An Australian flight attendant has taken to social media to share the surprisingly grizzly reality behind the supposedly glamorous profession that left her burned out and looking for new options.
Flight attendants have shared some pretty crazy stories of their time in the air — take Vesna Vulovic, the flight attendant who Survived a 30,000 feet fall without a parachute or Cierra Mistt’s characteristically wild pilot story as prime examples — but a newly released video shows that the day-to-day reality is actually a pretty hard slog.
Shared by now-retired flight attendant and TikTokker Ashlee Jane, the video explains some of the more gruelling aspects of the job and how the inner workings of airlines can make it difficult to plan a fulfilling life beyond the bounds of the job and, even more surprisingly, how the apparently glamorous perks of non-stop travel can actually wear thin fast.
WATCH: The retired Aussie flight attendant reveals all.
Serving with Virgin Australia — remember that career progression in this role requires you to work exclusively with one airline, thanks to old-fashioned seniority rules whereby if you switch carriers you start from the bottom all over again — Jane describes how despite the increased flexibility and higher rate of pay versus other careers, the job takes a heavy toll, often leading to full-blown burnout.
The Drawbacks Of Being A Flight Attendant
The drawbacks that Jane highlights can be summarised as follows, which our pals at View From The Wing have fleshed out with their bird’s eye view of the industry:
Inconsistent schedules can be brutal, with attendants expressing their preferences for shifts that the airline can choose to honour… or not. The latter is especially true for newcomers or those working less popular flights and routes.
This lack of consistency makes personal planning incredibly difficult; it’s hard to schedule personal plans, maintain stable relationships, and even raise a family when your schedule can move so often. When you factor in flight delays and cancellations, this aspect only gets worse.
The chance for personal travel becomes limited despite the supposed allure of discounts and standby seats; these can be hard to get and, once again, are inconsistent by nature. Similarly, travelling for work isn’t as glamorous as many imagine, with short turnaround times and less than exotic locations on offer to many.
Pay for flight attendants is another factor at play: it starts low and takes many years to get significantly higher. The industry maintains low barriers to entry but keeps wages low as a result. When you then factor in that colleague dynamics can often become complicated by strict seniority rules and monotonous tasks, low rates of pay bite even harder.
Finally, passengers can sometimes be a pain rather than a pleasure. We’ve got plenty of horror stories of such passengers here at DMARGE, but consider this a friendly reminder to treat attendants with the respect they deserve…