Flight Attendant Life,  For Travelers

Did you know Flight Attendants don’t get paid during boarding?

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My LEAST favorite part of my job is without a doubt, boarding the plane. Mostly because it’s the hardest part of the day and I’m not getting paid. Let me repeat that for those of you wearing headphones and not paying attention, FLIGHT ATTENDANTS DON’T GET PAID DURING BOARDING. Okay that’s a bit of lie, I’m making about $2 an hour at this point. Once boarding is over and the plane starts moving I start making the “big bucks.” 

Other reasons why boarding a plane is the worst: 

  • People have lost their common sense.
  • Some people have never flown before and have no clue what is going on or how to find their seat. Others who should know act like they don’t. 
  • Most people don’t get out what they need before boarding so they get on and stand in the aisle digging through their bag for headphones & a granola bar. 
boarding flight attendants
  • People overpack their suitcases coming back from a trip and they no longer fit in the bins or they assume that all Aircrafts bins are the same size. They’re not.
  • People in the aisle seat must assume nobody is sitting in the window or aisle and get all comfy with their headphones in, chillin on their laptop, all buckled in. I’m glad they’re ready to go. People overpack their suitcases coming back from a trip and they no longer fit in the bins or they assume that all Aircrafts bins are the same size. They’re not.
  • Most people think the bin exactly above their seat is theirs and if it’s full there is absolutely nowhere to put their bag. 
  • People ask questions that have nothing to do with boarding (Example: “Can you talk to me about my tight connection?” Me: “My goal right now is to get everyone on board so we can get going, if I talked to people about their connections now we would never leave and you wouldn’t have a connection to worry about. However if you sit down and ask me this question later we will probably get there early enough that you’ll have more than enough time to get to said connection.”) Moving on. 
  • People panic if they’re not sitting next to their friend or loved one or child. When I tell them that once boarding is complete I will see what seats are open and try to help them out they do not believe me and spend the entire boarding process asking everyone around them to move seats causing more chaos. Seating assignments are not my job, so if you have a huge issue please take care of it prior to boarding, at the gate. I will do my best to help but you have to remain calm. 
flight attendants

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flight attendants not paid boarding


  • Jackets and tiny bags are thrown into the overhead bins. Now there isn’t enough space for larger bags and we have to spend time moving things around or checking bags 
  • People ask if I can get them some water.
  • People ask if I can get them headphones. 
  • Communication between gate agents and flight attendants can be terrible. 
  • Gate agents stress the flight attendants out about closing the door on time.
  • We board every aircraft with the same amount of time. Certain aircrafts are confusing, longer, and have way more seats so they take longer than others to board.
  • Nobody used the bathroom in the airport so they’re all making their way up and down the aisles.
  • Also, the lavs are already trashed. 
  • Catering will show up last minute and restock us while we are boarding.
  • People bring on bags they cannot lift themselves and we aren’t technically supposed to lift.
  • Everyone wants to know how long the flight is or what time we will be there. My response: depends on how many more people ask me that question. 
  • People are concerned about upgrades that they didn’t get. Better luck next time buddy. 
  • Nobody knows if A is the window, even though it’s next to the little diagram with a window next to it and C is usually the one next to the little picture of me telling you that you’re not the window. ​
  • Everyone conveniently finished their coffees/sodas while walking down the jetbridge and need me to throw them away. 
  • First class passengers who order 2 pre-departure drinks when they also have already been given a water and know that I only have about 20 min to get all their drinks made and handed out, greet passengers, get bins closed, make sure passengers in exits have been briefed, communicate with crew/pilots/gate agents, make announcements, etc… 
  • People stow their bags and sit down but then ask us to get their bag down for them so they don’t have to get up again. 
  • People concerned about where their check bag is. At this point you’re on the plane so if it isn’t here you’re gonna have to go without it.  Fingers crossed.
  • Me: “Hello, welcome aboard how are you today?” Passenger: 😶 Me: “Great to hear.” 

So now we all know why boarding a plane is awful, not just for the flight attendants, but for all the passengers as well. Now if only we could get everyone to behave during boarding? Maybe an agreement they sign when entering the airport? A petition maybe? Well that’s a task for another day. Until then…check out this funny collection of all the random people I encounter as a flight attendant: Click Here

& just remember next time you’re flying that the flight attendants don’t get paid till boarding is complete, so save your questions for flight time 😉

Cheers,

-The Hoppy Flight Attendant

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7 Comments

  • Avatar

    Chelsea

    Hahah I actually had a good laugh at this! My sister in law is a flight attendant and says all of the above stuff as well! I commend all flighties because I certainly couldn’t do the job!
    I hate to admit it, sometimes I am the one asking for water before take off!! Haha

    • Avatar

      hoppyfa

      Yay I tried to make it funny but not sure how funny it would be to non flight attendants, glad you enjoyed it!

  • Avatar

    The Spicy Travel Girl

    Great post! Flying for the first time must be very confusing but the workload for flight attendants seems enormous! On my recent flight out of Pakistan, half of all passengers got up and rushed towards the door as the plane was still DESCENDING! Everyone wanted to be the first one to disembark and probably didn’t think of the ways they could get injured by getting up too early.

    • Avatar

      hoppyfa

      YIKES! I’ve only had one person try to do this at a time. That would freak me out if they all started getting up during descent! I honestly think people just forget they’re in the air moving.

  • Avatar

    Emma

    Some of these made me chuckle you’re right about common sense. All out the window the minute people try to board a plane. If posts like this make at least one person change their ways I’m sure it will make at least one flight attendants day. But fingers crossed it gets through to everyone!

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