I am going to assume that you are a well put together flight attendant when I ask this question…Can you honestly say that you have never been embarrassed to walk through the terminal with any of your flying partners? You know the ones. They don’t starch their shirts–or worse, they wear “the dress” because they think it doesn’t need to be ironed (even on a 4 day). If they wear a jacket, the elbows are shiny from wear. The shoes have never seen a bottle of polish and they have “cart toe” so bad you’re not even sure what the original color was. Hair is halfway down her back and in desperate need of a comb–or perhaps she’s sporting the “cheerleader” ponytail (complete with whispies) that is just oh-so professional. And don’t even get me started on the ones with the skirt up to THERE and the 4 inch jumpseat heels.Be assured, I am far from the 115 lb petite beauties of yesteryear.
Honestly, I am short and pudgy–but my uniform is always clean and pressed (even on reduced rest layovers), my hair and make-up (the minimum amount) are clean and tidy. My shoes are clean and polished. (I usually block between 100 and 120 hours per month doing domestic–so there’s a lot of mileage on me, but I keep it together.) It doesn’t take that much effort to look professional–and I think that is really what this whole discussion comes down to.
It’s not about being attractive (except maybe to Big Daddy)–many of our fellow US based FAs give the appearance of being haggard and tired and…well, unprofessional. I recently worked a trip with an FA who was a damned good FA–exactly the person you want in the jumpseat with you in an emergency. However, she was an unholy mess in the appearance department–wrinkled dress, scuffed shoes, fly-away hair. I couldn’t figure out why I was so run-down on this trip until I realized–the PAX asked me for EVERYTHING! She would go through w/ the trash cart and a minute later I’d walk the aisle empty handed and everyone would try to hand me their trash. She would be doing a water walk and PAX would wander back to the galley to get water from me. She is an amazingly warm and outgoing person, but to the PAX she was unapproachable and did not convey confidence-just because of her appearance.
I am not as well put together as I’d like to be, and that’s the honest truth. I’m working on it, though, and it’s because of you, Mary, that I’m working on it. I received your letter a month or so ago and it has haunted me ever since. Whenever I get dressed to go to work I look in the mirror and think of you. I look at my shoes and think of you. I’m not kidding, I’ve been through two pairs of in-flight shoes because of you. My comfortable navy blue Aerosoles, the ones I bought just last month, only lasted five days of flying back and forth from New York to Los Angeles before the dreaded cart toe began to appear. Of course I thought of you. I’m always thinking of you!
CART TOE / HEEL – happens when the leather on the shoe gets worn down from constantly locking and releasing the break on the food or beverage cart during the service and from kicking the cart door shut – Bam! when the service is over.
Yeah, that's me, the one standing in the aisle wearing flammable polyester...