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Flight Attendant: Dangerous Job?  
User currently offlineRapo From United States of America, joined Sep 1999, 395 posts, RR: 0
Posted (14 years 11 months 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 9977 times:

A close friend of my wife's is a flight attendant at AA. A few weeks back, she was working on a flight where they experienced severe turbulence (she usually works on MD-80's or F-100's). At the time of the turbulence, they were serving drinks using a cart. According to her, they didn't know what hit them. Aparently, they hit clear air turbulence which caused the aircraft to plunge suddenly. She was thrown to the ceiling and came down hard on the armrest of one of the seats injuring her back. I guess another flight attendant sustained a nasty head injury.

I guess air rage isn't the only danger that flight attendants have to deak with.

Any similar stories?


29 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
User currently offlineBraniff727 From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 686 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (14 years 11 months 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 9871 times:

My boyfriend was telling me they had some pretty rough cat on a flight about a month back. He an another FA were doing the bev service and they hit it, not as bad as your example, but bad enough that the flight deck announcement was "Everybody sit down and belt up!"

They just sat down in the aisles and held on the the legs of the seats.

Aside from that there are a lot of physical dangers. He comes home with all kinds of battle wounds, bruises from rude passenger pushing their way around, burns from galley ovens, sore back from lifting bags and reacher overheads on larger aircraft.

User currently offlineSkyhawk From United States of America, joined May 2001, 1066 posts, RR: 3
Reply 2, posted (14 years 11 months 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 9842 times:

Hi Rapo. Over the yearas that I flew, I got hurt more times than I can count. A broken left thumb crossing from MSY-FLL, serving coffee in economy like your example was told to "Sit down". Before I got back to the galley, all hell broke loose. I held onto the coffee pot, but the coffee went everywhere, as did the creamers and sugars. I went up hard and came down in a passenger's lap. He had the good sense to wrap his arms around me and hold on. In the front galley of a 727 we used to have a bar to hold onto, anyway it got really bad and I was holding on the bar but went up to the ceiling and bruised the bottom of my forearm. My roommate at the time flew for Delta and they were going from MSY-MIA(727-235). They hit severe downdrafts she was able to get to the jumpseat at the rear of the plane and got her shoulder harness on, but the guy working with her in the back didn't quite make it, he hit the ceiling came down, hit the ceiling again and was thrown over the seats right by the back galley and onto the people in the last row. They held him, but we found out later that he had broken his collarbone and dislocated his shoulder. Many more over the 22 years I flew, but these are the first that came to mind.

User currently offlineVgnAtl747 From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 1536 posts, RR: 2
Reply 3, posted (14 years 11 months 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 9797 times:

It seems like it would be a hard job, but not really a dangerous job- unless you're getting hijacked.

Work Hard. Fly Right. Continental Airlines
User currently offlineJetlover50 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (14 years 11 months 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 9785 times:

hey i would like to talk to you please e-mail me @ sweetnessb80@hotmail.com Thanks

User currently offlineMatt D From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 9502 posts, RR: 43
Reply 5, posted (14 years 11 months 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 9786 times:

I'm sure that F/A's would LOVE to have their job be something like this:

They do their preflight safety lecture.

Then they bolt themselves in their seats for the rest of the flight.

That's it.

They get paid good money to demonstrate a belt buckle and a mask and do funny arm gestures and see the world (or wherever their airline flies to).

I'm always amazed at how many people defend the elimination of beverage and meal cart service because an F/A's job is to, and I quote "be there for your safety".

C'mon folks...let's be serious. They are too lazy or high strung to want to serve food and drink. And I'm willing to bet that most, if not all of the F/A's out there that DO serve meals and drinks only do so becase it's a job requisite, not because they actually want to.

Given the number of F/A's out there, and the number of planes, I'd bet my scrotum that more than 99% of all Flight Attendents out there today will go through their entire careers, and not once be in a situation (such as a crash or runway overshoot) where their highly skilled and classified "safety procedures training" will actually be needed.

Bring back the PSA and Southwest Hot Pants serving 1960's TWA meals of bacon wrapped filets and a baked potato!!!

I'd pay extra for that!

User currently offlineRootsboy From Canada, joined Feb 2001, 111 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (14 years 11 months 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 9757 times:

Matt D, you have balls. :-{

I'm not even going to go there. But, I would love to see the look on your face if you are ever in a crash and a Flight Attendant saved your life.

You know why I think your so negative about F/A's, you probably didn't get your special meal on your last flight.

User currently offlineMatt D From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 9502 posts, RR: 43
Reply 7, posted (14 years 11 months 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 9754 times:

I'll take my chances.

User currently offlineBHopsde From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (14 years 11 months 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 9747 times:

Other than meet and greet and serving, there isn't much else to the job. Like I've said before, should a major emergency occur, human instinct takes over. I've had some bad turbulence, clear-air, and near bad weather...it's a big object flying through free-air...it's a part of the package, what should one expect?! Yes, it has been scary sometimes, but you've to just get over it. Strange, but most of my heavy turbulence experiences have been over the U.S.! Especially once over Oklahoma en route to DFW! Carts and service items flew all over and passengers were screaming.
I said in another topic, it doesn't take a lot of intellect to do the f/a job. It's true. But if you complain about f/a's not wanting to work, well, who the hell would work if they could get paid for doing much less or nothing at all?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Also, ehrlich leuts!

User currently offlineAirnewzealand From New Zealand, joined Oct 2000, 2549 posts, RR: 6
Reply 9, posted (14 years 11 months 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 9716 times:

I think some aspects of a Flight Attenasants job are dangerous, but others aern't. Many jobs have dangers to them, like being a Steward on a Commercial boat.

I would love to be a Flight Attendant whe i am older..i am going to be an actual fact, weather i am turned down 5-10 times, i am still gonna persue my dream!!


User currently offlineRapo From United States of America, joined Sep 1999, 395 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (14 years 11 months 1 day ago) and read 9712 times:


Contrary to what you think, my wife's injured friend actually loves her job, including the part about dealing with the public, being on her feet for hours on end & dealing with high minded passengers who like their filet mignon wrapped in bacon. Granted, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to be a flight attendant, but don't underestimate the amount of work they put in every day trying to keep passengers fed, comfortable & yes.........safe.

BTW, I'm told that the head injury to the other flight attendant was a career ender (possible blood clot in the brain). My wife's friend's future in flying is also in question.


Jetlover50: what's up?

User currently offlineCAETravlr From United States of America, joined Oct 2000, 922 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (14 years 11 months 23 hours ago) and read 9710 times:


Thanks for the incredible display of ignorance in your post.

I know for a fact that there are flight attendants out there, who actually enjoy interacting with people. There are F/As who would rather not have to interact with anyone, however, they are in the wrong business. I hear other F/As complain about them. My fiance is an F/A and she loves it, and loves to interact with people. So, that means that your widespread generalization is way off. I know many others who are the same way.


I hope to God I am never on one of your flights in an emergency situation. Does Lufthansa not require recurrent training? Yes, in day to day flight operations you should never need it. However, there is a reason for it. It is so that someone on the plane (you guys) knows how to keep a level head, and instruct those of us who only have human instinct to rely on. My fiance was on a flight out of JFK, bound for either AMS or LHR, I don't remember, when the 767 went through a series of compressor stalls. That means that the whole plane was shaking, and fire was coming out of the engine. It was the training of the cabin crew that maintained order on the aircraft, while the level headedness of the pilot got them back on the ground safely. Actually if they had gone strictly by procedure, they would have flown straight into the World Trade Center, so they immediately turned. The Cabin Crew on that flight was rewarded for their level headedness and response to their training. If human instinct is what you rely on, I hope you are in the minority.


A woman drove me to drink and I didn't have the decency to thank her. - W.C. Fields
User currently offlineRapo From United States of America, joined Sep 1999, 395 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (14 years 11 months 23 hours ago) and read 9696 times:


Well put.

Welcome to my Respected Users list.


User currently offlineBraniff727 From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 686 posts, RR: 1
Reply 13, posted (14 years 11 months 21 hours ago) and read 9683 times:


The reason FA's don't like serving people is because of people with your attitude.

Most FA's in the US qualify for FOOD STAMPS the first 3-4 years of flying!

So, let me see your attitude making barely liveable wages, serving beverages and meals to 120 people (most of whom are completely ingrateful) 3 to 6 times in a day. Perhaps you too might become bitter.

While it is true that this doesn't require a lot of skill, it is a thankless job.

Yeah you can travel the world, but ya can't afford to eat.

User currently offlineCAETravlr From United States of America, joined Oct 2000, 922 posts, RR: 1
Reply 14, posted (14 years 11 months 21 hours ago) and read 9680 times:

Thanks Rapo! I appreciate that. There are many dangers in every day air travel, and the F/As work hard to maintain order as well as comfort in the cabin.

The only Worker's comp claim that my fiance has had that I can think of off hand actually happened on the pickup van taking them from the hotel to the airport in London. Someone pulled out in front of them, and the driver slammed on the brakes, and she hit the front window pretty hard. She was ok, but was out of work for a week with some internal bruising on her arm. So, the dangers are not just in the air!

A woman drove me to drink and I didn't have the decency to thank her. - W.C. Fields
User currently offlineSkyhawk From United States of America, joined May 2001, 1066 posts, RR: 3
Reply 15, posted (14 years 11 months 20 hours ago) and read 9670 times:

I for am highly insulted that someone would have the audacity to group the entire staffing of Flight Attendants from around the world and say that we are ALL lazy and have no interest in passengers other than getting them from point A to point B. Matt D, you may be right in one point only in that there are certainly some FA's out there that surely should not be in the job. Some of them are surly and rather uncooperative about everything. But the truth be told the majority of people in the service today and in the past is that they are there simply because they like people. Yes, of course it is a very good paying job, but in the end it is a JOB. We do get to travel, yes, but when we get to our layover, most of the time all we do is go to sleep. Unlike the pax, who get to sleep on the airplane, we usually don't get any sleep and are up all night. Then sometimes we get to our hotel, try to sleep but the housekeeping staff or other guests get noisy in the halls so we can't rest then. Talk about jet lag!
BHopside, the same for you. Why do you dislike F/A's?
As a retired Flight Attendant the two of you have insulted me and every other person who has ever been blessed to have that job. I loved it!!! The only reason I retired(in answer to your unspoken question) was that Pan Am went out of business and I chose to raise my son through his teenage years rather than go with Delta as many of my colleagues did.
Airnewzealand - Pursue your chosen career! It does have its' difficult days(but then what job doesn't), but overall, it really is fantastic. I hope that you stick with your desires, as you said even if you get turned down more than once. By the way, a friend of mine told me once that every six months they(the airline) empty all their files of applications. So if you want a specific carrier, then keep trying them over and over. You just may hit them on the day that they are hiring! Good luck to you.

User currently offlineGreg From United Kingdom, joined May 2005, 0 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (14 years 11 months 19 hours ago) and read 9664 times:

I agree with Matt D. F/A are just waitresses in the sky. In the event of a 'real' emergency...I'll take my chances with my judgement..not theirs.

User currently offlineCAETravlr From United States of America, joined Oct 2000, 922 posts, RR: 1
Reply 17, posted (14 years 11 months 18 hours ago) and read 9645 times:


Are you just trying to see how many people you can upset, or are you just as ignorant as Matt? According to your profile, you are an attorney. Now, from my understanding, passing the bar exam requires some amount of intelligence. Either that, or you are one of those ambulance chaser attorneys that advertises on Fox between 4 -6 pm, with everyone saying how you got them their check after a car accident that was their fault anyway, and that is all that matters.

When you have been through F/As training courses, and experienced an emergency situation with them, then maybe you can comment. Until then, stick to chasing ambulances.


A woman drove me to drink and I didn't have the decency to thank her. - W.C. Fields
User currently offlineTravatl From United States of America, joined Mar 2001, 2177 posts, RR: 6
Reply 18, posted (14 years 11 months 16 hours ago) and read 9635 times:

OK OK OK....I've been a F/A for six years...before that I worked on the ground (i.e. ramp, fueling, cust service)...and I have to say this is the EASIEST job I've ever had.

And unfortunately, as much as we all want to hate him for saying it, Matt D. has some valid points....no...I dont' WANT to serve drinks and meals...but I'm very good with people and I enjoy being around the passengers. I don't kid myself by saying "I'm only here to save your ass, not kiss it."....although that was certainly part of my demeanor at one point.

Being a F/A is 20% policy and procedural knowledge and application and 80% COMMON SENSE. I'm not one of those "must establish my superiority over the passengers by demeaning them" F/As. (I'm 6'3", I can be intimidating without trying) It's an easy job, it pays well, and you can't beat the days off.....Don't get me wrong....it can be LONG days dealing with hundreds of people (and we all know how the general public acts these days, especially with regard to airline industry)....but in reality, it's an easy, safe, job with lots of days off.

Don't get me wrong, I take the job seriously....but not SO seriously that I forget that in reality, I am there to SERVE the passengers. Yeah...I hope I never have to save a passenger's life. Not because I dont' want to, but because I don't want to EVER be in that situation. BUT...i do have the knowledge and training to do so in a heartbeat.

Yeah, we get paid well, but why not? It's long days away from one's family...and if they didn't pay well...you'd have a bunch of half-wits on board (90% of F/As have college educations). Ok, Matt and Greg, you're right in some respects...just don't be so damn judgemental and dismissive in your statements.

Just my two cents.

Party on and fly.

User currently offlineLMML 14/32 From Malta, joined Jan 2001, 2566 posts, RR: 6
Reply 19, posted (14 years 11 months 16 hours ago) and read 9629 times:

>Matt D: You will certainly make a challenging pap on my flight. Remember, we are THE PROFESSIONAL PEOPLE HANDLERS. I dare you to make those stupid comments in a galley surrounded by a the whole crew on your flight. I guarantee you will wish you had taken a boat.

>Greg: Oh yes. Hello again wise guy. So you will take YOUR CHANCES WITH YOUR JUDGEMENT in an emergency. What judgement is that? I bet you will not even remember to unfasten your seatbelt before getting out. Well now you know. This might some day save your life.

>Skyhawk: You seem like you really loved your job in your time. Like I do now.

User currently offlineJetlover50 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (14 years 11 months 10 hours ago) and read 9616 times:

Yo matt why would you diss a fa. They get paid because they graduate out of a 5 and a half training school. They have to work hard sometimes more than 10 hours a day every day in this school swiming with bodies arming and disarming doors. I was just on a twa flight when i was helping the fa with some stuff she was telling me that about a week out of that whole course is about service. They are trained for things that have never took place before but there is a chance it might. So next time you look at those wings you should have a lot of respect for them. Because you think when you get on a plane that it wont crash. Well i wonder what the people on flight 800 thought. I think you would have some more respect when one of them saved your ass.

User currently offlineSkyhawk From United States of America, joined May 2001, 1066 posts, RR: 3
Reply 21, posted (14 years 11 months 9 hours ago) and read 9614 times:

First of all I am not putting down anybody that waits tables for a living(I've had to do it too and it ain't easy!), but Greg and Matt D. the next time you are in trouble on an airplane and you have to possibly evacuate, God help you if anyone knows who you two are and have read this page, 'cause you'll need a waitress or waiter to get your ass out. The crew won't bother because you have such good judgement of your own. Yes, in general we are there to serve the public, much like a waiter or waitress because it involves food and beverage service. But that isn't all - we are nurses, psychologists, baby sitters, and many other things in addition to probably your only way out. Its' too bad that you are both so cynical about an entire group of the world. After all we could say the same things about attorneys(oops, I forgot someone already said that didn't they? Forgive me, after all I was a Flight Attendant.).

LMML - nice to talk to you again, missed you for a few days. Have a good trip? You really are right, I loved my job. If one is fortunate to be able to work at a job they enjoy then they really are blessed. Best of luck to you.

User currently offlineJetlover50 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 22, posted (14 years 11 months 8 hours ago) and read 9607 times:

Rapo check your e mail

User currently offlineFlyin' Guppy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 23, posted (14 years 11 months 6 hours ago) and read 9604 times:

Regarding Matt D. and Greg's comments: Oh, puh-lease boys! Shouldn't there be a minimum age allowance for users of this forum? Your childish, egomaniac statements do not even warrant intelligent argument. Do learn some decorum.

Regarding Travis' statement: Whether or not a flight attendant's salary is good or bad depends on their seniority. If they're junior, it's true they fall within the poverty category. (Doesn't the salary start at something like $12,000-$14,000? If they're more senior, then it depends on where they live. A senior flight attendant's salary can provide a nice life in areas like DFW, Houston or Las Vegas, or a penny-pinching lifestyle in cities like NY, Boston or S.F.

Now, to the original question! I have a story: A family friend (an f/a) was injured when the airplane she was on made a hard landing. A ceiling panel above her jumpseat came crashing down on her head and she ended up being out of work for seven months. I also know f/a's who've been thrown into ceilings, and landed on top of beverage carts, passengers, and armrests. One woman it happened twice to! Needless to say, she becomes a nervous flier anytime her flight hits moderate turbulence.

User currently offlineBHopsde From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 24, posted (14 years 11 months 5 hours ago) and read 9597 times:

First of all, CAETravlr, instinct is a big part of how one behaves in an emergency, that's just the way it is, and training tailors this. Of course LH has recurrent training of which I pass with flying colours to keep my job. I do not hate f/a's , I am one myself! Another thing, I would like to see how many whiners pass In-flight training and the recurrents! And LH's is one of the most rigorous! I'm very proud of what I've accomplished and what I retain! Walking out the door everday is a "danger" if you want to look at it so. Also, ehrlich!

25 Post contains images Strickerje : Flyin' Guppy - Yes, actually, there is a minimum age to get a username on this forum. Unfortunately, that age is 13... -Jeffrey Stricker
26 Matt D : Seeing that no one survived TWA #800, I would like to take some liberties with that situation and say that the F/A's on that flight were probably of n
27 CAETravlr : BHopsde, I went back and read your original post. I never said that you hated F/As, I know that you are one, hence my comment about never wanting to b
28 Fly_emirates : hi, well, even though I am a flight attendant, i think that matt have some points .. but not all of what he said is true. some flight attendants might
29 Airnewzealand : Thanks for those really nice words Skyhawk!! I really appreciate it!! I would of loved to of been on one of your flights when you flew. I can tell you
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