A recent AskReddit thread launched by u/Th3Flash provided us a breadth of information we never wanted to know after the Redditor posed the question, “Flight attendants, what are some things we as passengers don’t know when we fly? Also what are the negative aspects of your job?”
The answers quickly poured in as flight attendants and pilots shared their darkest secrets and stories. It is certainly one of those industries in which keeping certain things ~confidential~ is fully necessary towards maintaining a proper public face and a calm aircraft.
Here are 27 of the most appalling, surprising, and insane things you probably could’ve gone without knowing:
27. There’s a reason some planes still have ashtrays.
“Where are we flying over right now?” We never know.
Also, to open a bi-fold lavatory door, simply push in the middle. Where it says PUSH. One of the negative aspects of the job is when people yank off the ashtray thinking it’s a door handle and then ask WHY DO YOU EVEN HAVE THOSE STILL. It’s an FAA requirement, ashtrays need to be on every plane in case someone decides to fuck the rules and light up.
26. Something on the plane is broken:
Unless you’re extremely lucky and your aircraft just rolled out of the hangar after major maintenance, there will absolutely be something broken in it. An aircraft can have a whole host of parts be broken and still be allowed to fly, the broken parts just get labeled, recorded, and put on the to-do list for the next time it goes to maintenance.
25. The job can be lonely and inconsistent:
The worst part for me is not being able to have a schedule. I can’t reliably eat, work out, or sleep work with any consistency. It’s also pretty tough being away from home so often if you have anyone at home you want to see. Leaving my husband and dog alone all the time is tough for both me and him.
24. Don’t be a jerk:
Pretty much what happens at a lot of jobs. If you ask for something nicely I’ll usually give it to you, but if you demand it or if you’re a jerk…good luck getting anything free.
23. They are first and foremost trained in emergency situations:
98% of our training is for the 0.1% of our job that we hope to never use. I went to training for 6 weeks, and we spent 3 days on service. We’re trained to fight fires, treat medical emergencies, evacuate a plane in record time, and much more. Service is still a very important part of the job, as that’s what we do 99.9% of the time, but the majority of training goes into emergency situations
22. They are often working with strangers:
We generally don’t know each other before briefing. You’ll hear a ton of us calling eachother… “hey hun,” “hey darling,” “hey dude” — all of that is cause we don’t remember their name lol.
21. And as they don’t get paid during delays, they are just as upset as you:
We don’t get paid during the boarding process, delays or sit time in between flights, this is generally all airlines. We also don’t get paid for training except for maybe a few airlines.
If you’re flying and you see a crew member sitting in a passenger seat they’re most likely commuting into work or going home, please don’t bother them, as a commuter myself it’s like having a second job and is very exhausting.
20. There is a super fast way to get arrested on a plane:
The smoke detectors on the plane are hyper sensitive. When they’re triggered, it isn’t like a home smoke detector where it just makes a noise. All of these warning chimes and lights come on in the cockpit and tells us exactly which bathroom it is. When it happens the flight attendants also see exactly who is in the lav.
Last time it happened to me, it was a redeye flight from LAX to Houston and we were over the mountains. In a real fire emergency, the plane doesn’t even have 10 minutes to get on the ground. When this happens its about 15 seconds of pure adrenaline for the pilots because we know we have to do something but we have to wait for the confirmation that we have to do something. You want to talk about the quickest way to get the police to meet you at the gate, this is how.
19. It can wreak havoc on your physical self:
It’s very hard on your body. Sometimes after finishing a trip I’ll still be dehydrated or bloated a day or two after. It also causes a lot of skin problems because the air is so dry on the plane.
18. All of this:
If it’s a red eye and we are close to landing I might be hallucinating from lack of sleep. Not enough to be dangerous, just enough to see weird things.
Oh and when you ask us to change the temperature we pretend to do it. Planes are generally colder because if we hit turbulence warm temps will make the chances of someone puking much higher. No idea why.
If you curse in general it’s normally not a thing but the second you curse at me I can kick you off.
We have flex-restraints and are trained how to use them should you get disorderly.