For safety and service
For people who like to help others and enjoy flying, a flight attendant is a varied and interesting profession. For young women, it is one of the most popular professions alongside doctor or designer, and has been since its beginnings.
The first flight attendants took off in as early as the 1930s, almost at the same time as civil aviation began. At the time, the main tasks were to calm anxious passengers or bring coffee to their seats. Over the years, however, the profession of flight attendant has become more and more broad-ranging and popular. The following article will tell you why it has such a special charm and what it entails.
A day in the life
The work as a flight attendant is often underestimated, because many passengers only see the service work during meals. But a flight attendant has a lot more tasks to accomplish than some people know. A day can start at 1:30 a.m. because aircraft often travel within different time zones. Before boarding the plane, each flight attendant is given a briefing in which he or she receives information about the passengers, because diabetics, wheelchair users or children require a special service. Emergency situations or new processes based on experiences from other flights must also be discussed.
The safety check is carried out on the aircraft before boarding, where, for example, oxygen masks, life jackets and doors are checked. Service for the passengers begins with the boarding. Families with children or sick people are usually welcomed and looked after before all other passengers, which also makes it easier for other passengers to board the aircraft. Other passengers might want to sit together and the flight attendant tries to find a solution. The second security check then takes place shortly before departure. While one half of the crew is doing the security checks, the other half must check that all passengers are strapped in and carry-on baggage is properly stowed.
Once the aircraft is in the air, preparations begin in the galleys for the food and drink service. On long-haul routes, duty-free goods are then offered for sale on board. The toilets must also be checked every 15 minutes.
Other crew members ensure that cups filled with juice and water are in sufficient supply because, when flying, you should drink a lot of non-alcoholic beverages. Some flight attendants look after the children and try to help out families with the care of their littlest ones or read aloud to them.
Sometimes passengers might not behave so well. Flight attendants have to overcome this hurdle with psychological skill and clear rules.
Even in medical emergencies, flight attendants must keep a cool head and act accordingly. It is therefore not so absurd that the first flight attendants from the 1920s were trained nurses. Heart attacks or circulatory collapse must be treated as quickly as possible, and a flight attendant must therefore undergo constant training to make sure that they can carry out important actions in emergencies without having to think.
For the passengers, the flight will soon be over and they can leave the plane after landing. For the flight attendants, the working day continues: Unaccompanied children must be accompanied from the aircraft to the terminal where they are met by ground staff. The aircraft must be searched for lost property and the cabin and load prepared for the next flight. The flight attendant’s daily schedule now also depends on the flight time: In the case of short-haul flights, they continue to fly with new passengers; in some cases, flight attendants also have to change planes under great time pressure, as the next aircraft with new passengers has to depart on time. On long-haul flights, they have a rest period of about one to two days before returning home. So, as you can imagine, this job very much has its ups and downs.