What are the worst things about being an airline flight attendant?
Working for an airline has it's good and bad sides. The airlines is not as glamorous as many people have perceived for many years. Some of the negative sides of working for an airline are long reserve time, getting stuck non-revenue at an airport and low pay.
Becoming a flight attendant is like becoming a puppet for scheduling. When you first get hired, reserve schedule is the only type of schedule you can hold for months and sometimes even years depending on the airline. As a reserve flight attendant, and again this depends on the airline, you usually only have 10 days off a month with the chance of being dropped down to 9 days if they need you to work an extra day. Most reserve schedules are for 24 hours a day. So if you are on reserve for six days in a row, you are on call for 6 days in a row 24 hours a day. The schedule gets better through time, but only when the flight attendant start gaining seniority via company growth, or just movement on the seniority list from people leaving the industry.
Nonrevenue is one of the best, if not the best perks of being a flight attendant and working for an airline. Depending on the airline, travel perks can be anywhere from free and taxes only to a small fee of maybe $10 or $20 dollars each way. Not a bad deal except when the flights are full. Unfortunately revenue passengers like to travel during the holidays, the time when airline employees like using their travel benefits. This means getting stuck at an airport overnight for the non-revenue employee and companions. There are also days that employees like to travel, but unfortunately for the most part, unless you really pick the right place at the right time, those flights are full also and the airline employee either chooses not to travel, or gets stuck at an airport.
Travel benefits are great at the right time and the right place, but many flight attendants can't afford to really travel any where because they don't make that much money at work. So what's the use of a free flight benefit if you can't afford the trip once you get there. A lot of airlines start their pay for flight attendants at approx. $15 an hour. Sounds great but, that's not based on the regular 40 hour week, which is about 160 hours a month. A flight attendant's hours are based on a monthly guaranteed of about 70 to 75 hours a month, this is less than half of a regular 9-5 job. The 70 hours doesn't mean that flight attendants only work 70 hours a month, in fact many flight attendants work anywhere from 300-450 hours away from home. That's like working twice as much as a regular 9-5 job, but getting paid less.
Working for an airline is not all bad, it does have its perks like I mentioned, you just have to figure out if this job fits your overall lifestyle. Read more information about flight attendant benefits, scheduling and flight attendant salary by clicking on the links.