Love it or hate, air travel is a regular part of people’s lives. Sometimes there are distances that are just too far that a car can’t take you. And flight attendants are the ones that have to help all of the passengers on their flights. And it’s not quite as simply a job as you might think. Here are some secrets about flight attendant jobs that the airlines don’t really talk about.
Hands Behind Their Back
Whenever you’ve boarded a plane you’ve probably noticed that flight attendants always greet you with their hands clasped behind their back. Not only does the pose make them look more professional, there is another reason. They’re actually conducting a headcount with their fingers. It would just look a little odd if they were counting people on their fingers with people in full view.
Falling asleep on a plane is very common, sometimes you just need some extra Zs. However, the flight crew needs to remain ever vigilant, taking care of their passengers. Although, on longer flights, the flight crew will still get their own breaks. Larger planes actually have sleeping compartments for their staff to take naps in. The sleeping quarters are normally built above or below the galley where the passengers sit.
Sleeping On The Job
Flight attendants taking a break seems normal, but what about the pilots? Well, to be fair for the pilots, they’re really on necessary for takeoffs, landings, and emergency situations. The rest of the time they can just sit back and relax. They have their own sleeping quarters on the plane as well.
Did you know that flight crews have secret codes to communicate with each other. They’re to let the crew know what’s going own without notifying the passengers. Sometimes they just don’t want to scare them. One example is the “ding” you might hear at the beginning and end of a flight. They’re done to tell crew members that the most dangerous stages of the flight, takeoff and landing, are over.
When The Plane’s Threatened
Speaking of those secret codes, in the event that there’s a threat made on a plane, especially if it’s over the ocean, there’s a good chance you’ll never know about it. The flight attendants want to keep peace on the plain, and that’d be difficult to do with a bunch of scared and rowdy passengers. These are just threats after all. There’s a good chance nothing will go wrong for the duration of the flight.
The Pay’s Not Great
Considering how strenuous a flight attendant job can be, with no breaks and hours of flying back and forth, they get payed very little. They only actually get paid for the hours that the plane engine is running. Despite this, they are still required to assist in boarding and safety checks before they can even make money. Sometimes, they don’t even make minimum wage for their efforts.
Please Don’t Order Diet Coke
Flight attendants have a good reason for hating it when passengers order Diet Coke. It’s fizzier than other carbonated drinks, and it takes a while for those bubbles to settle anyway at 30,000 feet in the air. They have to take extra care to make sure they don’t overflow, so it takes three times as long to poor than other beverages. If you’re really that thirsty, just ask for water.
Why The Lights Go Out
Have you ever wondered why the lights on a plane go off as its preparing to takeoff or descend? Well, as mentioned before, those are the most dangerous parts of a flight. The lights are turned off so that, in the event of an emergency, the passengers have time to orient themselves to the space. That way they can take any necessary precautions without being unable to see if the lights were to suddenly go out.
Try To Avoid The In-Flight Meals
Depending on the length of your flight, you may have an option to try some food on the airline. They may seem healthy and balanced, but it may be a better idea to skip that meal if you can. They’re full of salt, sugar, far, and simple carbs. You’ll feel full, but that’s all it would have really done for you.
Capable Of Restraint
You’ve probably seen videos of rowdy passengers being forced off of planes before takeoff. But what if someone gets particularly rowdy after takeoff? Well, it should be worth mentioning that flight attendants have the authority to arrest or restrain unruly passengers. They even have zip ties available if they find them necessary to act as handcuffs.
Rethinking First Class
First of all, air travel is a rather safe method of travel. It has to be, given all the checks and the precariousness of high-flying in the first place. However, if you’re still terrified of flying, you probably have even less reason to splurge for first class. Studies have shown that in a plane crash, people towards the front of the plane (where first class is) are more likely to die. And those in the rear of the plane are the most likely to survive. The first class accommodations may just end up not being worth it.
Back in the day, flight attendants were treated more like objects. They needed to be attractive, single woman who had no children so they could potentially get with the male passengers. However, those days are long behind us. The physical appearance of the flight attendant no longer matters, except for one thing. They need to be a certain height. They just don’t want them to be so tall that they hit their head on the overhead bins or otherwise actually fit on the plane.
It’s Hard To Get Hired
Despite the pay being so poor for flight attendants, it’s actually really hard to get hired by an airline. In 2010 Harvard University had a higher acceptance rate than Delta Airlines. After all, the job’s quite demanding and they want to make sure they have people that can really handle it. Speaking more than one language and overall excellent customer service skills makes you more hirable though.
Oxygen Masks Run Out Of Air
When cabin pressure falls below a certain point, the oxygen masks on a plane will automatically be deployed. You know what they look like and what they’re for. But did you know that their amount of oxygen is limited? Each mask only has about 15 minutes of oxygen in them. Fortunately, in a situation where they have to be deployed, it won’t take 15 minutes before you have to land.
Why You Turn Off Your Phone
You’re probably in one of two camps when you board a plane. The first is that you turn off your phone as soon as you’re ready. The second is that you don’t know why you have to turn off your phone to begin with. Cellular signals are actually strong enough to interfere with air traffic control frequencies. While they may not make things incredibly difficult during a majority of the flight, it could prove rather detrimental during takeoff and landing.
Just Don’t Be Rude
It’s already mean-spirited to just be rude to staff, so you shouldn’t do it anyway. But if you need some reason to not be rude to your flight attendant, here are a few reasons. The flight attendants determine where you sit and can put you in front of a kid that constantly kicks the seat in front of them. They may deny you certain privileges just because of the way you act. Even if you’re a frequent flier, the flight staff can give you a bad rating which will prevent you from cashing in on any of the points you’ve earned.
They Can Take Tips
Flight attendants are allowed to take tips for their job. They greatly appreciate them as well. Even if it doesn’t get you first-class tickets, it’ll at least get you first-class treatment. Additionally, if you’re particularly nice to your flight staff, they may feel inclined to give you special accommodations or upgrades. While it’s common courtesy to just not be rude, it’s very rare that passengers are actually nice to them.
Longer trips may offer you pillows and blankets, but those are only really fresh if they’re used on the first flight of the day. Additionally, at least prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, food trays weren’t exactly wiped down either. It just wouldn’t be a good idea to put your food down on the tray without a napkin or some other buffer. At least not if you planned on eating it.
Don’t Go Barefoot
Speaking of germs, it might not be the best idea to go barefoot on a plane either. There have been a multitude of disturbing substances that may have graced that floor and vacuums can’t quite get everything up.
Bring Your Own Headphones
When you’re on a plane, especially longer flights, there’s often an in-flight movie or some form of entertainment you can see. Sometimes you’ll get complementary headphones from the airline, but they’re normally of lower quality. And sometimes they’re not even free. It’s just a better idea to bring your own headphones. Just make sure they have the proper audio jack.
A lot of flight attendants would probably advise against drinking coffee or tea served on an airplane. The portable water they use is filtered and it also flows through the lavatories. If you’re flying Alaska or Delta, you actually get complimentary Starbucks as a part of your flight, so you won’t have to worry about drinking that more dubious coffee.
There probably aren’t air marshals on every flight, but that doesn’t mean the one you’re on won’t have one. Their job is to keep people safe and prevent terrorist attacks during flights. Generally, they’ll wear plain clothes to blend in better so that people won’t feel uncomfortable.
Brace Position Is Important
The brace position on a flight is when someone bends forward so that their head is in their knees and cups the back of their head lightly. It’s important to do this during a crash, but some conspiracy theorists have claimed the position may be more harmful than helpful. As a matter of fact, the position is supposed to compact the body and protect vital organs from injury. Regardless of what you hear, it’s just much safer to actually assume the position.
Planes are incredibly safe. Commercial airlines are actually the safest way to travel in the world. Their various precautions make sure the passengers are safe on the outside and the engineers build a sturdy aircraft so that it’s safe on the outside. A plane can potentially even withstand a lightning strike. Of course, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buckle up when the sign turns on.
The Ultimate Authority
And the ultimate authority on any plane is the captain. Once your flight begins, they make all decisions regarding the crew and any bothersome passengers. And, of course, they make the call during emergency situations. The only thing they can’t do is arrest passengers, although they can let the authorities know before the plane lands. That way they’ll go straight from the plane into handcuffs.