The 10 Most Annoying Things People Ask Me About My Job As A Flight Attendant
It’s human nature to be curious about someone else’s job, especially when that job is something that is so rare or has been the butt of so many jokes and even more stereotypes. That’s where I fall in. You see, I’m a flight attendant. So, naturally, I get asked questions about my job almost on a daily basis.
Some are pretty standard (how I get assigned to flights, have I met many famous people), but there are a few questions that I get asked over and over that they have now just become annoying. To give you an idea of what those are, here are 10 of the most annoying things I get asked about being a flight attendant.
1) So, Are You Never Home?
This is probably one of the most consistent questions I get asked. And, yes, it is almost always preceded by the word “so.” I guess this idea comes from the nature of the job. Though my job does revolve around travel, the fact is, I probably spend more time in my apartment lying on my couch than anyone who works an average 9-5 job. Over the course of a month, I average about 70-80 hours flying. So, no, I am home quite a bit.
2) What Is the Craziest Thing That Has Ever Happened on a Flight?
This is the one question that never has a good enough answer for anyone. When someone looks up at you with wide eyes, expecting a tale worthy of an action movie starring Liam Neeson, they aren’t too happy about the story of when a baby threw up on me. There is nothing I can say that will beat whatever someone has in their imagination; it’s a losing battle right from the beginning.
3) What Am I Supposed to Call You Guys Again?
I will never knock people down for trying to be as politically correct as possible, but in this case, I do not care. I have watched people struggle for minutes trying to find the appropriate title for my job.
Meanwhile, I have already lost interest in what they were trying to say. Too often, it ends with, “Can I call you an air hostess?,” or “You guys don’t like the word stewardess anymore right?” Actually, wrong, I absolutely do not care, and by making such a big fuss over it you have turned a normal conversation into an awkward moment I would like to flee from.
4) Is Your Job Like the Show Pan Am?
Yes, yes it is. In fact, I have to stop writing now as my helicopter just landed, waiting to take me to work. Back to reality for a second. It is absolutely not at all like that short-lived show. I can’t speak for the job of being a flight attendant 50 years ago, but today, it is nothing like that. We don’t work with the same people, having month-long layovers, and last time I checked, not many of us are secretly smuggling passports on behalf of the CIA.
5) Is It True About the Mile High Club?
When people ask me this question, my favorite part about it is the hushed tone in which they do so in an effort to get me to let them in on the big secret. Not to disappoint, but in my three years on the job, I have never seen a mile-high club encounter occur or heard from another attendant of seeing one happening (I apologize if this destroys anyone’s fantasies).
I’ve seen it referenced way more in movies then at work. And to be honest, if you saw those lavatories as well as I have seen them, especially after a long flight, I can’t imagine the mile-high club concept would appeal to many people at all.
6) Are There Any Straight Male Flight Attendants?
I am not really sure why this question is socially acceptable, but for some reason I get it a couple times a week. I have never had the urge to ask my friends who happen to be teachers, “Are there any gay male teachers at your school?”
That being said, yes, there are indeed many gay flight attendants, but there are also plenty of male straight flight attendants too. When people hear that, they always seem surprised, and believe it or not, some have even asked me for names, as if I was lying.
7) My Uncle’s Best Friend’s Daughter Is a Flight Attendant. Do You Know Her?
I think it’s really sweet that people tend to get excited when I tell them what I do. In fact, it’s flattering that most of them tell me that I am the first person they know that actually works as a flight attendant. However, there are tens of thousands of us around the world, working at many different airlines. So, chances are, I don’t know your uncle’s best friend’s daughter.
8) Do You Have a Boyfriend In Every City?
I suppose I should probably be slightly offended by this question, but it has been asked so many times, that it doesn’t have the same sting. No, I do not have a boyfriend in every city. I try to spend my time exploring the destinations I am fortunate enough to get to visit, and like most flight attendants, one of the main reasons I do this job is because I love to travel.
So, when I arrive in a new city, you’re more likely to find me, along with the rest of the tourists in town, at the local tourist spots taking pictures; not sitting at a bar waiting to get picked up by a man.
9) Did You Ever Want a Real Job?
Yes, this is a real question I get asked. I never knew that a job that offers a steady income, provides great benefits and requires you to work among a group of hard-working, dedicated co-workers would not classify as “real.” I’m tired, and frankly a little offended, of hearing this question, and I feel like it diminishes the thousands of us that genuinely love our work. It is just as real as any other profession, and most flight attendants I meet adore their work and would consider it as real a job as any other one out there.
10) Do You Want To Date a Pilot?
Here it is, the most asked question of all time. Yes, obviously, my life goal is in fact to reel in a pilot and make him date me. Then I will be set and all my dreams will have come true. This is the reason that I became a flight attendant after all.
No, of course not! There is nothing wrong with the men and women that fly our planes, but I am potentially as romantically interested in anyone else I may meet in general than the pilots that I work with. This is as offensive as asking a nurse if their sole reason for working in a hospital is to meet cute doctors. Sure, I do know a few flight attendants who are in relationships with pilots, but the majority I know are in normal, non-work-related relationships.
This may have sounded like I am angry/annoyed/generally displeased, but I promise you, I’m not. In fact, I have been known to ask my own annoying questions to people in other professions, such as asking a lawyer or two whether they have ever shouted in court, “You can’t handle the truth!”
We all do it, but next time you see a flight attendant, try asking them where to find the best hamburger in Hong Kong, or how the locals in Mexico shoot tequila. We are way more knowledgeable and interesting than what these 10 questions otherwise indicate.
[Stewardess Instructions by Zen Sutherland/Flickr; Photo by the author]
Ellie Geronikolos loves cupcakes and burritos. On a less important note she also can be found scribbling down her thoughts at Wanderlust and Lipstick and making travel videos for MISSADVENTURES. Occasionally she also pays her rent by working as a fight attendant somewhere in the world.
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