A Flight Attendants Story – What Flight Attendants Actually Do

A flight attendant’s life is one of the most mysterious, adventurous and, sometimes, looked-down-on- jobs in this world. I have worked as a flight attendant for two years and when people asked me about my job, I would receive answers in several degrees of enthusiasm and interest. Those went from: “Oh, so you are the one who pours coffees all day.” to: “Wow, cool, you must travel all the time. What a nice job!”

Let’s make one thing clear: if you want something, go after it. No need to bathe in self-pity, just believe in yourself and go for it! Secondly: the flight attendant job is not all about pouring coffee. That is indeed the most important thing we do, I totally agree with you. who can live without coffee? But did you know how my days looked like as cabin crew?

If something happens on the ground, you can call so many services: when there’s a fire, you call the fire brigade, when there’s an emergency, you call the emergency services,… In the sky, your only option thus rescue is the cabin crew. We are trained for all kinds of emergencies. And yes, they do happen often. I’ve had people feeling sick constantly, or people who faint, were unconcious, etc.

Let’s start at the beginning. What is very important, and must be done before every flight, is a check of all the safety and emergency equipment. The whole plane gets searched out. Then, we have to do a security search to make sure the cabin itself is safe and no one has left anything unsafe behind.

Afterwards, everyone goes to their door: every cabin crew has one door, and with every door different responsibilities come along. Your tasks can be for example: checking the water and waste level, announcing the speeches, making sure the sales reports are completed, etc.

Later, the passengers board the plane, and the following tasks are executed: assisting the pax in the cabin, perform the safety demo (and read the safety demo), explain the safety procedures to the passengers who are seated at the emergency overwing exits, making sure the safety procedures are met for take-off (also known as making sure the cabin is “secure”), etc.

During the flight, flight attendants perform their service, but I won’t torture you with that explanation because then, this wouldn’t be a blog anymore, but more a bible. Let’s just say there are different types of service, especially at my airline company, and many, many things you have to prepare and offer to the passengers.

But now, here comes the fun part: after an exhaustingly long flight, you finally land. Unfortunately, the flight took only 5 hours, so you have to fly back directly and cannot enjoy the destination yourself. But there is one hour- one hour and a half in between to: let the passengers disembark, clean, do a security check again, receive the catering, fuel the plane, and prepare for the next flight.

So that is that moment. That moment when you, as a passenger, is waiting at the gate, looking at the plane and thinking: “Those passengers have disembarked already some time ago, what on earth are they doing in there?” Preparing and cleaning the airplane for you, ma’am. And by that I mean literally clean everything, place the seatbelts and safety cards correctly,…

I know what you’re thinking and no, please don’t picture cabin crew in their uniforms running around the aircraft with vacuum cleaners and cleaning products because that is not what we do. Cleaning services arrive on board with vacuum cleaners etc. and in the meantime, we clear the airplane of any rubbish.

Later, the next passengers arrive and everything happens again: the boarding, explaining the safety procedures, the safety demo, the “cabin secure”, the announcements, the service, etc. Approximately 30 minutes before landing, we close our sales, start cleaning up and emptying the galley, prepare the cabin for landing and prepare everything for our arrival at our home base.

Sometimes, we fly to another destination- which is called a triangular flight. This means that the passengers cross each other and, consequently, their seats as well. You can imagine what a fun fest that always brings forward. Moody passengers bump into others with the same seat number as them. But as a flight attendant, your task is to inform everyone of this and keep the peace in the cabin (and the families) controlled and together.

Also, cabin crew has to perform a headcount – which means: count everyone in the airplane – because the number of passengers has to be right. You never know who disembarks at a wrong destination or who doesn’t board the plane at all.

So during a triangular flight, you take off three times, perform the safety demo three times, prepare the “cabin secure” three times, etc. And, for some reason, I always got those flights. But hey, I cannot complain, I’ve learned this profession the hard way and I prefer this instead of only working on the shortest and easiest flights.

This was (in short) how a day in the life of a cabin crew looks like, and what we actually do during a day of work. Hopefully, you have a more clear idea of what cabin crew do, how to approach them and what to expect from them. They are your go-to person when something is wrong or when you need something, and you never know when that might happen, so always treat your crew nicely. It’s only in your and their advantage.