If you’re aspiring to become Cabin Crew but haven’t yet had the opportunity to live your dream – or even know anyone who has done the job before, then you might have some pretty wild pre-conceived ideas about what the job is all about (and the benefits you’re hoping to get out of it).
That’s pretty understandable – we’re fed all these amazing stories about what its like to be a flight attendant and airline’s don’t help either. Most of the marketing materials they pump out show cabin crew in glossy photos living a glamorous life in exotic locations.
Okay, so we’d be the first to say that being Cabin Crew is a really good career choice but we’ve seen plenty of candidates who have taken the plunge without a realistic sense of what the job is all about. Their motivation’s for wanting to become cabin crew weren’t genuine and as a result, they ended up hating the experience.
We’ve put together a list of some of the biggest misconceptions aspiring cabin crew have about the job. And what the reality is really like. How do your motivations fit in?
1. You get to travel the world
This is pretty much the number 1 reason we hear from people wanting to become cabin crew. And its true, you do get to see some amazing sights in some of the farthest flung places around the globe. You’ll get to see things that you could only have dreamed of seeing and have experiences that would have been impossible in a normal 9-5 office job.
But don’t be fooled by the those idealistic Instagram photos of cabin crew posing in front of iconic sights or lazing on the pure white sands of a secluded tropical beach. Most airlines only give cabin crew a very limited time ‘down route’. You’ll be tired, jetlagged and making difficult decisions over what sights to see first.
And what happens once you’ve been to the same destination 20 or 30 times? Do you simply lounge around in your hotel room, binging on Netflix and ordering room service?
Deal Breaker? Definitely not – but consider the type of travel you’ll be experiencing first
2. It’s such a glamorous job
Don’t let serving flight attendants ever tell you that they don’t like getting dressed up in their uniform and feeling like a million dollars. It’s a great perk of the job but your responsibilities are anything but glamorous.
It can be very physically demanding and cleaning the onboard toilets halfway through a long haul flight could never be seen as glamorous. Then, of course, there’s the tiredness and jetlag that will become an everyday part of your life.
Oh, and don’t forget – yes, you get to dress up but are you ready to look your best at all times when you’re on duty. You’ll be amazed how quickly this can become a drag.
Deal breaker? Maybe – very few flight attendants get to attend all the airline promotional events
3. It’s not a job but a lifestyle
If you love nothing more than returning home at the end of a long shift and curling up in front of the TV, then this is definitely not the job for you. Airline’s run their operations 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. They don’t care if it’s your birthday, whether you have a religious holiday coming up or simply want to spend time with your friends at the weekend.
You’ll have to take the rough with the smooth – yes, you’ll miss important events and friendships might become strained but think about all the positives you’ll get out of the job. And if you do want more of a home life, consider short haul only airlines – instead of spending time in world-class cities, you’ll get to go home to your loved ones.
Deal breaker? Maybe – There could well be an airline that works for you. Consider all your options first
4. You’ll never be rich
Airlines famously don’t pay their flight attendants a lot of money. Okay, some airline’s pay better than others but the overall trend is for wages to shrink while you’re expected to do more work with fewer perks.
Of course, airlines can get away with this because they are inundated with aspiring candidates just like you. And with all that time spent away from home, it can be an expensive lifestyle.
You’ll have to be savvy with your cash and realise that while the airline might put you up in 5-Star hotels, you can’t quite live like a King or Queen on a paupers wage.
Deal Breaker? Yes – this is not the job to try and become rich
5. It’s all about the passengers
You are not being paid to go on holiday or to catch up with your friends onboard. You’ll be expected to provide a fantastic service to passengers at all times. Sometimes cultural differences will come as a shock to you and sometimes you won’t be able to work out why a passenger is being mean when you’re trying so hard. That’s just the way it works.
What you will get though is an amazing opportunity to learn so much about different cultures. You’ll meet people from around the world and from all walks of life – you’ll find out about their way of life. It can be an incredibly fulfilling career which will truly broaden your horizons. This is no place for the narrowminded or insular.
Deal breaker? No – Open your eyes to the people around you and embrace the change
6. It’s not just serving people
If you were only expected to serve chicken or beef, the airline would simply hire a bunch of waiters and waitresses. Your job is way more than that and you’ll be expected to excel in every aspect of the role. From emergency first aid to firefighting and disruptive passengers, you’ll need to be prepared to deal with it all.
And don’t forget, aviation safety and security changes all the time. You have to be prepared to study and pass tough annual exams.
Deal breaker? Maybe – Consider every aspect of the job
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.