Being a flight attendant involves an ext than jet-setting anywhere the world. If you’re usually guaranteed to fly everywhere for free, the project doesn’t come without sacrifices, especially throughout COVID-19. Coming to be a flight attendant takes many prep work—as in main of unpaid training—and is likely putting you in ~ a much greater risk of contracting the coronavirus on optimal of that.

Additionally, you’ll have to work lot of flights per day while gaining by top top a usually paycheck (which might take a dip due to the lack of travel right now). And your beginning hours aren’t specifically desirable, therefore prepare to (temporarily) kiss those weekend plans goodbye. Luckily, if you stick around long enough to climb up the ranks, you can just uncover that your schedule and salary obtain much more manageable.

If you’re still set on paris the familiar skies, especially once society distancing constraints start come lift, watch no further. speak to real-life flight attendants Kat, Maeve, Lauren*, and Rita to uncover out what girlfriend really should know before spreading her wings throughout a an international pandemic.

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1. You must wear an N-95 mask and gloves all the time on the airline, and also there may not always be enough.

“Masks room mandatory top top board, and also flight attendants and passengers should wear them,” states Maeve, a trip attendant based in Dublin, Ireland. Her airline was much more than stocked on gloves and antiviral wipes come clean any surfaces prior to the crew touch them, however other airlines have actually been to run low top top PPE since the start of the pandemic.

Lauren, a flight attendant based in ft Lauderdale, Florida, mentions that plenty of other crew members take it a web page out of the supermarket toilet paper hoarders’ book and panic-stockpiled every the masks, gloves, and hand sanitizers indigenous the crew base where they check in before the flights. Several of her coworkers purchase their very own supplies to feel safer, especially due to the fact that they had actually to reuse N95 masks because that weeks at a time. “I started to ar a fabric cover on optimal of the N95 to protect it and maximize the size of time I can use it, together I didn’t know when ns would have the ability to get one more one,” Lauren says.


2. Passengers might not it is in 100 percent honest about where they’ve been traveling and also what your symptoms are.

Most passengers have actually been very cautious around protecting themselves and also others when flying during the pandemic, but others might shot to mask (literally) symptom of COVID-19 or it is in shady about where they’ve been and also with who they’ve come right into contact.

The flight attendants will check to make certain passengers are healthy when lock board, however it’s sometimes tough to call who’s gift overly cautious and also who’s hiding something. Lauren states one passenger traveled without understanding they to be COVID-19 positive. ~ that, Lauren was educated to self-quarantine for 14 days. “My colleague i was working with that day contract COVID-19, however I was happy in that ns never gained sick,” she says. 3. You need to reinforce society distancing top top flights to keep passengers safe.

Maeve states her airline has been adhering to social distancing indict by slowing under the boarding process and enabling only five passengers to board at a time. ~ above the flights she’s been working on, the airline has actually left the center seat north to make sure passengers aren’t seated too close together. Lauren’s flights have likewise not to be booked to complete capacity. However, passengers have tendency to reseat themselves wherever lock prefer due to the fact that of the reality that the trip is half empty, and the flight attendants often have to ask lock to return to their initial assigned seat so they can all be socially distant.

4. If you contract COVID-19, you can get stuck in a hotel wherever you space for a long time.

Lauren’s partner who acquired sick from the passenger who was unknowingly COVID-19 positive had to quarantine in a hotel room because that 14 days, having all her meals and also medications delivered to her door. Then she had to remain in the hotel for one more two weeks come make sure she was cleared of the virus and also all the symptoms before returning home. “Luckily, her symptoms passed quickly and also didn’t need her to go to the hospital, yet it’s a scary thing to be away from residence while sick v COVID-19,” Lauren says.

5. Because air take trip is down, layoffs are certainly happening.

“We are very lucky to have been payment pretty much in full since the beginning of the pandemic, yet we have seen a lot of airlines experience with thousands of project cuts,” states Maeve. Lauren to be still functioning at the start of the pandemic, greatly return flights to get civilization who had actually been traveling back home, yet many of her flights to be canceled because so couple of people to be traveling to start with. Unfortunately, she was laid off from a significant airline in early June.

With leisure travel still minimal and many passengers too involved to fly, it can not get any easier for trip attendants in the near future. “I wish i knew exactly how something that appeared so tiny six or 7 months back would turn the aviation human being upside down. It alters the means we will carry out our project daily and also is a reminder the anything can adjust in the aviation sector overnight,” Maeve adds.

6. You obtain paid only for the moment you spend in flight. friend know how it take away a gazillion hours to obtain through security, board the plane, cram her luggage into the overhead compartments, sit with the security instructions, and taxi on the runway prior to your plane finally takes off? flight attendants don’t make a dime during any type of of that. They likewise don’t get paid throughout layovers or when flights get delayed—so if you’re agonizing around having come wait, flight attendants space too. They’re paid hourly based on actual paris time. The clock starts once the cabin doors room closed and also ends as quickly as they’re opened. That way you can work a 10-hour day but only gain paid—Rita, a trip attendant based in Los Angeles, renders $27 one hour—for six.

7. Mainly of training space required prior to getting your wings. Kat, a trip attendant based in brand-new York City, recalls training for five weeks after being hired together a flight attendant. However, some programs, choose United’s, call for seven main of training. The programs are safety focused, an interpretation you’ll learn things like CPR, the Heimlich maneuver, and, most importantly, exactly how to evacuate an aircraft. When training is commonly unpaid, most airlines offer complimentary lodging v some meals or a stipend provided.

8. People will act you choose a glorified waitress, yet you’re in reality an plane expert. Rolling the beverage cart up and also down the aisle is the easy component of the job. Many of what trip attendants find out in maintain is regarded safety, not service. You need separate qualifications for every solitary aircraft you’re going to be functioning on, which way understanding the insides of the planes and also exactly just how they operate. You need to memorize seating charts, understand where every the emergency devices is stored, learn how to operate all the doors, and pass both composed tests about the technicalities and physical drills inside models that the airplanes. Sure, flight attendants can likewise make a mean Bloody mar from crate tomato juice, however if shit were to struggle the fan, the most vital thing is knowing how to gain everyone out of the airplane safely.

9. Seniority is everything. Your rank together a flight attendant identify what your functioning schedule will be like. The much longer you’ve worked for an airline, the pickier you have the right to be about your shifts. As a newbie, you’re intended to take it trips that are less than desirable. Once you’re starting out, working on weekends is par because that the course. The trips that you’re booked on could last days and require many flights every day. Once you pay your dues, you have much more say in her schedule—and you’re much more likely to have your choose of trips.

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10. Your hours deserve to be insanely flexible, but there’s a catch. Every various other month, Rita alternates in between a set schedule and an on-call schedule, which means you have to be near the airport and also ready to head into work on short notification if you’re dubbed in. Flight attendants have actually the ability to drop trips, pick up various other people’s trips, and also move schedules about a lot, which way they can offer themselves time turn off or work-related more. The course, there’s a trade-off. During on-call months, you’re guarantee to be paid for 75 hours, even if it is you’re working or not, but that’s a really tiny paycheck. Flight attendants also get paid a every diem rate as soon as they fly, which covers meals and travel incidentals, so you shed that chunk the money if you’re no working. Even though you might take turn off a ton that time, most flight attendants pick up extra trips come make enough money to gain by. The only exception to the schedule versatility is, that course, the holidays.

11. Don’t arrangement to spend the holidays at home, ever. Unless you’ve been working as a flight attendant for a decade and also have seniority, you will certainly be working on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and brand-new Year’s, guaranteed. Winter holidays are specifically tough, because you’re an ext likely to have weather delays: if the passengers space pissed off around wanting to obtain home come be with their families, flight attendants room pissed off around being grounding on the aircraft during the holiday! “I’ve learned come work about it because that Christmas—we have the right to have a large Christmas celebration on the 23rd and it’s not a substantial deal—but it’s trickier because that holidays choose Halloween or the 4th of July,” claims Rita. “It’s not choose you deserve to take your children trick-or-treating top top the 30th, and you won’t view fireworks top top July 3rd.”