Written by F/A Ariejane Tolentino
Actually, I was one of them. I wanted to walk to the history, discover new coffee shops, try different pastas, collect fridge magnets, learn the greetings of other languages, taste McDonald’s in different countries, own Starbucks mugs of all other cities and take home hotel slippers.
I am paid to see the world, WOW!
Behind all those perks and fringe benefits, behind those smiles and glamorous uniforms, what is a Flight Attendant?
Oh well that’s a huge question. Let’s start with physical. What effects does flying have on the body? The body tends to get drained, bloated, shortened of exygen, etc. but FA’s should still be smiling all the time. They should be able to attend all calls, needs and wants of the passengers even if they don’t feel great.
They look fabulous with all make up on but yes they clean the lavatories! Toilet bowls, poops, pee, vomit, wet napkins, trashes!
On the other, they can be baby sitters, care givers, nurses, emotional supports, chefs, bartenders, waitresses, janitress, porters, policemen, first aiders, they can be everything!
They sometimes fly 18hrs and only having less than 8hrs rest because they have to unpack and pack, put make up on and do their hair.
It is exhausting that they forget their room number and worse, they don’t know which country they wake up to! Sometimes out of nowhere they just snap and say “Oh I forgot to give a glass of water to 3B” realizing after 24hrs.
Try to do a bag raid and you’ll see hotel pens, medicine kit, lip balm and a handcream inside! They are ready all the time.
How about emotionally?
Don’t get surprised if they can do almost everything alone! Watching movies at the theater house alone, coffee alone, drinking alone, night out alone, Disneyland alone, vacation alone, roadtrip alone, beach alone! Always alone! But mind you, they love that! After having this job they are likely to be introverts and crowd haters. They avoid groups as much as they can because their time is valuable and they just want their thing to get done.
They are resilient. My mom once got severely sick, she suffered from cancer. There were times that I can’t help myself cry, but no! I have to hold it! I can’t show everyone that! And so my favorite hiding place..the lavatory, I cry everything out while wiping the toilet bowls and making it clean and dry!
Oh, some passengers just shout on your face because they want to! You feed them, make them comfortable, give them drinks, and snacks but they still shout on your face just because they want to because "they own you, they bought you", that’s how they think. Like a sponge, you just absorb everything then squeeze it all off when you get home.
I once dreamed being a Flight Attendant and then the reality slapped me, right and left! After that, I still love to be a Flight Attendant. It will always be in my heart. Once a Flight Attendant will always be a Flight Attendant.
Now is my last day of vacation. Welcome back to my New Old Nine to Five!