Ever curious about what a day in the life of a flight attendant looks like?
It’s not all glamour and time zones – it’s a mix of hard work, unique challenges, and little victories. Let me walk you through a day in my life, from the first cup of coffee (or late-night snack) to the moment I finally kick off my shoes.
My day starts, but not always at the crack of dawn. Usually, I start prepping for my trip the evening before, I make sure I pack weather appropriate clothing. Sometimes I have to have both warm and cold weather wear depending on what locations visit. I may meal prep if I am unsure of the food situation at my layover city. I make sure all my important items that I need, especially my passport are in easy to find locations so I can access them as needed. I may leave first thing in the morning or late at night depending on my schedule.
Once at the airport, it’s game time. Every airline has its procedures that we need to perform prior to our flight, but that is something you learn during your intensive training. I will check in for my flight and board the plane an hour prior to takeoff. I tend to work in the galley so I spend the pre boarding time getting all the beverage and snacks ready for our passengers.
Up in the sky, it’s showtime. Here, my role is all about the passengers – their safety, their comfort, and yes, those snack and drink requests! It’s not just walking up and down the aisle. There are many tasks we perform throughout the flight. One thing is for sure is that our flight crew works as a team. We help each other out with whatever needs arise during the flight.
Of course, it’s not always smooth sailing – or flying, in my case. I’ve had my share of challenges, from comforting passengers upset about things beyond my control. It takes empathy and patience to handle unexpected issues. It is also common to politely explaining why I can’t lift bags into the overhead bin. Airlines discovered that lifting bags was one of the main injuries flight attendants experienced and made it a requirement to not life anyone’s bag. And let’s talk about turbulence? It’s as unpredictable for us as it is for you. Many times we have to sit for our safety which interrupts or limits our inflight service. What is interesting is I have heard passengers comment that flight attendants learn to “walk during turbulence” in training. I can assure you that is not true. The biggest challenge for me are medical emergencies. It is never easy to balance the expectations of passengers while dealing with a medical emergency. Our focus will always be for the ill passenger and we will put our service duties aside to make sure the medical issue is taken care of first. It always helps when passengers are aware of their surroundings and have an understanding of why we may deviate from our normal service procedures.
Landing isn’t just a relief for passengers – it’s a moment for us to ensure everything is wrapped up neatly. Checking the cabin, making sure no one’s left anything behind, and then, it’s off to the next flight or, if I’m lucky, to the hotel. If I am off to my layover hotel, there is a whole routine that many flight attendants do. It might include checking the room for safety and cleanliness. Plugging in our multiple devices. Taking a shower and getting into comfortable clothes. It might mean a quick with your crew in the hotel restaurant or a simple meal in your room.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s the power of being organized. Everything has its place – especially my passport, work ID, and other items I may need for work. And packing? It’s an art form. I have learned to pack light. Not only when I’m working, but also when I travel for leisure. Having only 1 bag for an entire week is doable!
But the biggest lesson? Taking time for myself. Sometimes the best adventure on a layover is a good rest in a comfy hotel bed. Yes, it is worth it to go out and explore a new locations, but my best advice is to listen to your body. If you are tired. Rest. Pushing yourself too much can lead to fatigue and getting sick.
So, there you have it – a peek into a flight attendant’s day. It’s a mix of the familiar and the unexpected, always keeping us on our toes. But remember, for every seamless journey and friendly interaction, there’s a dedicated team working hard behind the scenes. The next time you’re up in the air, just think of us as more than just the crew; we’re fellow travelers, all part of the same journey, ensuring you get where you’re going safely and hopefully a bit more comfortably.
Here’s a quick video from a Las Vegas trip I recently flew: