Do flight attendants hang out with pilots on layovers?

Dear Heather,

is it common that you associate with pilots when on layovers? Also after each leg of a trip, does everyone go to the bar? I can’t imagine this is a great family lifestyle for those married.

Just My Thoughts

Dear Just My Thoughts,

Do pilots and flight attendants spend time together on layovers? Sometimes. Depends on the crew. Also depends on the length of the layover. At my airline, the majority of our domestic layovers average 10 hours. Add a delay or a mechanical into the mix (they happen!) and that 10 hour layover quickly becomes a nine hour layover. That’s not enough time to do much other than sleep, eat and shower.

As for international flying, imagine you’re in a foreign country far away from home with twenty four hours to kill and you don’t speak the language. Now imagine yourself in a strange city several times a month – month after month, year after year after year. It’s only natural for people with things in common to spend time together. Would you prefer to spend all that time away from home alone?



One comment

  1. I flew pretty much only international and we Flight Attendants rarely hung with pilots. Part of it is the big plane. Unless I was working purser or first, I only got a glimpse of them the whole time.

    Also, they were usually at another hotel. Not always but usually. I heard it was in their contract to not stay with us!

    There was also a big age and cultural gap. Most of us were international, quite liberal, some gay, etc. Most of the pilots were ex-military and about 20 years older than we were and either married or divorced. Don’t get me wrong. We got along. We just didn’t discuss politics!

    The Flight Attendants often fly the same international routes while the pilots can fly all over the place. We were often limited because of our base and/or language. Many of us had friends, contacts, whatever in those cities so obviously, we didn’t want to have the crew along…

    I have to admit that after 9, 11 or 14 hours of being in a metal tube with passengers and other crew, I often just wanted to be by myself for a little bit. Our layovers were short and to really absorb the culture and atmosphere, or do the *exact* shopping (and were we picky!), having others along could be annoying. I was happy to join in a meal or occasionally have a drink at the bar. I was also happy to show around someone who had never been there before. I wasn’t a total recluse but I had a present to get, wanted to go over to a friends’ or just get my hair done, I didn’t need company.

    I still remember the pilots taking all the new Flight Attendants out to dinner on my first layover in Rome (the seniors didn’t want it in summer-too hot, too crowded). We were on starting salaries and Rome is pricey. It was sweet of them and I still appreciate the gesture 20 years later.

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