What does Flight Attending look like today?

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Depending also on the airline company, the annual leave of a flight attendant is 30 days and above, which is more than the annual leave of a 40-hour week desk job, sometimes even amounting to 16 days off per month with a good working schedule. But among all the perks of being a flight attendant, the biggest one is the free travel. Other than the generous salary, the main reason many apply for the position is to satiate their wanderlust.

Paris yesterday, London today, tomorrow, who knows? Another sweet deal a flight attendance experiences is being paid for traveling. Whether it be extra hours of a delayed flight in one country or an overnight pit stop in the next, flight attendants are still given compensation pay as part of the job description. Also, flight attendants are entitled to a travel card which entitles them and their loved ones free flights compliments of the airline they work for.  This also provides discounts in hotels, restaurants and shopping outlets in designated countries.  Most of the perks of being a flight attendant are usually experienced during travel.

The interaction that flight attendants have with passengers is crucial. After all, they are the face representing a company’s valued service. Passengers will rely on the cabin crew for safety and assistance during a stressful flight. Flight attendants are the “rocks” that reassure tense and frightened passengers during fraught situations. Most of the time, they act as the company’s customer care representative on flight, developing a rapport with passengers in need. At times, it is this connection that the cabin crew personnel finds most rewarding.

After a number of years working in the aviation industry, cabin crew members are promoted to a senior position which gives them priority with regards to work schedule and flight bookings. The seniority position also entitles them to extra vacation time, more flexible working hours and exclusive benefits. Take Emirates Airlines for example, the perks of being a flight attendant with the seniority title includes an educational support fund for their children and a provident fund for themselves. The company shoulders basic education expenses such as core tuition fees to financially aid senior staff members.

A provident fund or “end of service gratuity fund” is provided for senior employees leaving the company after their many years of working for the company. It is meant to help staff members with the establishment of a retirement fund and a life succeeding their job at the company. These privileges may grow with the increase of years of service to the company, another one of the many perks of being a flight attendant.

Although the mystique of travel and the charm of being a flight attendant is not what it used to be, the job occupation does have its benefits. One of the greatest perks of being a flight attendant is that you have instant family. With the numerous members of the crew, it never gets lonely travelling. Also, good companies will take care of their staff and provide them with lavish benefits to compensate for their time away from home. Every job will have its fair share of problems, but that’s just part and parcel of a dynamic workplace. And what better place to hold office than all around the world.

Lauren Porter is CEO of On The Go and chief writer at Flight Attendant’s Academy. She has over 10 years of flight attending experience and meets with other Chicago-based attendants on a monthly basis.

The Endless Perks of Flight Attending

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With airline companies consistently cost-cutting and budget-slashing to keep their prices affordable, it seems that the perks of being a flight attendant isn’t as glamorous as it had used to be. But before the cheaper rates and the overcrowding of excitable tourists, being a flight attendant had a luxurious appeal and a rich aviation history.

Not surprisingly, the occupation started out in the 1920s along with the beginnings of the airline industry. These flight attendants, called couriers, were the sons of the businessmen who owned the airline company who wanted to experience flight. It was only in the late 1930s that women were hired as flight stewardesses. The term was coined from “steward” which referred to the male helpers on board at the time.

At first, nurses were hired to fill the positions with the goal of aiding airsick passengers. They were paid low for long working hours and harassed by male passengers who lacked respect for women during that era. With the eruption of World War 2, the military employed female nurses which forced commercial airlines to employ regular women. The iconic flight attendant that oozed with sex appeal emerged during the 60s and the 70s.

Companies like Braniff and National Airways released provocative advertisements that gave their airlines a competitive edge.  They only hired young women in their twenties and released them after five years. The perks of being a flight attendant included mini skirts and tight-fit pants as their uniforms while being sex icons representing the aviation industry. Nowadays, the occupation of a flight attendant is not exclusive to any gender. Uniforms are more conservative, and disrespectful passengers can be filed with a lawsuit. The perks of being a flight attendant in this modern society include equality in gender and race in your job. The airline industry is one of the first to employ gay staff.

Being a flight attendant calls for more than just a pleasant demeanor. It requires one to think on their feet and improvise if needed. You can’t reason with an unruly child running on the aisle while the seatbelt sign is on. It demands a lot of patience and will stretch it to as far as it can go. Also, after the 9/11 terrorist attack, flight attendants are expected to actively defend the aircraft even without prior anti-terrorism training.

There are many downsides to the occupation including impatient passengers, an erratic work schedule, and turbulence, just to name a few.  However, the perks of being a flight attendant are pretty enticing, and depending on the airline company, it can be as glamorous as you’ve imagined it to be. It’s no wonder that in 2008, Emirates received over 93,079 flight attendant applications. But with careful screening and training, only six percent of this number are actually hired. Let’s take a look at Emirates Airlines.

They are reminiscent of commercial airlines during the 60s and 70s, hiring only young, attractive man and women from all around the globe. In turn, the perks of being a flight attendant in their company are endless. Crew members are paired up with each other and housed in luxury apartments with 24/7 security in Dubai, complimentary of the company. They are paid a fat paycheck every month including “overtime” which happens to be tax-free.