I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog. I thought I’d add a different perspective…what it’s like to be the guy who is dating a flight attendant. ALL red-blooded American men dreamed for years of dating a flight attendant. My turn finally came and I was in awe. I then was rather surprised that the glamorous life we were led to believe didn’t really exist. I found flight attendants have one of the toughest lives out there, and to this day I don’t understand how they endure it. My suspicions are…those who can’t take it drop out in the first year, leaving those who can.
I had absolutely no idea that flight attendants (god forbid one slip and say stewardess) didn’t merely go to the airport in time for a morning flight, fly during the day, only to return and sleep in their own bed each night. I was introduced to the world of “trips,” “bidding,” and “seniority.” Since Delta hadn’t hired in many years, my particular flight attendant with many years seniority was still at the bottom of the list, meaning her four day trips frequently consisted of frequent short hops.
I was horrified…and mystified…that essentially flight attendants get paid door closing to door opening. ALL that work-heavy time boarding….is their “contribution to the airline.” All the time waiting with the door open for a mechanical delay is on them. All the time waiting for the last granny to deplane and wait for a missing wheelchair…again on them.
They report two HOURS before a flight….out of the “goodness of their heart.” I was even surprised they weren’t paid on layovers. My strongest belief is that flight attendants should be paid from the second they check in on the first day of their flight until the second they check out on the last day of their flight…even if this means the semi-artificial high flying time pay is reduced. I AM aware that those with seniority would take advantage of this and suddenly WANT the short hops, leaving those with less seniority with the longer flights, but even still…I feel that since they are on company time and rules even when on a lay-over…they should be paid.
It’s not as easy as a flight attendant may feel on their companion. They are gone for four days, on a average, for a trip. The night before a trip, gosh forbid their partner turn on the TV…they need their rest….and forget romance that night either. The night they return, they have a desperate need to get rid of the frozen smile on their face, and have zero desire to talk…they HAVE been talking for four days. The first night home, their companion is to have wine, dinner, a hot bath ready and to ready mute, but at their beck and call. Now six out of seven days have been used. The day after a trip, their companion better be darn ready to go out on the town…it’s their night to party, shop, enjoy the town.
I was extremely surprised to find out a flight attendant wasn’t ecstatic to hear from their loved one at length during a lay-over. I THOUGHT, how nice, they’re alone in a room in a hotel, so they would appreciate a long phone call for companionship. Instead they are working at removing the fixed smile, have been talking all day, can’t really have a drink to relax, and basically want to be alone, probably catching a sports event on TV. I was even surprised that sports was big in their lives until it dawned on me….they can’t really get into a TV series, as they will miss so many episodes, so they learn to watch something that is a one-time event.
So, their life is tough, and their companion has to be totally understanding. I was absolutely unable to understand when economic times got tough, that somehow the airlines felt the flight attendants must be the source of their economic difficulties, so removed crew meals. Let me get this straight…away from home, so no access to your own fridge….so you have to BUY a ridiculously-priced airport sandwich? Let me get this straight, no crew meal, so you have to serve meals to all the passengers, but not get to have one yourself? At Least the CEO’s did away with their own corporate dining rooms. (AS IF.)
Then some bright guy figured out….hey, they have nothing to do after passengers deplane, let’s have the FLIGHT ATTENDANTS clean the plane! Ignore the fact that they are getting paid at that point and essentially every flight attendant I’ve ever met has chronic back and knee problems.
Still, I just can’t help it. I still adore flight attendants. I still am in little boy awe of these goddesses of the sky. I think their absolutely PERFECT grooming and make-up is so appealing. (I’m aware that that perfect grooming comes at a price of yet ANOTHER hour of their own time in their room preparing for the flight…but wow, the results!)
I found it funny how basically EVERY flight attendant will name the SAME city-city flight as the horror flight, the OMG NO I have to fly from this one city to THAT one city? MOST of the flight attendants also have the same celebrity they chose for horror stories. I was sad, that even though International flights have the best pay, the best time spent for hours paid, that it wounds flight attendants with the time changes and hours, so they get burned out.
Congratulations on your blog, and keep up the good work.
What can I say? You’ve already said it all. And thank you for that.