Many passengers who don't know better believe that flight attendants are glorified waiters and waitresses who are only around to push a heavy cart through the aisles to serve you meals and drinks. That's in no way true. Flight attendants are responsible for everyone on the plane, including their general safety and evacuation procedures. They go through a lot of rigorous training and put in a lot of unseen hard work. Sure, they get to travel far and wide and meet a lot of interesting people along the way, but the trade-off is that they are paid only when the plane is up in the air, a grievance most of them share since it always seems as if they spend a lot of time on the ground, such as during flight delays.
That's just one glaring problem that flight attendants face every day. Another is that they work crazy hours, which means they lack sleep. They may feel tired, but since they must adhere to strict beauty rules, they have to wear airline-approved makeup to conceal it, ensuring that at all times they look presentable.
But pilots also have it bad. They too have long hours and get little sleep. They suffer from depression but can't tell anyone in fear they will lose their jobs. They have to know how to communicate to passengers about possible danger ahead in a way that won't frighten the passengers and cause mass chaos.
From strict grooming protocol for attendants to pilots fudging the take-off time to look impressive, it's time to bust some myths and reveal 20 surprising problems that both attendants and pilots face every day when they're cruising at 30,000 feet. So read on!
25 Flight Attendants Are Always Demeaned
Are flight attendants around just to push a heavy cart to give you drinks and meals? Well, this is one glaring problem that flight attendants face everyday, being demeaned. Passengers really do believe this. According to Job Monkey, the most important thing you need to know about flight attendants is that they are there to save the lives of each passenger and to keep the passengers safe at all times. They are responsible for every single person on the plane and if there's some airline trouble, they take care of the job themselves, such as having to restrain a passenger who refuses to get into his seat.
24 For Attendants: When they get home, all they do is sleep
Flight attendants have very few days off. Clocking in 16 to 18 hours a day can really work its toll on them. This explains why, when they return home, they do nothing but sleep. A flight attendant told Business Insider: "You're pretty beat up by the time you get home. . . On the day after your trip you close the blinds, you may or may not answer the phone. You definitely won't answer the door. You're definitely going to cancel any plans you have with your friends because you were dumb enough to make them in the first place thinking you would go."
23 Pilots' Health is always On The Line In the Cockpit
When it comes to drinking liquids, pilots either stay off them or have very few sips of their choice of beverage. And that's because there are very strict protocols for a pilot to use the lavatory during flight. But they can relieve themselves as long as a flight attendant takes the pilot's seat in the cockpit, ensuring there are two members of the crew on the flight deck. But all of this adds up to stress on the urinary tract, according to The Cheat Sheet. And so it's rare to find a pilot using the bathroom, which means he's seriously dehydrated.
22 Attendants Work Crazy Hours
Flight attendants face this every day: long, grueling hours. It's a problem because it inhibits them from sleeping. Normally, they work between 10 and 12 hours each day. But they often have 16 hour days (the legal maximum). This problem can be attributed to airplane delays, for example. As an attendant told Wander Wisdom, "If you factor in the time it takes to commute back and forth to the base cities we fly out of, those numbers get even higher, even though they’re not considered part of our work day as per FAA (Federal Aviation Administration)".
21 Pilots Fall Asleep In the Cockpit
Pilots face this glaring problem every day while flying. They are tired from long commutes and fall asleep in the cockpit. When you're fatigued, this leads to slower reaction times and impaired concentration and decision making. According to a sleep expert who spoke to BBC News, the impairments a pilot experiences landing a plane at five in the morning, for example, are "the equivalent of having a blood alcohol level of 0.08%," which is the same for drink-driving.
20 Attendants Don't Lead Glamorous Lives
Flight attendants face this glaring problem: the public perception of what they do when they have some downtime, like if there are flight delays. Many people think that flight attendants go sight-seeing or, if they're in a tropical area, squeeze in a beach trip to relax and get a tan to recover from not having natural sunlight for long periods of time when they're working. That rarely happens because there's not a lot of hours during downtime, according to Wander Wisdom.
19 Pilots Fly With Barely Enough Fuel
Pilots face this each time they're in the cockpit: they worry if they have enough fuel in the plane. That's because airlines are always looking at the bottom line and give pilots just enough gas needed to get to their destination, according to Reader's Digest. But what happens when you hit thunderstorms or delays? Suddenly, the plane is low on gas and has to get to an alternate airport. Pilots also don't want anyone to know that this savings measure means that there's little room for unplanned events, like inclement weather.
18 Attendants Have To Adhere To Strict Grooming Standards
On long flights, flight attendants can sleep on the plane. But most times they can't because they have back to back flights that are short and which doesn't allow for rest. But have you ever seen them look tired? Nope, and that's because there are rules in place for how they appear. They have to look immaculate on every flight, which is a glaring problem they have to deal with. According to The Telegraph UK, "lipstick has to be a certain shade of red and constantly applied, and nails must always be manicured with only pink, red or French polish." There are also rules in place about their attire.
17 For Pilots: Passengers Using Their Phone Spells Danger
What happens when many passengers start to call someone just before landing? Nothing bad, really, but still pilots face this glaring problem each day when passengers don't listen to the flight attendant and everyone goes bonkers with their phones. But pilots may get a false reading on their instruments saying that the plane is higher than it really is during landing, and that it gets worse during bad weather conditions because the equipment is what pilots rely on to land the plane safely, according to Global News.
16 For Attendants: You Pack It, You Put It Up
The worse is when passengers delay everyone getting to their seats because they are blocking the aisle by trying to make their luggage fit in the overhead bin. According to Uvisor, the glaring problem that flight attendants face each day is that passengers don't know that they aren't required to help you. Yet, when you fly, you always see attendants helping passengers. They do this out of the kindness of their heart and so as not to delay the flight. The key indicator is that the door of the aircraft is still open.
15 Pilots Speak In Code
Pilots face this grueling problem each flight. They have to communicate to the crew that there's trouble ahead in a way that passengers won't know so they won't freak out. That's why they speak in code to the crew. According to The Cheat Sheet, when pilots say "air pocket," this is a more calming way to say there's turbulence ahead. When they say, "Code Bravo" this means there's actual danger they don't want passengers to know. But the chilling secret code you never want to hear is "7500" which means the plane is or will be hijacked.
14 For Attendants: This Is What The Airlines Offer Them
Flight Attendants face this glaring problem each time the airline puts them up in a hotel. It's the disparity of devoting yourself to your airline who then goes and puts you in a cheap hotel. For some attendants, the hotels they've stayed in are grimy and dirty, with roaches all around and even bed bugs. On occasions, flight attendants just have to accept their fate because they happen to be in a city where most places are full for some reason or another, according to The Huffington Post.
13 For Pilots: Danger Is Ahead During An Updraft
Turbulence on a plane is due to changes in the air pressure outside, making for a bumpy ride. This makes passengers believe that the plane will go down. But turbulence doesn't damage the aircraft. What pilots fear is updraft, which is what happens when warm, moist air moves upwards during a T-storm, according to Express UK. If the updraft collides with the plane, it can push a plane upwards into the sky, which leads it to reach altitudes that are dangerous. The problem that faces pilots is having to actually tell passengers what's happening.
12 For Attendants: Getting In Is As Hard As Getting Into Harvard
Another glaring problem that flight attendants face every day is another public perception of them by passengers who think they are glorified waitresses and waiters. But CNN debunked the myth. It's actually very hard to become an attendant; each year, more than 100,000 people apply and less than 1 percent get the job. To put that into perspective, "it’s harder to fly with Delta than it is to get into Harvard, which, in 2018, accepted 4.6 percent of students." "Students"are interviewed multiple times, undergo an eight-week training program, have to pass multiple tests throughout training, plus a 100-question final exam in order to earn their wings.
11 Pilots Would Never Admit That They Have A Mental Illness
Some pilots face this problem every day. According to The Los Angeles Times, 13% of the nation's commercial airline pilots suffer from depression. While a new study of pilot mental illness by the Journal of Environmental Health argues that the source of their malaise is not entirely known, the study also found that pilots would definitely not share their mental illness as they fear they may lose their jobs. Of course, this means there are a lot of undocumented pilots facing depression, and that one of them may be flying the plane you're on.
10 For Attendants: Diet Coke is A Nemesis Soda
The worst thing passengers can request for drinks is a can of Diet Coke. The soft drink just happens to take the longest to pour due to its higher level of carbonation which takes a painful time to settle at high altitudes. Flight attendants have to deal with this problem every day and it happens frequently because Diet Coke is a popular request. It's such a problem that a flight attendant admitted to CNBC that "flight attendants want to pull their hair out,” each time they pour the soda, and that they "can pour three drinks to one Diet Coke. It’s our nemesis soda.”
9 For Pilots: Babies should have their own seat
Another glaring problem pilots face every day is that passengers try to get away buying a seat for their baby and instead hold it in their laps. But a baby seated comfortably in its own seat designed specifically for its body will be much less restless on a flight than a baby forced to ride in your lap the whole time. And besides, the lap ride is extremely dangerous, as Skyscanner noted. If there’s any impact or deceleration, there’s a good chance you’re going to lose hold of your baby, and the baby then becomes a projectile.
8 For Attendants: Their Job Is A Massive Health Risk
Another glaring problem that flight attendants have to face is that their job poses a health risk. They get sick due to the fact that they were in contact with a passenger who also had a cold. Or they get sick because of "exposure to contaminants. . . and exposure to minor burns, cuts, bites, or stings, according to Business Insider Australia. If they get sick mid-flight they have to hide it as best as they can so that passengers don't get worried that they too have their health at risk while flying. The magazine put together the 27 jobs that are most damaging to your health, and flight attendants ranked high at #2.
7 Pilots Fudge The Take-Off Time To Look Impressive
Thanks to the Department of Transportation, they have successfully cut down on delayed flights even if there are 20 people on a connecting flight who are coming in just a little late, as Reader's Digest reported. The problem pilots face is they have to say little white lies on each flight, like saying over the intercom that the flight will take off two-and-a-half hours when in reality it takes two hours. The reason why is so that pilots can have a much more impressive record concerning timing and having fewer delays.
6 For Attendants: They only get paid when they are in the air
Flight attendants face this glaring problem all of the time. It's that they don't get paid for all the hours they work. The ugly truth is that they start getting paid until the aircraft door is shut by the gate agent, according to Business Insider. The flight attendants only get paid for flight hours, not for boarding or deplaning. This means they have to endure a slow person boarding the plane or a person attempting to get on the plane but his or her heavy luggage is weighing her down, for example. When they do this, they delay the flight time of the trip and, in the process, lower the flight attendant's wages.