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Flight attendants are burned out and quitting. Here’s why

Working as a flight attendant might sound like a dream job – but in a post-pandemic aviation landscape defined by delays, lost luggage, staffing issues and disruptive passengers, the dream is souring for some.

“I always tell people that when Covid happened, all of the fun parts of being a flight attendant, all of the satisfying, exciting parts of being a flight attendant were stripped from the job,” Henderson tells CNN Travel.

“Some days we are working 12, 15 hours a day. And we are so tired,” Oliveira tells CNN Travel. “And we are sometimes expected to come to work the next day again – with the same long days, with the delays and everything.”

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by Anonymousreply 51September 20, 2023 6:52 AM

“I had a passenger throw a cup at me, tell me I was worthless and tell me that I was horrible at my job,” says Henderson. “I felt so dehumanized.”

by Anonymousreply 1September 16, 2023 10:11 PM

[quote]Flight attendants are burned out and quitting. Here’s why

They're all psychopaths?

by Anonymousreply 2September 16, 2023 10:13 PM

[quote] “I had a passenger throw a cup at me, tell me I was worthless and tell me that I was horrible at my job,”

Was Lucille Ball the passenger?

by Anonymousreply 3September 16, 2023 10:25 PM

Where is Lou the Stew when you need him?

by Anonymousreply 4September 16, 2023 10:25 PM

Stream Hit Parade!

by Anonymousreply 5September 16, 2023 10:30 PM

Oh the fuckin' drama.

by Anonymousreply 6September 16, 2023 11:00 PM

[quote]Working as a flight attendant might sound like a dream job


by Anonymousreply 7September 16, 2023 11:01 PM

When I was in my 20s, I applied for a job as a flight attendant (didn't get the job). It did seem like a glamorous job (this was a long time ago).

Now, it seems like a hard job. Just the physical atmosphere on a plane (dry, extremely low humidity). People bitching at you and treating you like a waitress.

by Anonymousreply 8September 16, 2023 11:06 PM

Tell me about it!

by Anonymousreply 9September 16, 2023 11:07 PM

[quote] People bitching at you and treating you like a waitress.

But you are, Blanche! You are a waitress!

by Anonymousreply 10September 16, 2023 11:10 PM

The proportion of rude, entitled and just plain psycho passengers has increased. The planes are bigger and everything is more rushed. I don’t think it is a great job unless you are doing long haul international flights. Those go to the most senior so newcomers are stuck with the packed intercity “bus” runs.

by Anonymousreply 11September 16, 2023 11:16 PM

Flight attendant starting out have to attend at minimum 8 weeks of training for which they're not paid except for room and board and then they need to pay for their uniforms. As they start out because everything is seniority based they may spend days and at the airport where they don't get make any money unless they actually get assigned to a flight but they're still required to stay at the airport the entire day.

They also aren't paid for the time spent before and after the flight the only paid time is from the time the doors closed so when they open after landing. All pre and post landing operations are unpaid.

When I used to recruit flight attendance one of the things I would tell them is to be sure to have a second income for at least the first couple of years that they're on the job because typically a brand new flight attendant could only expect me between 12 to 20,000 a year and this was back in 2007.

by Anonymousreply 12September 16, 2023 11:21 PM

Plane travel isn’t fun or exciting. I cannot imagine being an airline attendant. I’d rather work at McDonald’s than an airline.

by Anonymousreply 13September 16, 2023 11:23 PM

one of the perks of being an airline ee was the free - or reduced rate- travel (both on-line and off-line). Now, every flight is full and it's almost impossible to catch a ride. Why bother working for an airline these days? It's certainly not the money.

by Anonymousreply 14September 16, 2023 11:25 PM

Jetliners are dirty. Airports are dirty. Your body is dirty after a flight. Look at any bare skin and then use a moist wipe afterwards. Dirty.

by Anonymousreply 15September 16, 2023 11:28 PM


by Anonymousreply 16September 16, 2023 11:30 PM

There's a big difference between the experiences of union and non-union flight attendants.

by Anonymousreply 17September 16, 2023 11:41 PM

Which airlines are unionized r17?

by Anonymousreply 18September 16, 2023 11:44 PM

All except Delta R18, so in the grand scheme of things, almost all.

Like it sounds for R12, I worked for an airline in corporate. All the free (standby) travel but none of the dealing with the public.

Flying standby is incredibly stressful, especially since all (US) airlines go by seniority, and a lot of people are determined to drop dead on the job. Load factors are frequently in the 90%, so only 10% of seats are empty, and those seats are going to Des Moines from Minneapolis at 5:30 A.M.

Airlines, on the whole, just don't pay well either except for pilots and maybe mechanics. The people in my accounting department could have made almost 2X at other "regular" companies, but some just loved working for an airline.

I only lasted a few years.

Free travel does not pay rent, and even 10 years ago, the flight part was usually the cheapest part anyway. Not like we got free hotels, food, transportation, etc.

by Anonymousreply 19September 16, 2023 11:50 PM

[quote] Flying standby is incredibly stressful

Yeah, it can be. I used to fly standby on my brother's pass (he works for an airline). His advice, which has worked: take the earliest flight in the morning (because people wake up late and miss their flights) or the red-eye / overnight flight (not so popular, I guess).

by Anonymousreply 20September 17, 2023 12:20 AM

R15, you need to try Greyhound if you want to see dirty. The buses are sometimes ok but the stations all horrible. Trains are not much better.

by Anonymousreply 21September 17, 2023 12:57 AM

The way some of the passengers behave, I don't blame them for quitting.

by Anonymousreply 22September 17, 2023 1:30 AM

how many free flights does a typical FA take in one year? And is it mainly to Des Moines or to LA/NYC, etc.?

by Anonymousreply 23September 17, 2023 1:36 AM

We can't all be a Miss Upper Deck.

by Anonymousreply 24September 17, 2023 1:41 AM

[post redacted because independent.co.uk thinks that links to their ridiculous rag are a bad thing. Somebody might want to tell them how the internet works. Or not. We don't really care. They do suck though. Our advice is that you should not click on the link and whatever you do, don't read their truly terrible articles.]

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by Anonymousreply 25September 17, 2023 2:22 AM


by Anonymousreply 26September 17, 2023 2:59 AM

They need to bring back attractiveness as a hiring criteria. People naturally treat good-looking and pleasant attendants better. You see so many self-important sour battleaxes and porkers staffing US and European flights, it can't help but inspire more disgruntlement both in staff and in passengers. Contrast that with many Asian and Middle-Eastern carriers that have obvious hiring preferences for young, beautiful people. They still inspire the glamour of flying.

by Anonymousreply 27September 17, 2023 3:03 AM

[quote]They also aren't paid for the time spent before and after the flight the only paid time is from the time the doors closed so when they open after landing. All pre and post landing operations are unpaid.

How is that legal?

by Anonymousreply 28September 17, 2023 4:02 AM

I don’t give a flying fuck what an airline attendant looks like! I just sit down, buckle up, and it’s yes mam, yes sir, I’ll have a cocola or whatever you got on your rolling cart, and close my eyes and endure until we arrive…

by Anonymousreply 29September 17, 2023 4:06 AM

Frankly, in this day and age, I wouldn't want to work at ANY job that requires a lot of public contact. People are assholes and now feel empowered to let their inner jerks manifest themselves. I'm glad I'm old. At least most of my peers are generally better behaved and more considerate.

by Anonymousreply 30September 17, 2023 4:07 AM

I don't care one bit about appearances and appreciate a kind and patient flight attendant.

by Anonymousreply 31September 17, 2023 4:09 AM

It's that bitch Linda's fault!

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by Anonymousreply 32September 17, 2023 4:11 AM

We do what we want in the middle of McDonald’s.

by Anonymousreply 33September 17, 2023 4:12 AM

R27, it would also help if the passengers were better groomed and dressed. It just makes people act better.

by Anonymousreply 34September 17, 2023 4:16 AM

At some point, maybe they'll stop serving alcohol on flights. I think that might lessen bad behavior on flights. The people in first and business classes might have a fit, though.

by Anonymousreply 35September 17, 2023 4:22 AM

It’s so hard to be a waitress in the sky. Cry me a river. Losers

by Anonymousreply 36September 17, 2023 5:29 AM

Now we’re supposed to feel bad for flight attendants…I mean waiters. Ok sure

by Anonymousreply 37September 17, 2023 5:31 AM

R36 and 37 are examples of why flying and life in general has deteriorated. Totally self centered and bo regard for those that provide services; their servants.

by Anonymousreply 38September 17, 2023 1:10 PM

/ “no” regard

by Anonymousreply 39September 17, 2023 1:12 PM

[quote]They also aren't paid for the time spent before and after the flight the only paid time is from the time the doors closed so when they open after landing. All pre and post landing operations are unpaid.

They should start using tip jars, like every other service position.

by Anonymousreply 40September 17, 2023 2:29 PM

The personal service element is pretty minimal. Why would I tip someone for blocking the aisle with a cart and throwing a bag of pretzels at me? When was the last time anyone saw a flight attendant explain to a passenger the best way to get to the gate for their connecting flight? Or take the time to chat with a passenger about local attractions at their destination? Or graciously assist an elderly passenger with their luggage? An attendant might throw a bag up into the overhead to speed boarding, but it’s usually another passenger who helps out. I’m not blaming the attendants, they simple don’t have the time or, more importantly, the space. Also, have planes always been so LOUD? It’s good, in a way because it keeps passengers from talking too much and from me having to hear them. But it is difficult to even ask a companion a quick question.

The working conditions for flight attendants are atrocious. I think the last flight I was on had only one attendant working coach (is that possible?) and she didn’t have a seat. She had a fold down ledge she could rest on. Next to bathrooms that were too small for people to maneuver in properly, so they reeked of piss.

I wouldn’t mind being on my feet for a flight/shift. It’s being on my feet without enough room to move around. Even a supermarket checkout clerk has more room to turn around and they can get a break every couple of hours and walk around the block. A tollbooth operator probably has more room and they don’t work next to a filthy smelly bathroom. I can’t imagine spending every working day in those cramped conditions. I’d go nuts.

And I can’t even imagine how they enforced the mask rules when you had to wear a mask, except for when you are eating or drinking. Talk about putting employees in an impossible situation. What were they supposed to do? Monitor how long people waited between sips?

by Anonymousreply 41September 17, 2023 2:55 PM

They deserve to be treated better.

by Anonymousreply 42September 17, 2023 4:27 PM

I'd tip a (hot, male) flight attendant if he assisted with my membership in the Mile-High Club.

by Anonymousreply 43September 17, 2023 5:19 PM

Flight attendants just need to accept their life. It’s not a Barbie job. Nothing glamorous.

by Anonymousreply 44September 17, 2023 6:00 PM

I think when you're young you think the job will allow you to go to different places, exotic places and see wonderful things, and you get those travel perks, and you meet interesting people. But the reality is a lot different. If you live a basically uneventful life it seems adventurous. But it's a shit job. I think I would go crazy having to work in that claustrophobic environment for hours on end, with so many unpleasant demanding people to cater to. And whoever said they ought to stop serving alcohol is absolutely on the money. Drunks on a plane are the worst.

by Anonymousreply 45September 18, 2023 12:17 PM

The worst of us have all been given permission to be the worst they can be. At least horrible people and actions were somewhat contained in the past; now it's a free for all. Trump has irreparably changed the U.S. forever. That toothpaste will never go back in the tube.

In the late 70s to early 80s I lived near Kew Gardens, NY, which was populated by a LOT of flight attendants due to its proximity to JFK Airport. Three or four of them (or more) would be able to live in one apartment because they were never all there at the same time. They were happy and loved their jobs, both the males and the females. I dated an in-flight supervisor - I think that was his title - and he also loved working for the airlines.

Their world, like everyone's world, has changed, and much for the worse.

by Anonymousreply 46September 18, 2023 1:31 PM

This never happened with Stewardesses.

by Anonymousreply 47September 18, 2023 3:04 PM

My cuz is a pilot and makes about 250K a year. When did they start paying pilots a better salary?

by Anonymousreply 48September 20, 2023 1:35 AM


R26 is a great example of the typical, stupid, unaware and lazy airline passenger: absolutely ignorant of an initial error, of their ways, in which they can’t even be consistent. But when they do realize it, don’t even bother to attempt to correct it while it’s still within their power, and then complain about why they haven’t been delivered to Omaha on time yet. R26 probably also uses some 2nd generation android tablet. Cheap bastard.

And r41… when did we ever have to think we ought to tip the flight attendant? What are you? Some 90 y/o poof who wants to give a girl a leg up ‘cuz she might have a well-hung brother?

by Anonymousreply 49September 20, 2023 6:17 AM

In the words of the inimitable Paul Westerberg.....

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by Anonymousreply 50September 20, 2023 6:49 AM

Awww, poor little things!

by Anonymousreply 51September 20, 2023 6:52 AM
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