I have just come across a very interesting site: “At Jobstr.com, you can ask people anything about their jobs and answer questions about yours. It’s as though we took the classic “What do you do?” cocktail party question and turned it into a website…minus the awkward small-talk.”
The following are the top 4 highest rated questions for a flight attendant.
Do pilots and flight attendants hang out when staying in a destination city?
Though I do come across those pilots who think they’re above hanging out with the cabin crew, they are thankfully few and far between. Often captains are first to suggest meeting up for drinks and many even go the extra mile and buy the first round or a few appetizers. Of course there will always be some FAs and pilots who, after a long day of flying, just want to hole up in their hotel room and savor the solitude, and consequently they get a reputation for being “slam-clickers” (that’s the unmistakeable sound of a hotel door shutting and locking). As for pilots and flight attendants getting a little too cozy on layovers? Well, I will neither confirm nor deny that it happens, but what happens in a layover city, doesn’t stay in a layover city, because nothing passes the time in the air like gossiping and, as one FA from another airline told me, “if I don’t hear a rumour before 9am I start one”.
If you were made Queen of Air Travel for 24 hours, what changes would you implement?
I would ensure that all crew members were paid for the time spent doing security checks on the aircraft (we’re not) and going through customs (we’re not) and boarding guests onto the plane (you guessed it, we’re not). I would also make it illegal to clip or paint your finger/toenails while on an aircraft, or even remove your footwear for that matter. (it’s a public place, do you really want to?) And if I could magically make every TV on every plane always work the way it should, I would do that too, because if you’re happy, I’m happy.
How much training is required to be a flight attendant?
Surprise, surprise, turns out I didn’t need that totally practical four-year degree in cinema studies to become a flight attendant. Actually everything you need to know they teach you. So apart from some handy customer service skills picked up while waiting tables, and a bit of high school French in my back pocket, I was starting from scratch. Training periods vary from airline to airline, but for me it lasted a solid month during which I lived and breathed all things airplane. I relocated to another city for it and spent 9 hours a day, 7 days a week training on the company campus, and enjoyed all my other waking hours studying.
I underwent fire-fighting 101, first-aid training, and even got to inflate one of those life-vests you’ll find underneath your airplane seat. But most of the training is devoted to learning about the emergency equipment carried on each aircraft (how to use it, where to stow it, and how to make sure it’s in proper condition) as well as practicing shouted commands to deal with emergency situations (fires, unruly passengers, and evacuations). A flight attendant needs strong vocal chords! We had several exams throughout training and many drills within the month. We got one chance at a re-write and if we failed we were out of a job. Every flight attendant, or FA as we call ourselves, must return to the campus for a few days each year to get re-certified. It’s like a very stressful forced migration. In any training setting we only spend about 5% of our time focusing on the customer’s experience so remember that next time you’re on the receiving end of some crummy airline service – we’re qualified based on our ability to save your life, not our bedside manner.
What kinds of passengers annoy you the most?
You’d be surprised how many people seem to pack their manners in their checked luggage. When I ask you if you would like a drink, try taking off your headphones instead of yelling, “HUH?” and making me repeat myself several times. Say “please” and “thank you” – parents will remind their children to do this and then forget to do it themselves – and please! I don’t have Garbage Can written across my forehead, so stop thrusting your dirty napkins in my face as I pass through the aisle, often with my hands full. But what really gets under my skin is people who stand in the galley and stare at me eating my lunch while saying, “Gee, not much room in here, is there?”. Yes, it’s a small space, there’s no privacy, and the best way to annoy your flight attendant is to loiter in their personal bubble while they try to catch a breather between services. Imagine it as your cubicle and someone’s sitting on your computer. And here’s a secret – if too many people are in our space, we can ask our buddies in the flight deck to flick on the get-back-in-your-seat sign. Ah, power!
More questions and answers here.