Galley Gossip: A question about why flight attendants are fat, old, grumpy, lazy and ugly

Dear Heather,

Here’s another you hate to hear but I will say it anyway… Why is it that US domestic flight attendants are so much more fat, grumpy, lazy and uglier than their foreign counterparts? They are ALL drop dead gorgeous, smile and don’t ask me for any money when I fly with them. Why is that?

Big Daddy

Dear Big Daddy,

Why am I not surprised that a question like this is coming from a person addressing himself as Big Daddy? Why is it that I shake my head as I read this question and wonder just how big Big Daddy is and whether or not Big Daddy is fatter, grumpier, lazier, or uglier than his foreign counterparts? Does Big Daddy not realize that flight attendants are people, too, and that a flight attendant has every right to grow older and get a little fatter and uglier as the years go by, and that a flight attendant can remain a flight attendant as long as he/she can perform the job? Doesn’t big Daddy realize that flight attendants are allowed the same rights as passengers?

Perhaps Big Daddy doesn’t know that the flight attendants working the US Airways flight that landed in the Hudson River last month were all senior flight attendants in their 50’s. Does Big Daddy honestly believe that all of the passengers who were evacuated safely off that flight and onto the wings and into the slide / rafts in freezing temperature really cared whether or not their flight attendants had hips a tad bit bigger, or a belly slightly larger, or faces not quite as pretty as their foreign counterparts? What is it, Big Daddy, that brings out such backwards thinking in people? And what will become of our foreign counterparts when they, too, get older and fatter and uglier, Big Daddy?

Just a couple questions, Big Daddy – are you married? Do you have children? Run with a good group of friends? If so, do you judge them as lesser than if they’re fatter and older than their foreign counterparts? So why are flight attendants any different?

As far as only experiencing grumpy flight attendants on board your flights, I only know what I know, and what I know is I always try to be kind and friendly with my passengers, always making small talk while serving drinks and doing whatever I can with what little is provided. Most of my passengers deplane with a smile on their face. I say most, not all, because one person can only do so much for 160 passengers (or more).

As far as lazy flight attendants go, there’s only so much a flight attendant can do in this day and age of travel besides offer a drink and apologize because we don’t have this and we don’t have that to a full flight of miserably cramped passengers. I’m sorry the airlines have had to drastically change due to the weak economy. I’m sorry that I have to constantly say I’m sorry. And I’m sorry you feel the level of service and the looks of your attendant are inferior. I’m sorry, always sorry.

But at a time when companies are going under, my airline is still flying strong. I’m proud of that. Even if that means I have to ask you to pay for your headset, alcoholic beverage and snack. At a time when companies are cutting back, my airline has yet to lay off within the last few years. I’m proud of that. Even if that means there are no more pillows and peanuts and the average age of a flight attendant is forty years-old due to the fact that we haven’t hired in years.

If all that matters to you, Big Daddy, when choosing an airline is a gorgeous flight attendant who smiles and doesn’t ask you for money, than yes, our foreign counterparts are by far superior. I hope that answered your question. If you have another question email me at

Happy travels,

Heather Poole

Photos courtesy of (black and white flight attendant) Alexindigo, (flight attendants) praziquantel – flickr