items did not include rice even after explaining she kept ordering things that just didn’t exist)
  • Hot fried chips
  • Nappies
  • Ice cream
  • My number
  • On a Lagos flight a passenger told me he wanted to masturbate. I directed him to the on board toilet.
If it exists a passenger has asked me for it. They ask for EVERYTHING.

Q: What is the best thing about being a flight attendant?
A: Best thing? I feel obvious but new destinations, I get a small taste of EVERYTHING I love it so much, I get to see smell and taste so much. I meet friends all over the world and party like a rockstar everywhere I go because I know I wont be there for long.

Q: What is the pay like? Besides being able to travel all over the world, are there any other benefits, either monetary or otherwise?

A: About 38k US a year, free rent transport and bills, all I pay is internet and taxi. 90% off tickets.

Q: Are there as many people joining the mile high club in the bathroom as television portrays it?

A: Yes people try to join the mile high club. Let me tell you something, those toilets are FILTHY. Absolute FILTH. People shit in the sinks.
Moving on, I caught a lesbian couple in the toilets we had to get three crew to bang open the door and make them come out. She responded with[,] “We were trying to piss[.]“

A crew was fired for getting drunk while she was a passenger flying somewhere and joining a gentleman in the lavatory.

A women had TWO men going at it on a flight from Manchester. Crew opened the door on them and the female tried to assault the crew. When the men went to their connecting flight they were arrested. Not sure what happened to them!

Q: Do people really get bumped to first class if there is a conflict with another passenger?

A: With the question of bumping people yes we move people but generally not for conflict. A month ago on one of my flights economy was full and this gentleman had changed seats several times to accommodate couples, families etc who needed to change seats. He didnt care where he sat and was so gracious. So we moved him to business class. Lesson, be nice!

If you are ill (severely) you will usually be moved to business or first if there aren’t many people in those cabins to recuperate and lie down at the discretion of the seniors.

Q: What’s something a passenger has done that you’ve really appreciated, or was just really nice?

A: I’ve had passengers write comment cards about me, they get given to me via emails from my manager, which is so nice … i love them[.]

Q: When do you plan on settling down? This job doesn’t seem like the type where you can keep a stable relationship.

A: I know :( I hope it’s around 25 … I am 22 now and I love the job so I think two or so more years before I move back home and find love … I will never find a stable relationship in the industry, it is unstable. I want a stable relationship but I wont find it here[.]

Q: Since you fly so much, do you happen to have any sexual urges while in a different country? Do you get off to hooking up with passengers or do you go somewhere to get some?

A: Yep! I um see friends in outstations. I have had some encounters in Hong Kong and I have a few ‘friends’ in Dubai. It’s really hard and you get really lonely so you look for any guy to meet you after flights. All the crew sleep with each other in outstation. It’s a big problem, the cabin crew are desperate to sleep with pilots and senior crew. You have crew call you in the middle of the night in your room, especially pilots!

Q: How long do you stay in each city?

A: Usually 24-72 hours[.]

Q: What’s your favourite city in the world?

A: I cannot name one but I will try to do it region wise
1) Hong Kong (The most fun)
2) Vienna (Amazing food, people, scenery)
3) Moscow (Fascinating, so closed for so long)
4) Melbourne, Australia (Diverse, charming filled with character)
I find some redeeming quality in every city I visit.

Q: What are your thoughts on flight etiquette (e.g. when it’s okay to put your seat all the way back). Is there a classic faux pas we should know about?

A: Seat back if your legs are too long and when not eating. During the meal seats up and if you’re short, it’s not really necessarily. But otherwise seats up for everyone when eating, you can do whatever you want after service.

Q: I’d like to be a flight attendant to see what it’s like to travel and interact. Would I have to go through an exorbitant amount of training before I can work?

A: I did 7 weeks! So worth it… I felt so ready. The training is hard but it paid [off] for me[.]

Q: How do you adjust being in the air so often, and with different time zones and all that? When I fly from the US to Singapore, by the time of the end of the trip I want to actually throw up. Air gets so thin, and the airline food is pretty bad even on Singapore Airlines. I literally need to have a can of sprite when flying on long flights next to me once every hour, slowly sipping until the soda is done to keep sane.

A: You never really adjust. I just did three middle of the night flights and I can’t stay awake in the day, so I have been nocturnal for a week. Some things that I do to keep myself sane is as soon as I get on board I get a bottle of 1.5L water and make myself drink it all. Then I brew a big pot of mint tea after the service and make myself drink that throughout the flight too. Keeping hydrated is valuable to my sanity and mood. We have one trip that is four days long and you have 24 hours in each port but the whole flights are nighttime only. It is TORTURE. Key points 1) Stay hydrated 2) Stay rested (sleep whenever you are tired) 3) Eat smart (this means no business class cheese boards or first class caviar, stick to fresh food only) For me eating right is the hardest, you’re so tired you just want to SHOVE chocolate in your mouth. If I follow the above I am totally fine on board. On flights over 10 hours or so we get rest (sleep) in the crew bunks[.]

Q: What airline/flight benefits or perks do you get as a result of your job?

A: 90% [Off] Flights
Hotel discounts
Event discounts
Free tickets to events

For more adventures in the sky, be sure to follow our resident flight attendant, Heather Poole, in her “Galley Gossip” column.

Please note: These questions and answers have been edited slightly to fit an interview format.

[Photo credit: Flickr user laszlo-photo]