We may see plenty of flight attendants, but do we ever really know flight attendants? Maybe you chat one up while waiting for the lavatory or sit next to an off-duty one in an exit row. But rarely do we learn much about them: their habits, their fears, their aggravations, and their aspirations. So when a survey comes around that gives us an inside look at the minds of flight attendants, it’s pretty fascinating stuff.
The private jet charters at Stratos Jets recently got a bunch of FAs to answer their survey about everything from sex with passengers to watering down drinks to the fears they have while flying. And the results are eye-opening to anyone who flies. You can take a look at the results of the full survey here, but these were the 10 biggest takeaways from their confessions.
Flight attendants fear fire more than hijacking, crashing, and bombing.
Nearly 96 percent of the flight attendants surveyed cited onboard fire as a major fear while flying, more than any other situation. Which makes sense given its propensity to suck the oxygen out of the air and spread uncontrollably. Also, there aren’t exactly fire stations at 30,000 feet, so remember that next time you think you’re being slick by sneaking a lithium-ion battery in your suitcase.
About 85 percent feared hijacking, surprising since the US hasn’t seen a major one since 9/11. It was just ahead of bombing at 83 percent and crashes at 79 percent.
And don’t feel too bad when you grab your armrest a little tighter when the plane hits some rough air. Nearly half of all flight attendants said they were afraid of turbulence, too.
They also fear childbirth.
A full 58.6 percent said they were afraid of childbirth — though that might just be in general.
People change diapers on the plane. ALL. THE. TIME.
Most airplanes are equipped with changing tables in the lavatories, but apparently, some people still think the rest of the plane would enjoy the odor of an exposed baby diaper — and think that the flight attendant would be just honored to throw it away for them.
“The biggest surprise for me was that people changing baby diapers was [flight attendants’] biggest annoyance,” said Corie Colliton, the Stratos project manager who headed up the survey. “Like, are there really THAT many people doing it that it’s first on the list?”
Yes. Because people are horrible.
So horrible that 84 percent of FAs cited people changing diapers on tray tables as the most annoying passenger behavior, first among FA annoyances. Though it seems less annoying, and more like, “Are you even human?”
Standing up, stretching, and pressing the call button are also intolerable.
Though vaping on the plane was the second leading flight attendant annoyance (like fear of childbirth, this might be a comment on life), people who stand as soon as the plane lands was next with 71 percent finding it infuriating. The other 29 percent probably only work in First Class.
FAs also prefer that you not stretch in the galley (54.6 percent), which is essentially the flight attendants’ office. Think about how you would feel if people kept coming up next to your desk and doing toe raises every five minutes.
Pressing the call button was also cited as a major annoyance (56 percent). Flight attendants call this the “You’d better be dying button” because pressing it for anything other than a medical emergency feels like a high-tech way of ringing a little bell so they can get you more Biscoff cookies. Remember, they are there for your safety, not your convenience.
Your drink may well be watered down.
Flight attendants don’t get a cut of liquor sales as they do with food, but that doesn’t stop them from watering down your drink if they think you’ve had enough to drink, put your feet on the bulkhead, played music without headphones, or did pretty much anything else they didn’t like. About a third admitted to watering down drinks, and nearly two-thirds have refused to serve an overserved passenger.
They’re making fun of you.
You thought wearing that “Official Boob Inspector: Biloxi” tank top was clever, did you? So did the rest of the plane. So clever that while you’re enjoying your watered-down Tito’s and soda, the crew is fully talking shit about you in the galley. Just over 62 percent of flight attendants admitted to making fun of passengers to other crew members during a flight. Almost 12 percent made fun of them to their face.
Only a few admit to drinking on the job, but their colleagues think the number is higher.
Only one in 20 flight attendants admitted to being under the influence of drugs or alcohol on a flight, which still seems a little high. However, their co-workers seem to think it’s a lot more often than that as 26 percent said they saw colleagues attempting to drink or do drugs while working.
All the sex stuff you wanted to know.
Back in the “golden age” of flying, flight attendants got fired as soon as they got married. So yes, we’ve made progress, but the image of the young, single, unattached, and morally casual flight attendant still persists. And some have made the fantasy come true.
A quarter of FAs have had sex with a fellow crew member while not in flight while 12 percent have hooked up with a pilot. And though the odds of sleeping with a flight attendant are much better if you work in the skies, all is not lost: 15 percent said they’d met up with a passenger after a flight, and six percent had sex with them.
Best of all, a full four percent admitted to having sex with a passenger or co-worker during a flight. Now you know what goes on behind those curtained-off sections on long hauls.
A lot of people are trying to do it on planes.
Flight attendants are on to your whole sex-in-the-bathroom schtick. Just under half — 44.5 percent — have witnessed passengers trying to have sex in the lavatory. Of those, 2.5 percent had people invite them to join in. We assume all of those flights were in Florida.
Male flight attendants are sexually harassed MORE by coworkers.
Again, the image of the flight attendant has changed a lot since the old days when half-drunk businessmen could slap a stewardess’s backside and not face many repercussions. But if we’ve learned anything from this survey, it’s that people are horrible, and so these sorts of things still happen. Almost 57 percent of female flight attendants said they’d been sexually harassed by passengers. It’s not just the ladies, though; 43.2 percent of male flight attendants had also gotten unwanted sexual attention from passengers.
However, when it came to being harassed by coworkers, males found it far more common than females. Nearly 46 percent of male flight attendants reported being sexually harassed by a colleague while only 38 percent of women did. Stratos didn’t offer up an explanation as to why this might be, but it may well be the only occupation where it seems to be the case.