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I am a Flight Attendant, AMA!

I think this has been done several times before but here goes another round?! I am a flight attendant for a major US carrier. Ask me anything!

November 4th 2019
interview date

have you ever seen someone have to be removed from a flight?


Several times! It is Important to be civil with the cabin crew. The captain has the final say and will often favor the flight attendants in these situations if we inform them a passenger is being unruly/needs to be removed. Also we are required to not allow boarding to anybody that shows signs of intoxication.


As a pilot, what are the things we do that you love and/or hate?


Hi! We always love when pilots are super communicative especially when it comes to turbulence. You guys don’t always know it’s coming but some pilots will go the whole flight without ever calling us and we will be bopping around in the back. We like getting a briefing, etc :) FA’s always appreciate when you all offer to run up to the terminal and get us coffee etc. because some days we can’t ever leave the plane. That’s all I can think of at the moment!


A coworker who travels a lot gave me a travel tip: Give local candy to the flight crew, especially on an international flight.

Would you appreciate this or is it creepy?


I LOVE this! And always give a free drink to people who bring us something. Sometimes one little kind gesture is so appreciated


Hi :)

How do you calm down passengers with extreme fear of flying?


Hey! I try to give them as much information about flying as possible. When you know how a plane flys, all the sounds it makes, or the normal movements, you are more likely to feel at ease. It truly is something you get used to. I explain that turbulence is just potholes in the sky and planes do NOT go down due to turbulence! If they are having a full on panic/anxiety attack during flight I do more of the same. Talk to them. Tell them to look around and notice that everything is okay - because their brain is reacting as though it’s not.


Ever caught a couple in the lavatory?


I have caught a couple trying to get into the lav but they didn’t make it that far. Told me they came back there to hug.


Do you enjoy being a flight attendant? What's the worst behaviour you've witnessed from a passenger?


I really do enjoy it! It can be tough sometimes. I miss being home and occasionally long for a regular schedule, but I do love my job. It has its pros and cons like anything! Flying/airports can be stressful and stress brings out the worst in people sometimes. Some real weird behaviors. The most recent one that sticks out is a pax defecating all over our lav. I mean the walls, the sink...everything. Unreal.


What are some qualities of excellent passengers?


Honestly just manners goes a long way. Self awareness. Being aware and considerate of your surroundings is huge! We are all stuck in a giant metal tube together. Also it doesn’t hurt to bring your cabin crew chocolate ;) I personally forgive a lot of little things though. Flying can be stressful and new for some, so I try not to judge airport ignorance too harshly.


What clever and effective things have you seen parents do to handle young children/toddlers on long flights?


I know this isn’t the most exciting answer but the most effective thing parents do with crying infants is walk around/up and down the aisle with them. If the seatbelt sign is off they also stand up in the back galley sometimes. I’ve seen parents bring “goodie” bags with ear plugs etc for passengers sitting around them - which is way above and beyond. Mostly they will just bring lots of things to keep them busy and load the ipads with movies as well as keep snacks on hand.


What is your favorite mural in the Denver Airport? is there an airport with more interesting murals or a conspiracy than Denver’s???


Hahah Denver is the only airport I know of with so many conspiracy theories! If you find any others let me know. Favorite mural? Can’t choose. They’re creepy. I love that they make you say “wtf?” though.


What would you say to someone who’s going on their first flight by themselves next year? I just graduated high school and know nothing about airports and how they work but I’m probably gonna be moving across the country in January. What should I know for my trip?


First of all don’t be nervous! It probably seems a daunting task if you’ve never done it but you will be okay.And don’t be too shy to ask for help. :) You can always say “hey it’s my first time flying could you tell me how ____works” Don’t being liquids over 3.3oz through TSA. Bring a cozy blanket ... airplanes are cold.


Do you need to know somebody to enter a cockpit and see how the aeroplane flight process works?


Nope! In flight it is obviously forbidden but you can ask to see the flight deck when we are on the ground - during boarding etc. Usually the best time is when everybody is deplaning. We do it for kids all the time! And curious/aviation enthused adults


What does your typical work schedule look like? I always thought it’d be hard to have a family as a flight attendant/pilot.


We don’t really have a typical schedule per say. We bid for our trips the month before and are awarded by seniority. The kind of baseline I guess is work a 3 day trip, off for 4. It could be he’s but there are many FA’s with families at home! It’s actually convenient because if you’re home for four days those are four days you don’t need to pay for daycare, etc. (if you’re talking children)


I'm torn over seat down etiquette. If the person in front of me lowers their seat, it kind of obliges me to do the same. But what if that angers the person behind me? What do I do?


This is always a debate. IMO, if you have to recline your seat you have the right to do so. However it is more considerate for nobody to recline their seats tbh...they don’t recline enough to make a difference but makes a huge difference to the person sitting behind!


How much say do you get (if at all) in deciding your flight paths for the day/week?


We bid for our schedules every month and it is all seniority based! So we can choose a little bit The more senior the more control you have. But! Once we are awarded our schedule we can also trade, give things away, and pick things up. Very flexible in that regard.


For long haul flights, do you guys work in shifts or are you constantly "on"?


My airline doesn’t have any flights longer than 7 hours. For ya we are constantly on. But I know that FA’s who work long long hauls (16 hrs etc) do get breaks in their shift for sleep/rest.


How many hours/flights in one day would you work?


Anywhere from one flight to six. Usually it’s between 2 or 4 flights a day but it depends. I do a lot of 10 hour duty days which doesn’t include van to the airport etc!


What's the weirdest thing that ever happened during a flight?


This isn’t that weird by comparison but I had a very strange mother and daughter on board. They drank NINE CANS of tomato juice as well as cran apple and OJ. The mother said she was drinking the tomato juice to hydrate. I suggested water.


Is the brace position really meant to instantly kill you?


No! A conspiracy theory. Or am I in on it? You never know.


Im currently catching up on my 600lbs life, and some have to fly to Houston. Have you ever had to inform someone that the plane couldn't accommodate their size? What are standard procedures in those cases?


It is the job of the ground personnel not the flight attendants. We have had people that needed extra accommodation due to their size and comfort of others on board but nobody that couldn’t be accommodated by the airplane AT ALL. A seatbelt extension takes care of that. Never had a situation where they were too large for a seatbelt extension




Fort Lauderdale is one of my least favorites. It’s not particularly bad by general standards but it’s such a small area that’s always so crowded with cruise travelers! There is never anywhere to sit and there aren’t many food options and the pickup area outside baggage claim always has terrible traffic! I know they are expanding their terminal though and it’s getting a teeny bit better. Kansas City gets a special mention for most nonsensical design. One more special shout for Laguardia.


Please explain this to me. Why do you need to demonstrate how to buckle your seatbelt on every single flight? Seems like a waste of time.


I wish I could say “haha just a safety regulation” but you would be shocked how many people need help buckeling those damn seatbelts.


Can you please settle this for me? Is the middle seat entitled to both arm rests? I tend to believe so since it's the only real perk of being stuck between 2 people.


Yes!!! Proper etiquette is middle seat gets both arm rests! Big advocate for this


What would you do if someone had a really bad panic attack and couldn't calm down? Is there an area on the plane the person could go to be by themselves to compose themselves? I haven't flown in over 20 years and almost sure I never will again. I have both bad anxiety and physical health issues. The last time I flew was when I was in 10th grade before I had gotten treatment for my anxiety, and I was vomiting in those bags they give you and rocking back and forth singing songs to myself to try to calm myself down. It was horrible. I've since learned I have unusually low oxygen saturation, which I didn't know back then which is probably partially what contributed. If I ever did fly again, I would need oxygen. But I still wonder about the panic part.


This is fairly common. Feel free to communicate these issues to your FA’s when boarding. I have had people have anxiety attacks before and there’s only so much you can do but I always start by making sure they feel they’re in a safe place to have said anxiety (comfortable, no judgment etc). I’ll offer drinks. Often remind them to look around and remind their brain that there are no physical dangers present. I also talk to them and try to relate as well as distract. Provide ice and barf bags. It’s tough. There isn’t really a place you can go but I never turn away a passenger from the galley that is having a panic attack or feeling ill. So my advice is to head to the BACK galley. You’ll be near a restroom and FA’s can tens to you if needed


Is it appropriate to press the flight attendant call button if asking to buy something like a pillow, or some food or should you get up yourself and head to where the flight attendants are? (After they are done their services, when they’re just up in the front chatting).


Absolutely appropriate to press the button! It’s basically the exact same thing as if you walked up to us. We don’t see it as rude or extra needy (unless it’s constant of course)


Favorite airplane food?


I love those damn biscoff things on Delta


If you think a flight attendant is cute, what is the best way to respectfully and discreetly try to get their number while they're on duty?


Well you could write a note on a napkin and give it to her when deplaning. That’s a common one and there is less chance for an awkward plane ride if she rejects you.


Have you ever caught any couples having sex on an airplane bathroom?


Nope! I’ve had couples try to sneak into the bathroom but nobody made it. The lav is honestly SO small I don’t understand how someone would expect to physically make that work.


Is there a requirement that people use headphones? I often hear kids playing video games or watching cartoons without headphones, and likewise adults with headphones listening at very high volume.


Yes there is! You can always let a flight attendant know if you hear something nearby. I don’t always catch it but if I do I will kindly remind them headphones are required. Crazy that it isn’t common sense


How can you hear what passengers are saying when your ears get clogged? I can't hear shit.


I also can’t hear shit tbh! My ears don’t get clogged too often but even so, the engines are loud and I usually need to ask people to speak up


Is it true that if you acknowledge the flight attendant when boarding you will often be recognized?


That is not necessarily true. I usually say hello to every single person who comes on board...most will acknowledge some will not


Your fave layover city to party in?


I really don’t hate Las Vegas


What is the second copilot there for? Doesn’t the captain do everything?


Nope! They take turns and alternate flying each leg. Also, if something happens to one of them you have a second.


what was one of the funny and/or cute moments when you was on a flight?


For me it’s always the comments from kids. Sometimes they’ll say “you’re really pretty” or “you’re my friend” or something silly and give me a hug. It’s endearing as heck.


Favorite Mel Gibson movie?


Braveheart! Loved that when I first saw it


I have a few friends that are flight attendants and every single one of them has complained to me about their least favorite place to fly to and to fly from...CHICAGO...they've complained to me about Chicago flights and Chicago passengers numerous times.


What would you say is your favorite city to fly to or fly from? AND WHY?

What is the 1 city you'd rather not deal with and why?

Thank you.


Chicago can be rough ... especially with weather. I honestly don’t mind it though at all. My favorite city to fly to and from is HOME ;) Foe obvious reasons. But also people in the midwest tend to be the absolute nicest and low maintenance - so those cities are nice to fly to and from. Hmm one city I’d probably rather not deal with is ISP (islip). Pax tend to work us to death on ISP flights - especially if heading to a florida city. I also don’t care for Atlanta.


Do you fantasize about having sex with pilots?


Literally never. I have a boyfriend but when I was single...still never


As an FA, what are the qualities that you would want your partner/SO to have? What sort of things you want them to do for you to make your day better?

I've been with my GF since she started working as FA and it's close to a year now so we've adapted to the lifestyle (like not seeing each other for weeks, or how her perfect activity on off days is sleeping 16 hours lol), but I wanna be the perfect partner for her so would love to hear your answer :)


Aw great question. I have also been dating my boyfriend for a year and he has been amazing as a flight attendant boyfriend! He deals with it better than I do most times. So I’ll tell you some things he does! I like that we talk throughout the day whenever we can. Sometimes we will long distance watch movies together and live text about it. He tells me he misses me. I know that seems like an obvious one but it makes you feel like your presence is wanted which is important when you’re gone. Sometimes he makes me tea and does small comfort gestures when I get home from a trip late night. Also...learn all the lingo and try to understand the scheduling and things! You’ve probably already done this but my boyfriend is the first person in my life to make that huge effort to understand the job and for some reason it makes me feel important


What kind of education did you have to obtain to become a flight attendant? How was the job application process? I am thinking of becoming a flight attendent or air traffic controller and am just curious.


I have a bachelors degree but it isn’t required by any means (good thing I did that.) The process is rough. I applied. Got a call to schedule a phone interview after a year of waiting. Had phone interview followed by a face to face. Then we get a “conditional job offer” and undergo five weeks of training which we must graduate from to be officially hired.


I had a friend a while back who was a flight attendant for a little while. How hard was your test? She was studying like crazy trying to cram a ton of information into her head.


I was lucky to have an airline background in customer service etc. so that helped me! It wasn’t hard so much as just stressful. And it was A LOT of information. I don’t know how people do it “off the street”


Is element Hg, forbbiden on a plane? Because of the eaction with Al. Has anybody ever bring some Hg and caused problems on a flight? Thank you.


It is forbidden to bring Hg on board. It is allowed in checked bags in protective casing. I haven’t heard of a bad mercury incident yet


I'm going on my first flight in 11 years ( I was 9 last time i was in an airplane and have no memory) , any tips to make the flight more fun ?


Bring something to keep you warm...I’m always cold on planes. Bring a book or movies loaded onto a device in case of no wifi. Bring your flight attendants small chocolates or something and tell them you haven’t flown in a very long time! They might pay extra attention to you :)


The person beside me was clipping their nails on previous flight. Then she started flossing. Could i have done anything to make them stop?


Ugh disgusting I don’t understand how people think this is okay! I see people clipping their nails all the time. Technically it’s not against any rules so we can’t super enforce something like that. You could ask them to stop? But that’s awkward I understand


What is the policy for obesity? I was on a flight and the person next to me was much larger than the seat would accommodate.


Each airline is different but we require that they be listed as having an extra seat so that the seat next to them is open. We don’t require that they purchase this seat. Sometimes it comes down to customer service having an uncomfortable conversation with a person who is not listed as a “customer of size” but clearly is.


When did something really terrible happen while in the sky that none of the crew even expected in the slightest?


I have been lucky enough not to encounter anything like you’re describing. I could site some coworkers that have experienced some terrible things but again, we are trained to handle all of those things! We never fully expect it on a day to day but we also kind of have to. When we are on the jumpseat a we are hyper aware and reviewing all of emergency procedures in our heads.


Do you like it when passengers make small talk for a few minutes in the galley or do you want to be left alone?


It depends! I usually don’t mind it unless they linger too long for no reason (ie if small talk doesn’t turn into something more interesting). I don’t love doing AMA in the galley. :)


Why do I have to put my seat upright upon landing? What difference does it make?


There’s more room for the person in back of you. Less chance for injury/gives room for brace position if needed


What was the most unexpected thing you've ever had to do during a flight?


I have had a couple medical emergencies. Unexpected but only to a degree, because we are prepared for it.


What is the worst situation you've had during a flight?


People love horror stories. Sadly, I don’t have many to indulge you. Mostly just a few medical emergencies, once we had to turn back because of engine trouble, and once a woman did die in the jet bridge. Not during flight though


What is the rudest thing done to you at work?


On a regular basis? People telling me to smile, or asking if I’m tired

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