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Flight Attendants: Glamorous Jobs?

Posted by: David Kiley on August 15, 2006

I was struck by this sentence in a New York Times story about flight attendants today. “Flight attendants, whose profession was once considered glamorous, may have one of the toughest jobs in the airline industry these days.”

Aside from maybe the early 1960s when women weren’t going into college at the rate they do today, just when was being a flight attendant considered glam? I have always viewed them as pretty much waitresses in the sky.

Is that unfair of me?

Reader Comments


August 15, 2006 3:26 PM

Absolutely not unfair. I know they go through training and know more about getting out of an aircraft if there is an issue than I do, but the behavior of some of these "professionals" is appalling. I have been on several flights recently where the attendants behavior toward the customers -- and each other! -- was obscene. Just disgraceful. Not much better than customer service elsewhere in the service industry except if you say anything about it you could get security to escort you out!!!


May 8, 2007 9:56 AM

No, not just a waitress in the sky, and I urge you to contact any airline and sit through a few few weeks of Flight Attendant training, and see for yourself what the "flying waitstaff" is ready and able to handle.

Of course I can't blame you for thinking this way, you're most likely a typically snobby elitist who can't life beyond the 3 martini lunch, see service workers as beneath you and stil don't understand the level of contempt when they are taking care of you.

So I certainly can't fault someone with such terrible shortcomings.


May 15, 2007 7:17 PM

Dear David

Good luck when the emergency happens on your airplane!


May 22, 2007 1:56 AM

Hi David,

I understand where you are coming from, I am a flight attendant with an Asian Airline and yes although it seems that we are "just waitresses in the sky" we are pretty well qualified . Apart from the six week vigourous training we have to go back to training school every 11 months for a refresher course in saftey and emergency training. Apart from the food and wine knowledge we are trained in etiquette and social skills.

You will be surprised/ glad to hear that many of us have graduate and post graduate degrees. We have dentists, architects , engineers and MBA's flying as Flight attendants. I also happen to have a Master's degree. So your sweeping statement is a bit inappropriate .

And as far as being glamourous, there is no glamour in being a model or an actress either. Standing in front of the camera for hours can take the glamour out of you.

The glamour can still be sustained in our jobs. we still get to travel and wine and dine in some exotic places and do get asked out a fair bit. So it all lies in ones view and interpretation of the job.



May 28, 2007 3:15 PM



January 7, 2008 3:49 PM

Just to add a little..
My mother used to be a flight attendant in the 70s for Braniff and she said that the girls had to be perfectly primped from head to toe before every flight AND although that sounds “glamorous” it wasn’t. If the hair on your legs stood up even the slightest amount your pay was docked and you were forced to run back and shave. The head of the attendants would run her hand up the women’s legs to check. You also ALWAYS had to smile, no matter what the customer said, have your hair and make up neat and uniform pressed. It was glamorous because flying was such a privilege, those jobs were hard to come by and everyone wanted them.

Rene R. Jaco

April 4, 2008 9:48 PM

David you are such an ignorant! you are probably one of those people who freaks out at the slightest turbulence. Sit through the ExpressJet training and then come and tell me if we are waitstaff.


June 15, 2008 3:02 AM

Hi David. My name is Shalimar and I'm currently an Air Hostess for an Arab airline.

Whilst some of what you say is right, another part of it understates us, both as people and as hard working world citizens.

People often make the simple assumption that we are just "waitresses in the sky", but as a matter of fact, our job is to insure the safety and comfort of passengers, serving beverages and food is just part our job!

A waitress has the primary responsibility of just serving: Food and beverages. Waitresses aren't trained to save lives or to comfort people in their most grieving states.

I often have to comfort people who have lost loved ones! One time I even had to comfort a man who had lost his wife and 3 children in an overseas vehicle accident, I felt sincerely sorry for him and I tried to comfort him with all my hearts kindness. (On the 15 hour flight that he cried on all the way.)

And then, people, simple passengers or ground onlookers have the cheek to then say that: "We are trained to act sincere and caring." That is not the truth, we really, REALLY do care about our passengers. It's not just part of our job, it's part of who are are. We wouldn't be there if we didn't have a passion for what we were doing.

Now, on the glamour side of things?
Well, it really depends what you are talking about. - Don't get me to list all of the gorgeous gifts that passengers have given me, all of the invites that I get to places. It's really beautiful and heart felt! BUT, the TRUE glamour that I get from my job is the personal reward that I get. From what? From this: Making people feel good. This is what I'm passionate about.

So there you have it. Describing us as waitresses is a little far too low. We are so much more than waitresses. After all, waitresses can't save lives on potential plane crashes. Waitresses can't work safety equipment. Waitresses aren't there to comfort you on your saddest moments, ARE they?

That's a little bit of my input.
Don't be defaced by this entry anyone interested in flight attending. The rewards are there, if you have a passion for people, flight attending is for you.

I LOVE MY JOB. It's the most rewarding job in the world.


Flight attendant

December 4, 2008 1:14 PM

Dear David,

I am sorry that you are so ignorant toward my profession.

I am a flight attendant. I have not received one second of "waitressing" training during my career.

CPR training? Yes. Self defense training? Yes. Other training that is classified that I can not disclose here? Yes. Fire fighting training...and much, much, more.

I am required to renew this training every year.

As of yet, I have not received any training related to serving you meals or drinks or anything else.

My priority is getting you out safely in the event of an emergency. I truly care about saving peoples lives...yes...even yours.

I do not hold it against you that you see me as a "waitress in the sky." I understand that some people are just not as educated as I, and I do not hold that fact against them.

P.S. Because I like you, here's a tip...if your plane is going down and the cabin is filled with smoke and you need help finding the safest exit (96 % of passengers SURVIVE a plane crash)maybe you shouldn't call out, "hey"

Just my personal suggestion. Take care. Fly safe.


January 25, 2009 9:33 AM

well, dear flight attendants, all these self defense training and CPR training, anyone can do and is not expensive at all, one day training and 60 bucks you are a certified, self deference, just enroll in a gym and work out at the same time for as little as 30 bucks. You guys deal with customer service as equal as the girls who works in a restaurant who actually you guys are being very offensive. Saying that you are better than they are

Flights are cheap nowadays, in Europe with 20 euros you can fly to another country, so the level of the crew is not the same as used to be before, the airlines advertise jobs saying "No experience needed".
And If the plane is going to crash, you cant really do anything, except " Is there any doctor in the plane, pleaseeee help!"

And to the girl who says that you asked out quiet a bit, honestly any pretty girl does.

I respect your jobs, and we really need people to remind us to fasten our seat belts, but don't think you are better than any other customer service profession.


flight attendant training

February 17, 2009 2:32 AM

Career as flight attendant is still glamorous job option. In today’s era commercial airline traffic is increasing so new air lines are coming into existence. Therefore the demand of flight crew is increasing rapidly. There are many flight attendant training centers that give good training to the students and place them in the good airlines.

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