Welcome to a series of Flight Attendant interviews, these guys and girls (aka “Trolley Dollies“) are some of the most interesting people I have ever met! They fly from destination to destination, put their body through hell, have to deal with unruly passengers and the ladies have to look perfect everyday, yet these crazy guys and girls come back day after day with smiles on their faces because they truly love their job!
Today’s lovely Flight Attendant is from Newbie Flight Attendant from the USA
Ø Tell us about yourself :
I am a 25 year old guy from Texas, currently living in New York City. Before being a flight attendant I owned a personal chef business in Austin. I have a degree in culinary arts and a degree in business. I supposed I should stop now before it this starts sounding like a dating website profile!
Ø How long have you been a flight attendant:
I haven’t been a flight attendant for long actually. I was hired in February of this year, started training in April and have been flying since June 12th.
Ø What is your role as a flight attendant and are you a domestic or international flight attendant?:
As flight attendants we have many roles. I like to say we are jacks of all trades, masters of two: safety and customer service. Out of the 7.5 weeks of training that my company provided, my classmates and I spent a whopping 2 DAYS on customer service training so I think its safe to say my primary role as a flight attendant is to maintain the safety of the passengers on board the aircraft in the event of an emergency. There are, or course, secondary roles one might not expect like nanny, waiter/waitress, therapist, medic, friend, etc. It all comes with the job though and MOST of us (myself included) really enjoy it! I do both international and domestic flying as we are trained for both from the start.
Ø What do you enjoy the most about your job?:
I actually have two things that I enjoy the most about my job. 1) Being able to meet people from different parts of the world and different walks of life is the most rewarding thing about my job. It has taught me a lot about dealing with people and recognizing that everyone is going through a struggle of their own. 2) LAYOVERS! What could be better than going to some far off country; experiencing the culture, the people, the food, the night life, the history, and getting paid while doing it. I did mention the food right?
Ø How often do you fly?
I fly a lot actually. I am home, in my bed, about 5 nights a month. That totals up to about 100+ hours a month which, to people that are not flight attendants, doesn’t really sound like a lot. Lets remember that these are actual flight hours and do NOT include the time we spend boarding, deplaning, getting to the hotel, etc.
Ø What are your secrets to getting over jetlag quickly?
Getting over jet lag can be pretty simple if you follow three basic rules: 1) Drink lots and lots of water 2) DO NOT drink alcohol on the plane 3) When you get to your hotel room, take a nap for about 3 hours MAX. Then wake up (it will be hard) and go out and explore. When night time comes, just go to sleep like you normally would. You feel a bit sluggish after taking that nap but you’ll thank me the next day.
Ø What’s the hardest thing about this job?:
The hardest part about this job is dealing with so many personalities. You really do have to be a “people person” to enjoy this job because we are not only dealing with the personalities of our passengers but also the personalities within the crew itself. Most flight attendants on a trip have never flown together before or it might be the first time they meet, you learn to make friends fast.
Ø What’s the worst/craziest experiences you have ever had as a flight attendant:
I’m not sure if I should classify this as worst OR craziest because, frankly, it’s both! I was sitting at the very back of the aircraft near the lavs and a woman comes up and can’t open the door. I’m trying to tell her how but I end up just doing it for her since there was a language barrier. She then tells me that when she’s ready to come out she’ll knock on the door so that I can open it. I told her that all she had to do was pull on the door from the inside and it would open, she refused. So naturally, she did what anyone else in the situation would do. She lifted up her dress, dropped her underwear and started peeing WHILE she held the door open with one foot and straddled the toilet with the other. Needless to say, she missed….completely.
Ø Wha’ts the best way to deal with hard to deal with customers?
Have the police meet the aircraft at the gate? I’m joking, I promise. In all honesty, I feel the easiest way to deal with difficult passengers is to not take anything they do or say personally. That “tantrum” they just threw because you’re out of ginger ale could be their way of venting for something else that’s going on in their lives. It’s important to remember that we never know why someone is on that plane. They could be going on vacation, a family reunion, they could have just lost that important contract, or they could even be going to a funeral. We can’t be quick to judge a book by it’s cover and often times the “hard to deal with” customers are the ones that will be repeat customers as long as, and because, we provided legendary customer service.
Ø Have you ever been in a near miss or plane accident? And did your training prove useful:
I have not and I haven’t heard of many people that have been. Even with everything that’s happened this year, air travel is still safer than other ways of transportation.
Ø I have read a lot of “how to get a free upgrade” tips, everyone wants to know the best way to get an upgrade to business class but in reality we know it’s not as easy as just asking or “looking the part”, how
often are people upgraded? Does smiling and asking actually work?
People are upgraded all the time but there really is more to getting upgraded then asking and looking the part. I think the first step one should take to up the chances of an upgrade is joining that particular airline’s reward program. Buying a full fare ticket and not a discounted one will help as well. Getting an upgrade also depends on the time and date the flight will be ARRIVING. Most of the customers I’ve encountered in the Business or First Class cabin are traveling for work and have bought the full fare ticket in the business/first class cabin. If I want an upgrade I’ll avoid flights arriving on a Monday or Tuesday morning and flights arriving Friday afternoon/evening….Unless its Vegas, good luck with that. The best way to ensure that you’ll be in First Class or Business is STILL to buy a First Class or Business ticket.
Ø Do you have a rotation for first, business and economy class or are there different levels of flight attendants?:
At any U.S. based airline, SENIORITY RULES. FAs that have been with the company the longest get paid more, get the best trips, can chose which days they have off, etc. At my airline, the flight leader always works the First Class or Business cabin, everyone else picks where they sit and what they’ll do in order of seniority.
Ø Do you have a preferred of class to work in?:
It all depends on the destination of the flight. On some flights I’ll really want to work up front, on others I’d rather stay in the back. It all depends on the crowd and after doing a few flights you get the feel of the type of people that will be on the plane.
Ø What are the benefits of being a flight attendant (other than loving your job and being able to travel to
another city or country!):
For me, the main benefit of being a flight attendant is that the job will never be routine. Every single flight I work will be 100% different. I know that I’ll never get bored because I don’t have a typical 9-5. I know you said “other than travel” but I just had to say something about it. Very few people get the chance to look out their “office” window and see Greenland or are able to have breakfast in London and dinner in New York on a regular basis. This job has afforded me the opportunities that not very many people get to experience. I am truly grateful for that.
Ø Do people really try to join the Mile High Club or is this just a “myth”:
I’ve never had anyone attempt it on one of my flights but I’m sure it happens!
Ø Have you been a flight with any celebrities and were you star struck?:
I’ve been on several flights with celebrities and yes, we were all starstruck. Unfortunately we can’t really show it because that would be unprofessional. Basically we fangirl in the galley out of earshot. 🙂
Ø Do you have to adhere to strict dress code and make up policies? Does it get tedious?
We do have very strict dress code policies and are sometimes inspected by a manager prior to a trip, regardless of seniority. There are certain things we are not allowed to wear. I know women have very strict policies when it comes to hair and makeup. For us guys it’s pretty simple: hair must be in a conservative style, clothes clean and pressed, clean shaven or beard neatly trimmed…that’s basically it. Women have it harder that’s for sure, our uniform policy even dictates what color hair pins they can use. Not tedious for men at all, I feel sorry for the ladies though.
Ø What’s your favourite stopover destination and what do you do on your stop over’s?
My favorite stopover has been Moscow. I like to sight see as I’m a fan of architecture and Moscow really does have amazing architecture. I usually go out and just walk around, try to find a small little restaurant off the beaten path, and just really immerse myself in the culture of the place where I’m at. If its a U.S. layover I try to go to at least one “famous” restaurant and one touristy attraction.
Ø What’s the weirdest request you’ve had from a passenger?
The weirdest request was from a passenger that requested I yank a chunk of hair out every time I passed by her seat…she was serious too.
Ø I have heard that’s flight attendants have their own “language” or codes, what’s your favourite ?
I’ve not really heard of this before but we sometimes do play a game when we are saying goodbye to the passengers. If there is a really good looking passenger we’ll say something along the lines of “See you later!” instead of the regular goodbye and thank you. It’s a fun way to let the other FAs know, “HEY LOOK OVER HERE RIGHT NOW!”