On its face, flying around the world for a living, or even just within one’s country can sound pretty exciting. Most people would argue that it might be better than sitting at a desk full time. Flight attendants do get to travel around the country or the world, but it is always good to keep in mind that this is still a job, and like any profession, there are upsides and downsides to consider. Let’s fly through the pros and cons of being a flight attendant.
Pros of Being a Flight Attendant
● Travel/Flight Benefits. When working for an airline, you are likely to get some great benefits. If you do have to travel somewhere for leisure, you will get a deep discount on travel, at times to parts of the world where flights are generally costly. Some airlines go further and provide significant discounts to flight attendants for hotels, cruises, and car rentals. The benefits actually extend to family members most of the time, too, so you can take your family on vacation for significantly less of a cost of what you would pay otherwise. Most airlines also offer life insurance as a plus for the job.
● Flexibility. Depending on seniority, there is a lot of flexibility to the job. As a flight attendant, you can swap shifts, drop routes, and trade flights with others, resulting in potentially a long time off in between.
● Meeting New People. Flying all over the globe allows you to meet a lot of new people and interact with a variety of personalities from around the world.
Cons of Being a Flight ATtendant:
● Salaries. Where being a flight attendant gets excellent benefits, the wages leave a lot to be desired. Most entry-level positions start at about $10 per hour. The average salary is about $45,000 per year, but that is after 5-10 years in the job. The higher-end is in the low $70,000 range.
● Away from home a lot. This is a job that lets you travel a lot but also keeps you away from home. For people who have a home to take care of, pets and family members who need their attention, and loved ones to care for, this could be a very challenging career. This job means missing a lot of family events, being away from young kids for days at a time, and having to plan any time off around the demands of the job.
● Time Zone adjustments. Flight attendants have to get used to the jumping around of the time zones. Even flying from one side of the US to the other back and forth can throw one-off, but to do so almost daily could be especially taxing. If your regular routes involve flying to other parts of the world, the time zone offsets can be immensely challenging on mental and physical health.
● Almost always on call. Especially early in a flight attendant’s career, the employee is almost always on call, and people expect to have to swap routes with a more senior member on very short notice. This makes it very challenging to keep any plans and commitments and leaves little time for anything else. This could result in having to reschedule doctor or dentist appointments as well, as you are expected on a flight rather suddenly.
● Threats. Over the last two decades, the looming and present danger of terrorism makes this job even more anxiety-inducing. Even dealing with unruly passengers, mid-flight can be stressful, or a health-related event on board. These issues only compound the other pressures which come along with this job.