What Does A Flight Attendant Do?

"I have always dreamed of traveling to new places and I figured a career as a flight stewardess would give me the chance to do so for free. I’ve only traveled by plane once in my life so I’m afraid my exposure to the work of flight attendants is quite limited. As far as I can remember, the flight stewardess only served us drinks on that trip. Is that all that they do? What does a flight attendant do?"

asked by Joni M. from South Bend, Indiana

Serving passengers in-flight drinks and meals is not the only role of flight attendants, although it is one of the most visible aspects of their job. They do a lot of other things to ensure that the passengers of the airline are not only comfortable but safe as well.

Before the aircraft even takes off, the work of flight attendants already begins. They need to be present at a preflight briefing to make sure that they are knowledgeable of the flight details. In this meeting, the pilot will provide them with information on evacuation procedures, weather conditions and flight duration. If there are special concerns and instructions about the flight, these are also given at this time.

Flight attendants also see to it that the supply of food and refreshments for the flight are sufficient. It is also their duty to ensure that the emergency equipment on board the plane is in good condition. They are also responsible for keeping the cabin clean for the passengers.

When passengers start boarding the plane, the role of flight attendants switches to that of customer service. They greet passengers and point them to their seats. If there are disabled passengers that need assistance, they provide this as well. Before the flight, they also show passengers how to fasten seatbelts, use safety equipment and follow emergency procedures in the event that the plane encounters trouble sometime in the flight. They then check that all passengers follow all federal and company regulations by making sure that everyone has fastened their seatbelts and all seats are locked upright. It is also their responsibility to see that all carry-on luggages are properly stowed.

While the plane is in transit, flight attendants then serve the meals and refreshments. In some flights, the food is sold so flight attendants are also tasked with selling these goodies. They also maintain calm in the aircraft during a rough and bumpy flight by reassuring passengers when the plane hits an air pocket and experience turbulence. In the event that someone gets injured during the flight, they provide first aid or organize first aid efforts, such as by asking if there is a doctor or an experienced first-aider on board.

The most difficult part of the work of a flight attendant is when an emergency occurs while the plane is in the sky. Treating injured passengers is just one of these, dealing with rowdy or unruly passengers is another. Terrorist hijacking of the plane is also a possibility. But the most dangerous part is when technical issues beset the plane that an emergency landing becomes a real possibility. They have to exhibit quick thinking to ensure that everyone follows directions even as they take into consideration their own safety as well. While all too real, these incidents are thankfully rare.

Before the plane reaches its final destination, they repeat the same procedures before the plane took off by checking that all passengers have their seatbelts on, seats are locked upright and carry-on baggage are correctly stowed. Their job does not also end when the plane lands as they will have to inventory the headsets and supplies. They also provide reports to the company office detailing the cabin’s condition and medical issues that happened during the flight.

Career Spotlight: Flight Attendant

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