The (Not-So) Lonely Lives of Flight Attendants
Updated: Nov 12, 2019
The cabin is pressurized. The air is dry and stagnant. There’s very little space to breathe let alone get comfortable for a moment. You’re likely working alongside people you barely know, or you might even be working alone depending on the type of aircraft you find yourself on. At the end of this incredibly long day, you may end up in a slightly run-down airport hotel with just enough time to catch a few hours of sleep. But, on the other hand, you may end up in a luxurious hotel with a comfy bed (or two), endless hot water that you aren’t footing the bill for, and maybe even a beautiful beach nearby in some exotic destination. This is the life of a flight attendant. People often see crew members and say, “I’ve always wanted to do that. It seems so exciting.” Well, it definitely has its ups and downs, but is it lonely? Hardly. Whether it's a new coworker or passengers on the plane, we meet hundreds and hundreds of new people each and every day. While most people you encounter are strangers and continue on being strangers, some of the people you meet become friends, or in our case, husbands.
There have been a lot of articles circulating the internet lately about the lonely life of an airline crew member. Stories include being away from your family during the holidays, missing important events for loved ones, and struggling to maintain normal everyday relationships. While these articles contain a lot of truth, many flight attendants consider some of these "difficult" aspects to be some of the best parts of the job. Whether you had a long and busy day of flying, you have a lot going on at home, or even a spouse and kids to juggle, that down time on a layover by yourself can be an invaluable opportunity to recharge. Most people think it would be impossible to have kids and fly for a living. While that may be true, we certainly know a lot of incredible moms and dads that make it work. It can be be challenging, but I think any parents out there could agree that a night in a comfy hotel room away from a hectic household would be much-appreciated.
Imagine this scenario for a moment. You just finished an incredibly long day (or night) of flying. You walk into a nice hotel room and it smells fresh. The sheets are crisp, the towels are white and fluffy, and the balcony off your room overlooks the Eiffel Tower. You can relax, take a hot shower, explore the area, or do absolutely nothing and it doesn’t matter one bit. Sometimes we all need that downtime to refresh and rejuvenate. Escapism may not be the healthiest way to live your life, but we all crave a good getaway from time to time. Being a flight attendant allows you to do that guilt-free all while getting paid. This is, by far, one of the greatest perks of the job and definitely not a disadvantage for all of us.
As for anyone in a relationship or attempting to be in one, trust me when I say I know how it feels. You’re probably rolling your eyes while reading this because we are a happily married couple, but both of us previously struggled with relationships. If you’re dating, trying to build something meaningful when you’re constantly on the go can prove to be challenging, but far more worth it than doing so in a conventional way. In our case, we met while leading completely different lives and living hundreds of miles apart. Because of that, we had to put extra effort into seeing each other. Somehow, with a little bit of fate and a lot of hard work, we both knew that the other person was someone we wanted to spend more time with which made things a whole lot easier to work out in the long run. If you have to spend hours on a plane, drive countless miles, or spend all of your free time attempting to see someone – and actually enjoy doing it – then they might just be worth your while. The caveat, of course, is that you have to make sure the effort is reciprocated by the other person. Nobody wants to be caught up in an unrequited love situation. We've all been there.
For those of you already in a relationship, issues of trust and communication come to mind immediately since you most likely spend a great deal of time apart. If you and your significant other are the kind of people that can talk about anything and everything, and trust that the other is on their best behavior while on the road, then you’re golden. Plus, they say that absence makes the heart grow fonder. You might just enjoy missing your significant other a little bit every now and then. The constant struggle of dating and relationships may seem to be a disadvantage of the flight attendant lifestyle, but if anything, it proves to you that what you're doing is worth it and you have indeed found the right person. This same idea can be applied to your family and friends. Ultimately, the people that matter most will understand that you love what you do and they’ll work around it. If you’re lucky, they’ll go the extra mile to show you how important you are to them. Whether it’s driving to the airport in the middle of the night to see you or even moving a holiday around to accommodate your schedule, you’ll quickly learn who’s in it for the long haul.
Many people think of flight attendants as overworked and lonely, while others see vintage glamour and an exciting lifestyle. As with most things, being a flight attendant is what you make of it. Every job has its advantages and disadvantages. While some may let the loneliness of the fly life affect them, others thrive off of these little moments to appreciate what they have and all that life has to offer. Not every layover may be glamorous or exciting, but a little down time in the crazy lives that we have built for ourselves is often just what the doctor ordered.
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