The aviation industry is packed with jobs for individuals with various skill sets, interests, and academic backgrounds.
One of the most popular careers within the industry is working as a flight attendant, an airline professional serving as a convenience, comfort, and safety resource while flying on planes.
Suppose you’re interested in becoming a flight attendant.
In that case, it’s essential to become acquainted with the benefits and challenges of the role to understand better if this career and the requirements fit your employment standards and goals.
Keep reading to learn more about the pros and cons of being a flight attendant!
Table of Contents
- Pros of Being a Flight Attendant
- Cons of Being a Flight Attendant
- Pros and Cons of Being a Flight Attendant – Summary Table
- Should You Become a Flight Attendant?
Pros of Being a Flight Attendant
While there are multiple advantages to being a flight attendant, the most important are as follows:
1. Can Live Wherever You Want
Depending on where the base of your company is located, you can live wherever you want.
For example, the airline base is defined as where you start and finish work.
Just because an airline is flying to a specific destination doesn’t mean the aircraft is permanently kept at Charles de Gaulle Airport.
Instead, the airline flies there, so onboard flight attendants may sleep in that city for a few nights in a hotel but won’t live there.
2. Choose the Lifestyle you Want
Many flight attendants love having layovers because it gives them a chance to explore a new destination.
This is common to those without families who are newer to the role.
Those with more experience, who may have children at home, often prefer one-day trips that allow them to sleep in their bed every night.
If you prefer more extended layovers, then consider an international airline.
However, consider a regional or low-budget carrier if you want to sleep in your bed.
3. Extensive Flying Benefits
Another reason many choose to become flight attendants is the extensive benefits.
First, you get reduced airline tickets through your company, allowing you to travel almost anywhere on Earth for free domestically.
For international flights, you typically only pay for airport fees and taxes.
The only downside with these tickets is that you aren’t guaranteed a seat, but you will save considerable money.
Second, your friends and family also get discounts and other flying benefits.
Third, you get plenty of cabin crew offers and discounts, like being able to bid on your schedule (once you gain seniority), preferred routes, and days off.
Becoming a flight attendant is a fantastic opportunity to improve your social skills since you are around hundreds of people per day with different preferences, needs, and personalities.
This means you constantly talk to others and attempt to provide top-notch customer service.
While you can end up having difficult, strange, or crazy situations, it helps you become a more well-rounded employee and individual.
You learn to be assertive when necessary, communicate effectively, and listen to others while keeping cool.
5. Get Paid to See the World
One of the most significant advantages of becoming a flight attendant is getting paid to travel worldwide.
Waking up in a different city or country daily is a fantastic experience few can enjoy.
Depending on your schedule and the airline, you could have a layover from one to three days.
If you’re flying on a short-haul flight, the stopover is limited, but you still have time to go sightseeing, to the beach, or explore local restaurants.
The best aspect of this is all expenses are included.
You have a meal allowance that covers food costs, and hotels are paid for within a reasonable price range.
6. Never be Bored
Compared to a standard office job, being a flight attendant ensures you are never bored since there’s no typical routine.
You will never have the same schedule, which is perfect for those who can’t sit still, and the thought of working from 9-5 in a cubicle drives them nuts!
On the other hand, if you thrive on routine, there may be better career choices than becoming a flight attendant.
7. Work as a Team
Flight attendants always work as a team on the same routes, which leads to long-lasting, genuine friendships where you enjoy activities outside of work.
In addition, many flight attendants share apartment rentals in base cities due to being on call or flying different schedules, which allows for saving money and not having a roommate who is always home.
Cons of Being a Flight Attendant
Do these pros sound good to you? Before filling out the application, understand the following cons as well!
1. Almost Always on Call
While this will only last throughout your entire career, you are almost always on-call in the beginning.
This could be for a day, a few months, or even several years, especially with U.S. airlines.
This means you are at the airline’s disposal, wondering where you’re going when you finish and what you must do.
This equates to having no control over your time or schedule.
When first entering the career, it’s essential to understand this is a requirement, and all flight attendants go through this phase.
As a result of being on-call, making plans with friends and family can be impossible.
2. Can Develop Bad Eating Habits
Constantly eating airplane food becomes dull and unhealthy.
Many flight attendants gain weight within their first year because of eating fast food in the airport or airplane food while traveling.
These are all processed foods with high fat and salt levels and a lack of vital nutrients.
Airplane food is prepared by large catering factories 12 to 72 hours before the flight, so it’s never fresh.
The food also has plenty of hydrogenated vegetable oils and preservatives to ensure it lasts.
It’s certainly possible to pack breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but this can be challenging when moving from city to city.
An additional side effect of constantly eating this food is bloatedness, which comes from the lower air pressure in the cabin.
3. Difficult to Have Relationships
Attempting to date while being a flight attendant can be a significant challenge.
Since you are often on-call, it’s difficult to plan anything because your schedule could change, or the airline may need you at a moment’s notice.
If you can get into a relationship, it can be difficult for your partner to understand that you will be gone consecutively for four or five days and only have a few days off between flights.
Being a flight attendant while having children is even more of a monumental task compared to a more routine desk job.
4. Low Entry Level Pay
While you get pay raises when progressing to the next level, your first year can be challenging emotionally and financially.
In addition to being on-call and not flying as much as more seasoned flight attendants, you will make a lot of money once you reach the next level.
It’s a no-win situation that every new flight attendant must prepare to experience.
The first year won’t be the glamorous Lifestyle of travel and hotels that you envision when you think of flight attendants.
The good news is if you can make it past the first few years, the financial and emotional situation improves as you advance in your career.
5. Often Miss Important Events
Given flight attendants’ schedules, you will be away from friends and family for lengthy periods.
As a result, you can miss important events like baby showers, bachelor parties, holidays, weddings, and birthdays.
While you can request this time off in advance, there’s no guarantee of receiving approvals, especially for major holidays when all airline employees want to take off.
Luckily, the longer you progress in your career, the more seniority you have, so taking major holidays off becomes easier.
6. Spend A Lot of Time Commuting
If the base airport you want isn’t available, you may need to move to another city or commute.
For instance, if you’re going to work at JFK or LaGuardia in New York City, but only Newark has availability, then you either need to move to New Jersey or commute from your apartment to the airport.
In major cities like New York, this can take a tremendous amount of time to get to work.
Layer in being on-call, and this can provide a significant amount of stress worrying whether you’re flying that day.
Like with any job, it’s your responsibility to be on time, regardless of where you live.
7. Will Regularly Be Tired
You will always be tired because of jetlag unless you’re on short-haul, regional flights.
Working in the air is considerably more tiring than working on the ground.
If flying as a passenger makes you incredibly tired, imagine working 12 hours per day in the same conditions.
Flying across multiple time zones without the luxury of sleeping in your bed is exhausting, and there are moments when you may not know where you are.
Pros and Cons of Being a Flight Attendant – Summary Table
|Pros of Being a Flight Attendant||Cons of Being a Flight Attendant|
|1. Can Live Wherever You Want||1. Almost Always on Call|
|2. Choose the Lifestyle you Want||2. Can Develop Bad Eating Habits|
|3. Extensive Flying Benefits||3. Difficult to Have Relationships|
|4. Gain Valuable Social and People Skills||4. Low Entry Level Pay|
|5. Get Paid to See the World||5. Often Miss Important Events|
|6. Never be Bored||6. Spend A Lot of Time Commuting|
|7. Work as a Team||7. Will Regularly Be Tired|
Should You Become a Flight Attendant?
You must ask a few questions: are you routine-oriented or fly by the seat of your pants?
Are you planning on dating or having a family anytime soon?
Can you deal with low pay for the first few years?
The first year or two is the most difficult for being a flight attendant, but if you can get through it, the pros outweigh the cons as you advance in your career.
Imagine the beautiful destinations you get to experience as a flight attendant.
Are you on board with this new career?