Since retiring from my flight attendant career, my most asked question is, do I miss it? I do, but not in the way most people expect. My flight attendant career gave me some of the most incredible memories of my life. However, as I think about the job and the realities that flight attendants face now, I have no regrets about leaving the career.
Recently, a flight attendant was assaulted on an American Airlines flight and may have had her nose broken. The assailant claimed that the flight attendant “hit her nose against the palm of his right hand” and claimed he had “psychological damage from the injury.” I have read and listened to stories about the incident, but few from the flight attendant’s perspective involved or any other flight attendant’s perspective.
According to reports, the issue began when the flight attendant informed the flight attendant of the Fasten seat belt sign. She was doing her job!!! Contrary to what many people think, the primary duty of a flight attendant is to save lives. They train continually and yearly for the career, guided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rules. Not advising the passenger of this obvious fact was putting her job in jeopardy.
Flight attendants, like many others, are not self-employed, and they have families and loved- ones that depend on their ability to provide. Their job is governed by the rules and regulations not only of the airline but of the FAA. Most importantly, interfering with the duties of a crewmember violates federal law. Recently the job has brought more risk than reward.
An airline ticket is valid only to and from the cities on your ticket or trip record. An airline will provide service as they see fit, and the flight crew does not determine that service. The flight crew performs the service provided by the airline. They cannot deliver items or services not provided in advance by the airline.
A flight attendant may have several flights in a day and be on several different airplanes within the same day. Sometimes their duty days are more than 10 hours, and rarely is there time to get off the aircraft and purchase food. More so, once duty starts for a flight attendant, there is usually no designated lunch break until the duty day ends.
The realities of Covid have not only increased stress for air travelers but flight crew as well. Flight crews are not provided meals in many cases, and if they are, individual dietary needs are not acknowledged. Before Covid, many airlines cut back on service, and passengers were advised to purchase food at the airport or bring their own.
The career I left provided many opportunities to travel the world. Currently, airplanes are more crowded, services are fewer, and people are more frustrated by wearing masks or being told to comply. In addition, the stress of airport security and baggage fees or allowances make the travel experience much more stressful than it ever has been.
The next time you travel, I hope you have no regrets but, more importantly, cause your flight crew to have no regrets as well.