I work for a big airline in Finland. Flight attendant’s day-to-day job is to offer straightforward and friendly customer service while being simultaneously prepared to act in case of an emergency or bout of illness.
Flight attendant is in the plane for passengers’ safety. Catering belongs to the job, but it is only a small part of our tasks. Before graduating as a flight attendant you need to complete an intensive training that prepares you for different kinds of emergencies during the flight. You could say that flight attendants and stuerts are additionally firefighters, doctors, guards and in the worst case scenario, rescue workers in charge of the plane evacuation. Sometimes we might also end up in psychologist role, for example when encountering a customer who is afraid of flying or causing trouble.
In addition, before passengers get in the plane you need to ensure that all the needed safety equipment is in the plane. In some cases you also need to check the whole cabin for hidden items that might endanger the safety of the flight.
Every day in my job is different. I get to travel around the world and to see places which few people get to experience. Besides the diverse destinations, I also get to know different cultures and customs. I get to challenge myself and to learn something new every day. During long flights you have the chance to talk with passengers and to hear about their lives on the other side of the world. The constant possibilities for development is definitely one of the highlights of my job.
We also get to share passengers’ moments of joy (baby’s first flight, honeymoon etc), and sometimes we go through moments of sadness, if the purpose of the flight isn’t positive. Besides the fantastic passengers, I have the world’s best colleagues, with whom we get to know each other easily thanks to our similarities. Also shift work fits me well. Sometimes I get a day off on Mondays, and rarely get stuck in shop queues or traffic jams. Working hours bring nice variety to life.
Whereas traveling and shift work are the best parts of the job, they also have their downsides. Occasionally it’s tough to wake up to work at 3.30 or to recover from jet lag.
Gathering different kinds of work experience. Working at airport check in/gate or in arrival services helps to understand the passengers’ journey to and from the plane. Work at the airport (or in a similar job) teaches pressure handling, customer service and understanding the bigger picture.
I have worked with aviation for nearly my whole life, and due to my previous experience I had a quite realistic image of flight attendant’s work. However I was surprised by how demanding the job is physically, and by the strain caused by the flights. I have learned to be more merciful to myself, by listening to my body and energy. Many times flight attendant’s job is seen as easy traveling around the world, but nowadays the resting time in the destination is quite short, and sleeping in the hotels becomes mundane. It depends on your attitude, but I would say that there is still a pinch of luxury in my job.