kieran74
Posts: 16
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2007 8:02 am

Who Would Want To Be A F/A In The USA?

Mon Jul 30, 2007 6:53 am

http://www.stuff.co.nz/4146172a34.html

This article came up on local website this morning. Would be interested to hear feedback from those that work in the skies as to whether this is true or not?

Have a good day!
 
JAFA
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Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2003 1:31 pm

RE: Who Would Want To Be A F/A In The USA?

Mon Jul 30, 2007 7:09 am

Well this article is a little slanted, there are many great things about the FA job. No boss breathing down your neck, being able to make your own schedule, dropping and picking up trips whenever you want, being able to travel anywhere for free. I enjoy the "lifestyle", I am not talking about glamour. Its been ten years and at my airline I am still a "reserve" on-call FA.
In the past ten years I have seen maybe 8 total blocked off /broken lavatories. The fact this was mentioned as a issue with the FA job makes me think they are grabbing at straws. As with most union spokespeople they tend to exagerrate things to make a point. A narrowbody flight can be legally dispatched with one lav inop not two or three as they mentioned.

There is no perfect job anywhere, and I guess to a large degree beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

I just graduated with a bachelors degree and will continue to fly for the time being. A desk or mangement job is not appealing to me.
 
ikramerica
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Joined: Mon May 23, 2005 9:33 am

RE: Who Would Want To Be A F/A In The USA?

Mon Jul 30, 2007 7:48 am

hatchet job from the first line of the article.

it is not hard to keep your own car in the USA unless you live in
a big city and want a new one and park it in a garage. registration,
insurance, etc. for a 5 year old car parked on the street is not a lot
in most of the USA.

there are likely other problems with this woman's credit, accidents,
etc. that led to her "losing her car" but this article starts off slanted
so they aren't going to tell you that.
Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
 
AirTranTUS
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RE: Who Would Want To Be A F/A In The USA?

Mon Jul 30, 2007 8:19 am

All I learned from the article is to not be an F/A for UA or Mesaba. Do they represent all of America?
I love ASO!
 
Boston92
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RE: Who Would Want To Be A F/A In The USA?

Mon Jul 30, 2007 8:23 am

Quoting AirTranTUS (Reply 3):
All I learned from the article is to not be an F/A for UA or Mesaba. Do they represent all of America?

 Yeah sure

How did you learn not to work for UA or Mesaba??
"Why does a slight tax increase cost you $200 and a substantial tax cut save you 30 cents?"
 
FL1TPA
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RE: Who Would Want To Be A F/A In The USA?

Mon Jul 30, 2007 1:50 pm

I am a F/A with AirTran Airways and, while I agree with some points raised in the article, I disagree with the overall negative twist in the writing. It is very true that you are expected to remain onboard through most turnarounds and yes the planes are packed these days but that's not alltogether unexpected. Except for irregular operations (weather, maintenance, crew legalities, etc.) you know what you're getting into. Sometimes that's a 12 hour duty day with 6 legs - all with tight turns and full loads. You prepare for this mentally and physically. Bring your food, a few magazines and go into it with a good attitude.

I am very satisfied with my pay scale as well. At the 3 year mark I can work 80 to 90 hours a month (15 days off) and live comfortably. There's always the option of working more; much more. Some co-worker friends of mine regularly work over 120 hours a month (8-10 days off).

As with all airline careers, seniority is everything. The more time you've put in, the better working conditions you can create for yourself. As for the way other airlines treat thier F/A's, I cannot say. AirTran treats me just fine.

FL1TPA
"Looks like I picked the wrong week to stop sniffin' glue."
 
onaclearday
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RE: Who Would Want To Be A F/A In The USA?

Mon Jul 30, 2007 2:25 pm

I've been a flight attendant for a U.S. carrier for 5 years, and my experience has been vastly different from the horror stories mentioned in the article. I build my monthly schedule for between 60 and 100 hours of flight time per month--depending on the amount of money or the number of days off I want in a given month. I typically fly two or three legs (flight segments) per day and have never experienced anything close to the 14 hr. duty/5 hr. pay disparity mentioned in the article. In five years I've worked a total of three flights with an in-op lavatory. One lav. out of three was in-op on each of those three flights. My airline does schedule tight turns, but I've never felt trapped on the aircraft. The sooner that plane is in the air, the sooner I'll be collecting those flight hours and the paycheck they produce.
I love the schedule flexibility of being a flight attendant and the other benefits of working for an airline. I'm happy.
 
roseflyer
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RE: Who Would Want To Be A F/A In The USA?

Mon Jul 30, 2007 3:28 pm

That article definitely represents the suffering that the employees have to endure in an industry that has low wages, but is a popular job. I'd love to work at as a flight attendant if I got paid the same that I do now in my career. However there is no chance of that ever happening. I always try to be nice to those people because I know how hard it can be to live on that income and come to work with a smile.
If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
 
UnitedTristar
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RE: Who Would Want To Be A F/A In The USA?

Mon Jul 30, 2007 7:50 pm

Quoting Boston92 (Reply 4):
How did you learn not to work for UA or Mesaba??

Those are the employers of the FA's who were interviewed for the article.

-m

 airplane 
 
ikramerica
Posts: 13772
Joined: Mon May 23, 2005 9:33 am

RE: Who Would Want To Be A F/A In The USA?

Mon Jul 30, 2007 11:49 pm

Quoting FL1TPA (Reply 5):
I am very satisfied with my pay scale as well. At the 3 year mark I can work 80 to 90 hours a month (15 days off) and live comfortably. There's always the option of working more; much more. Some co-worker friends of mine regularly work over 120 hours a month (8-10 days off).

And since being an F/A SHOULD be a career for the young (IMHO), this isn't an issue. It's when you get 20 year vets with kids who want the job to be a 9-5 affair that you get issues. Just like the pilots bitching about being away from base 330 hours a month (including hotels), it's part of the job, right? The more you work the more you make, but that means time away from home and long hours on some days. I know when I was young I worked 10-12 hours a day, 5-6 days a week, without a lot of break time. Wouldn't want to do it now all the time, but happens on occasional months.

Quoting OnAClearDay (Reply 6):
I've been a flight attendant for a U.S. carrier for 5 years, and my experience has been vastly different from the horror stories mentioned in the article.

As I said above, you can tell from the first line of the article that is is a bullshit hatchet job. In the USA, the average poor family has 2 cars. 2 cars! Thus the claim this F/A can't afford a car on an F/A's salary, someone who makes 2x the poverty limit minimum (and often 3-5x or more) is ludicrous. If it's true for that woman, it's because of other personal problems/mistakes, not her job.

Being an F/A is not all roses, but I meet so many F/As who are happy with their jobs, it just can't be anywhere near as bad as the article tries to claim. If it were, you wouldn't see the smiles you do, the positive attitude (especially from the younger ones), etc. Is pay as high as it once was? No, but that's not the same thing as a sweat shop.
Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
 
cdgdtw
Posts: 159
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RE: Who Would Want To Be A F/A In The USA?

Mon Jul 30, 2007 11:56 pm

The article was right on. The job of cabincrew in the US is onerous at best. F/As were not making huge money to begin with. After 9/11 and the subsequent bankruptcies and concessions at US carriers, the modest wages turned meager overnight. Airline management seemed to blame worker's salaries as the reson for operating in the red and declared war on the frontline employees. Flight attendants are having to work far more hours far drastically less pay. At the same time, ticket prices for air travel are and were lowered to attract people to keep flying. This is counterintuitive to the capitalist system that says if the company's prices go up, the consumer prices go up in response. Fuel prices spiked and airlines actually demanded MORE from the employees to offset the rising cost of fuel! When a crop of oranges is bad in FL or CA, the consumer pays more for the fruit and juice. This logic does not hold at the airlines of the US.

It has been so easy for corporations to go under the protective blanket of bankruptcy and restructure by way of cutting the wages of the staff. If there is another health epidemic, terrorist attack, or increase in fuel prices, will companies go back to the wages of employees and demand more? At what point can the workers in the US become reasonably comfortable knowing their paycheck today will not be slashed for the troubles of tomorrow? When are the decision-makers of the operation held accountable for its shortcomings?

There are great aspects of the job, as noted in the responses above. Free flights as standby? Show me an open seat! Then again, who can afford a vacation?
 
B767300ER
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RE: Who Would Want To Be A F/A In The USA?

Mon Jul 30, 2007 11:56 pm

I have been a FA with TWA, LH and now DL, and while being able to hold International pairings due to LOD abilities, FA flying domestically have a more difficult assignment, numerours short leg, changing aircraft, airport delays, etc. However when I started with TWA I flew many domestic short haul legs in a day. The one that I shall always remember was a LGA-STL-TPA-STL-MSP-IND-JFK (taxi back to LGA) and that was the days with snacks, meals, etc. Whether flying in the US or other areas, the job is as demanding, low wages, etc. But, we chose this profession and are happy to work as a FA whether a US carrier or foreign flag carrier.
 
We're Nuts
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RE: Who Would Want To Be A F/A In The USA?

Tue Jul 31, 2007 12:23 am

Being a flight attendant is physically grueling. Most people don't appreciate how hard we actually work. Plus we have to see the public at their worst everyday - when people get on a plane, they don't act like they are at a restaurant, they act like they are in their own bedrooms. Nobody wants to see that. But the benefits are great and we do have sunshine in our office all day long.

Truth is, I'd do it just to avoid the TSA.
Dear moderators: No.
 
ikramerica
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RE: Who Would Want To Be A F/A In The USA?

Tue Jul 31, 2007 12:30 am

Quoting We're Nuts (Reply 12):
Being a flight attendant is physically grueling. Most people don't appreciate how hard we actually work.

Actually, while it is true that you work your ass off, I find that F/As and pilots don't "appreciate" that LOTS of other professions work as hard or harder than you do. It might seem hard to believe, but you are not the only hard working people in the USA, and your pay (considering the lack of degree requirements for F/As) is not unfair. I tend to find that unionized professions always sing to the mountaintops how tough their job is because they are told it is daily by the union leadership. But since pilots and F/As tend to be lifers with nothing to compare to (same for teachers) they don't know how the rest of the world works... hard! That's life.
Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
 
Skyweasy82
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RE: Who Would Want To Be A F/A In The USA?

Tue Jul 31, 2007 1:11 am

Quoting We're Nuts (Reply 12):

I know many flight attendants and what I can tell it isn't a grueling job. They seemed to have fun. The bitter union reps though would have reading light out and they would say I won't take the aircraft and I would tell them its OK I will defer that and also defer your LAV. I hated it whenever I get on a plane and a F/A would ask "Are you going to cancel us". It's ASA F/A's most are as bitter as their pilots.
 
We're Nuts
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Joined: Sun Jun 04, 2000 6:12 am

RE: Who Would Want To Be A F/A In The USA?

Tue Jul 31, 2007 1:26 am

Quoting Ikramerica (Reply 13):
I find that F/As and pilots don't "appreciate" that LOTS of other professions work as hard or harder than you do.

I don't know why you posted this.

Quoting Skyweasy82 (Reply 14):
I know many flight attendants and what I can tell it isn't a grueling job.

You are wrong.
Dear moderators: No.
 
Skyweasy82
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RE: Who Would Want To Be A F/A In The USA?

Tue Jul 31, 2007 1:27 am

Can I get a bloody mary and some pretzels please
 
airtran717
Posts: 590
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RE: Who Would Want To Be A F/A In The USA?

Tue Jul 31, 2007 1:36 am

I was a flight attendant for 8 years at AirTran, from 1997 to 2005. In that time, I went through periods of loving it and hating it. But I love and miss the airline life. That said, most of what the article depcited is true. It's not for everyone. You get short nights, long days and very little "me time". Sometimes the only break you get is going to the lav. But being a people person as I am, I loved talking to people and being around many regulars on my usual routes. You could bid for something new every month or, with enough seniority, fly the same schedule for months on end. I forged many life-long friendships with other crew... you become very close and learn to trust one another in short order. You could basically make your own schedules with swap/drops and all the other scheduling options. The crews were great and so were most of the stations. But, then again, living out of a suitcase has its limits too. And if you've seen one hotel, you've seen them all.

To IKER: unless you've lived an airline lifestyle from the cabin side, you aren't really in a position to make such broad sweeping comments. Show me a new hire fa right out of initial... for ANY airline... and I'll show you an fa who barely qualifies for poverty level. It's not like that forever, but it can be tough. I was lucky enough to work for an airline who hasn't had to cut back like that. But to all the folks who have stayed in the air to spite the cutbacks, I applaud them. They do it because they love what they do, not just because it's a paycheck... in that line of work, when it becomes just a paycheck, it's time to change vocations before you get your butt in a crack... we're not talking about flipping burgers... this is a certified position with huge responsibility... safety professionals. Fa's may just be glorified Coke slingers to the average Joe. But you'd truly be dumbfounded if you could go through an initial training course and the recurrent training every year and all of the special training in between, etc.

I'm stepping off my soap box for now. There are good sides and bad sides to EVERY career. It's up to the individual as to how to keep it in perspective.

717
 
flyf15
Posts: 6633
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RE: Who Would Want To Be A F/A In The USA?

Tue Jul 31, 2007 1:45 am

Although not a pilot, I can vouch for what I see at my (large regional) airline. Their job is HARD. They have horrible schedules / work rules, get paid dirt, and have a very difficult job. I know I wouldn't ever be able to do it.

Currently, at my airline, the average flight attendant only stays 5 months before quitting. But my airline doesn't care, its cheaper to just train new ones than it is to pay benefits / annual pay raises if they were to stay. It seems like theres no shortage of people who think it would be fun, decide to try it out for whatever reason. But, within a few months they see what its really like and end up quitting.

Being an FA... especially the only one with 50 passengers, is not something I would ever want to do. I'm very impressed by those who are able to do it.
 
airtran717
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RE: Who Would Want To Be A F/A In The USA?

Tue Jul 31, 2007 1:46 am

Quoting Ikramerica (Reply 9):
And since being an F/A SHOULD be a career for the young (IMHO), this isn't an issue. It's when you get 20 year vets with kids who want the job to be a 9-5 affair that you get issues.



Quoting Ikramerica (Reply 9):
Thus the claim this F/A can't afford a car on an F/A's salary, someone who makes 2x the poverty limit minimum (and often 3-5x or more) is ludicrous. If it's true for that woman, it's because of other personal problems/mistakes, not her job.



Quoting Ikramerica (Reply 9):
Being an F/A is not all roses, but I meet so many F/As who are happy with their jobs, it just can't be anywhere near as bad as the article tries to claim. If it were, you wouldn't see the smiles you do, the positive attitude (especially from the younger ones), etc. Is pay as high as it once was? No, but that's not the same thing as a sweat shop.

What an ass!!! You have clearly no experience in the industry... except maybe from your armchair. Until you walk a mile in our shoes, keep the spiteful, crude, uneducated and inexperienced comments to yourself.

We are trained customer service personnel as well as safety professionals. We're trained to keep a smile on our face regardless of the idiots that just spout off nonsense... kind of like you...

717
 
airtran717
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RE: Who Would Want To Be A F/A In The USA?

Tue Jul 31, 2007 1:53 am

Quoting AirTran717 (Reply 19):
Quoting Ikramerica (Reply 9):
And since being an F/A SHOULD be a career for the young (IMHO), this isn't an issue. It's when you get 20 year vets with kids who want the job to be a 9-5 affair that you get issues.

To comment on this post specifically... again, you clearly have no understanding of how seniority works in an airline. When you get to 10 years+ seniority, it's not about flying your ass off to make ends meet. You get your pick of the best paying trips with the most time off. The most money for the most down time. THAT's what seniority does for you. I was flying 90 hour single day trip lines and still having 3-4 days off in addition to being home before my kids went to bed. My last year at AirTran I flew LAX redeyes and still made more then 80 hours each month and was home everyday AND had 4 days off each week... THAT's what seniority does for you.

717
 
airtran717
Posts: 590
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RE: Who Would Want To Be A F/A In The USA?

Tue Jul 31, 2007 2:29 am

Quoting Ikramerica (Reply 9):
Being an F/A is not all roses, but I meet so many F/As who are happy with their jobs, it just can't be anywhere near as bad as the article tries to claim. If it were, you wouldn't see the smiles you do, the positive attitude (especially from the younger ones), etc. Is pay as high as it once was? No, but that's not the same thing as a sweat shop.

As I said in my previous post, we're trained to rise above the loudmouth jerks.
 
CanadianNorth
Posts: 3133
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RE: Who Would Want To Be A F/A In The USA?

Tue Jul 31, 2007 5:01 am

Pretty much any job will have its bad parts. My job I get to pick up bagloads of garbage after people, wipe down the toilets, change seat covers that got pucked on, vacuum entire 737s, haul around heavy meal carriers in tight spaces, put up with time limits, big messes, whining flight attendants, jet swaps, work schedules that change three times in a week, all that fun stuff. However, I'm still very happy that I took the job.

Quoting Skyweasy82 (Reply 14):
and what I can tell it isn't a grueling job.

Try getting one of those carts from the aft galley to the front and back without hitting anything. Then picture that with an isle full of people etc. Then add a bump or two for turbulence. Then add a bitching pax or two. Then come back and tell us how that went for you.


CanadianNorth
What could possibly go wrong?
 
aa757first
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RE: Who Would Want To Be A F/A In The USA?

Tue Jul 31, 2007 5:31 am

Obviously, a lot of people, judging from the huge amount of applications carriers get when they start recruiting. Remember a lot of airlines probably don't want career flight attendants and that's why they aren't as concerned about working conditions.