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Flight Attendant

The Real Poop

We are about to begin our flight, so please buckle up. If at any point you decide you no longer wish to entertain thoughts of becoming a flight attendant, the exits are here…here…here….

Why would someone want to be a flight attendant? Well, for one thing, you’re always traveling. You get to see many exciting cities and places, even if you only fly over them or visit them fleetingly. Your office is the sky. You’re not chained to a desk (although you are trapped in a confined, pressurized metal tube thousands of feet in the air).

However, for most, the cons outweigh the pros. You’re not going to make much money. The work is tedious and repetitive, you work in a small, cramped space, and your odds of being in a plane crash are—while still small—much greater than that of the average bear. (Bears, incidentally, must pay an increased fare because of their exceptional girth.)

"I'm just big-boned."

Yes, flight attendants serve tea and coffee, and fetch pillows, but their main duty is to maintain and provide for the safety of a plane's passengers.

This responsibility is twofold. First, they are required to educate passengers prior to departure about what steps should be taken in the event of an emergency. Yep—that whole silly spiel they give when they wrap life vests around their torsos, demonstrate breathing into a small plastic cup, and point robot-like at each of the emergency exits. So performance skills may come into play here. At least those four years spent at Juilliard weren't all for naught.

This first duty also entails performing a safety check before passengers board, and then securing the cabin before the pilot is ready for take-off —i.e., looking to see that everyone's seat is in the upright position, everyone is buckled, no one has any live cheetahs sitting on their lap, etc. They assist anyone who has a problem cramming their oversized baggage into the overhead compartment, and in general keep an eye out for any unusual or suspicious goings-on. For example, if they notice that there are snakes on the plane.

Secondly, they must assist passengers in the event that something screwy does happen during the flight. Easier said than done. If a crisis should befall their aircraft, their first instinct might be to scramble for the nearest flotation device, wrench it from the grip of whatever poor sap underestimated their strength, and position themselves by the nearest exit. But they’d be a sorry excuse for a flight attendant. It is their job to make sure everyone remains calm and behaves appropriately should the plane experience engine failure or a gremlin should land on one of the wings.

If you see one of these on the wing, immediately alert your flight attendant.

They may also be called upon to deal with everything from in-flight medical situations to on-board births or deaths to hijackings. Not that they are necessarily expected to wrest the firearms from the terrorist’s hands themselves, but they will be trained on how to handle the situation should it arise. Ideally, they can distract the terrorist by asking him to perform the on-board birth.

If you are lacking a college education, don’t have a gripping fear of flying, think it might be nice to travel (constantly), and have a powerful aversion to making money, being a flight attendant might not be a bad gig for you. At the very least, you will certainly see the world, and you are bound to meet a wide variety of interesting people (almost all of whom have better careers than you do).