FAQ: Some of the Questions I get asked the most as a Fight Attendant
Passenger: “Do you get to sleep on these long flights?” and “Where do you sleep?”
YES! In fact for most flight attendants a shift onboard revolves around the times we get off. A lot of the time crew will say “Let’s finish this service so we can start breaks!”. Our breaks are formulated around time to eat and time to sleep, usually ranging from 20 minutes (an eating break however I have seen crew take power naps on this break) all the way to the longest break I’ve ever had onboard 3 hours and 45 minutes (when you can really have a good snooze!). I’m sure all crew experience this, because it often gets spoken about, having to limit our water intake before our long breaks, because the most annoying thing is having to leave the bunks to go to the bathroom (totally irrelevant to the question but a funny thing to know). While we’re on the topic of water, crew will usually try and drink a tonne of water, I’ll drink as much as humanly possible and as a passenger you should too. An aircraft is such a dry and dehydrating environment.
Passenger: “How do your rosters work?”
For the particular airline that I work for our rosters are released in 2 month periods usually consisting of 5 trips, or a combination of trips training days and annual leave with numerous days off and standby days scattered through out. Consecutive days off can range between 2days – heaps of days off, it really depends on the roster gods.
Passenger: “How did you become a flight attendant?”
I get asked this by people who want to join the industry and so many people think that you need to join a Travel and Tourism course but this is NOT TRUE. Customer service experience is really all you’ll need. In fact I’ve had crew tell me that when they REMOVED their travel and tourism qualification after having it on their CV and applying for airline jobs they finally got a job in the industry. In some cases it may not be as helpful as you’d hope. So unless you’ve finished school early and flight attending is your life long dream don’t worry about joining a tourism school and just apply directly!
OH, this questions blows my mind every time I get asked (I usually get asked this at least once a flight)
(13 hours into a 14 hour flight/1 hour until landing)
Passenger: “Where are the toilets?”
In my mind: NOOO how have you not been to the bathroom in 13 hours!!! You must have a bladder of steel!
Passenger: “What do you eat onboard?”
Well we actually get crew food which is maybe a notch better then what you passengers eat. However once you all have finished eating some crew will scoff a few passenger meals too. In all honesty, I’ve flown with a few airlines as a passenger and based on that I will say the airline I work for has the some of best food for passengers (as good as airline food can be).
Passenger: “What is your favourite destination?”
The Asia destinations are GREAT, Japan and Hong Kong.
1. The flight times are so quick compared to the other long haul flights we do.
2. I love the food.
3. I love the people.
However depending on the time of year and needs at the time this can change. Some crew enjoy the US for the shopping, Dubai for a little luxury and Johannesburg for some eye opening experiences.
Passenger: “How often do people get sick onboard?” And “has anyone ever died?”
People get sick on every flight, headaches, fainting, choking and vomiting (that we do have to clean up, at this point I’ve become used to it so it doesn’t tend to bother me), even the crew get sick (just last flight I was vomiting up a storm with the consistent bumps during the flight). With the amount of passengers that travel every day with us sickness and even death is inevitable and has happened numerous times.
Passenger: “Do you have any code words or subtle signs to communicate with each other during the flight?”
The only time we really need to subtly communicate is when we’re running out of a certain meal! In fact running out of a popular meal choice when you’re not even half way through the cabin is one of many flight attendants biggest fears (well mine anyway) forget an emergency situation, those we can handle but telling ¾ of a hungry cabin that they can’t have the chicken and the options are either fish curry or salad, now that’s a scary situation. Once you see crew darting from cart to cart and referring to meals in colours rather then food names you know something’s up eg “do you have any red left?” , as a passenger it may be time to mentally prepare for that fish curry (try and remember that crew have no say over the meal ratios).
Passenger: “What are some annoying things that passengers do?”
Now I’m not going to be too mean because travel is a high stress situation for many people, and in those types of situations people tend to do strange and bizarre things but here are a few pet peeves of mine.
1. When trying to serve a passenger wearing headphones and they keep replying with “Huh”… “Huh”. Hey buddy maybe take your headphones off.
2. While trying to serve a passenger and they’ve looked at the menu, you’ve also gone through the menu with them verbally and they stare at you blankly.
3. Or serving someone that isn’t really that hungry but will take a meal anyway just to nibble at and they request the most popular choice!
4. When pouring someone a glass of water, then mid pour THEY MOVE THE CUP! Then stare at you like “hey you just spilt water all over me”.
5. When people leave and shove rubbish into places they shouldn’t be shoving rubbish e.g in the A380 back bars that still have products in them for other passengers to consume and use.
6. Passengers who leave the toilets in absolute disarray. What were you doing in there that resulted in a cyclone of tap water and toilet paper to adorn every inch of the bathroom. (Ps I know the toilet flush is scary, it still gives me a fright but just flush the toilet, not flushing is gross).
I can’t write all that and not include my pet peeves that flight attendants do
1. Leaving 100 opened drink cans at the bar.
2. Counting down the time.
3. Being a Negative Nincompoop (that type of aura can spread fast in a confined space).
4. Being rude and mean to our passengers.
5. Hiding meals on their carts and not sharing!
Passenger: “Is the aircraft water safe to drink?”
I hope so because I drink it!