16 Pictures Only Flight Attendants Will Understand

1. When passengers rest their feet on the Bulkhead

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We have all seen this, and we have all cringed.

2. Stretching and Exercising in the Galley

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We’ve completed service and all we want to do is go back to our tiny space to sit down and maybe eat our lunch. We finally squeeze by the 7 passengers in line for the lavatory, and low and behold, there is a middle aged man doing poorly executed, awkward yoga moves and aerobics in the galley!

Sit down, sir.

3. Passengers Who Refuse to Remove Their Headphones During Service

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“Would you like peanuts, pretzels or cookies, ma’am?”

“What?!”

“Peanuts, pretzels, or cookies?”

“Peanuts, or what were the other options?!”

You get peanuts. Goodbye.

4. When Catering Rushes in and Out and Only Leaves You 4 Bottles of Water for a 4 Hour Flight

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Anyone who asks for water on this flight will actually be getting a full cup of ice with 2 tablespoons of water. No refills.

5. Pee Pee Goes in the Potty

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Unfortunately, most flight attendants have witnessed this whether it’s in a bag, bottle or soda can. And even more frequently we’re handed dirty diapers in the aisles. This was NOT in the job description.

6. This.

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Most people follow instructions, but there’s always that one person who leaves their oversized bag sticking out of the bin, which we can’t get to until the end of boarding when all of the other bin space is taken. We don’t mind too much, we’ll just take it off and check it to your final destination.

7. When We Get to Hold the Baby

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Most of us will agree this is the best part of our day. Yes we will hold the baby! Please let us hold the baby!

8. If it Doesn’t Have a Label, it Belongs to One of Us

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Flight attendant 101: Always tear the label off your personal water bottle so it doesn’t get used. Although every once in a while you will catch a passenger pouring themselves a glass of your water anyway. Whoops!

9. Self Grooming at 35,000 Feet

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If you haven’t been hit in the face with a stray nail yet, you haven’t been flying long enough!

10. Transoceanic Trips

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Enough said.

11. That Look From a Passenger That Says, “Please Help Me!”

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We really do the best we can to make passengers comfortable, but on a full flight, somebody’s gotta sit next to the large person that takes up part of both seats. Nothing a free drink won’t fix, we hope.

12. “Jumpseat Therapy”

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Did you go on an amazing date, and never hear from him again? Get dumped? Divorced? Mad at your BFF?

At least you know when you go to work you’ll be strapped in next to another flight attendant who will either give you great advice from an outsider’s perspective, or at the very least will have no choice but to listen to you vent!

13. BYOB

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We usually know when passengers are drinking their own booze on the plane. Whether or not we say anything or confiscate it depends on their behavior and how nice we’re feeling that day.

14. Mid-Day Flights With No Inflight Entertainment

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When everyone’s awake with nothing to occupy their attention, the main cabin is like a Vegas casino. So many bells and flashing lights! So many requests to tend to!

15. When Only One Passenger is Paying Attention to the Safety Demo

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Well, at least one person will know how to survive if we have a red emergency.

16. Flying as a Non Revenue Passenger

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At the end of the day, it’s all worth it, because we can fly anywhere our heart desires! When there’s space available, of course.

What a Breakup Might Be Like for a Flight Attendant

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Let’s say you might have been dating a guy for a couple of years and end up mutually deciding that it is time to allow your paths to go in separate directions. You might have lived together and now need to pack up your things, put everything in storage besides the clothes you really need, and start staying with your parents.

An emotional week might go by and you might decide to take a trip to New York to celebrate your sister’s birthday. You might have an amazing weekend tearing through the city and barely think about the breakup because you are too busy biking, eating, drinking and dancing. There might be a moment where you get choked up waiting for the subway in Brooklyn because that was the same spot that you and him took photos of each other when you flew him there 9 months prior. But you might forget all about that in a few hours when you’re swimming in your clothes in a rooftop pool with the New York Giants.

You might start to think that the breakup is going to be easier than you expected because you’re able to travel anywhere your heart desires, party and meet tons of new people. But when your epic weekend ends and you come home to the car that you’re using as a closet, you might realize that you can distract yourself, but you can’t run away from the feelings that you need to face.

You might go back to work and really lose your grip. You might catch yourself tearing up while you’re pouring drinks in the aisles and have to run to the bathroom to pull yourself together until you can finally pretend to smile at the passengers. After service, during downtime, the other flight attendants might ask you where you’re from and where you live and you might have to fight back tears again when you remember, but don’t mention, that you’re currently in between places because you just ended your best and longest relationship.

You might get to your layover hotel and spend hours journaling, over analyzing and thinking about why you wanted the breakup and how it all happened. Even though you might’ve been confidant with your decision when you made it, you might wakeup in the morning and still feel shock that it’s all over. It might feel like you’ve lost a limb. And you might have to remind yourself that even though you love him you’re not the best person for him anymore, and you owe it to him to let him go. You might wish that he treated you badly and that the relationship was toxic so that it would be easier to let go of.

A month or so could go by and you might still have your moments where you remember your inside jokes, or the stupid voices you used to talk to each other in that only you guys found funny. Sometimes you might wish that you could just see the person you used to wake up to every morning when you were home and tell him what you dreamt about the night before. You might be having a good day, working out of the Seattle airport and get a sudden, unexpected wave of sadness as you walk by the bar you guys were drinking in last time you flew standby and had to sit there for 4 hours.

After a while of soaking in sadness you might decide that you’ve had enough. You might remember that every time you’ve been hurt in life and every time you thought the world was ending, you survived and found happiness again. You might change your perspective and realize that there’s worse things in the world than two young people splitting up to explore what the universe has to offer without holding each other back. You might even start to see how much beauty there is in that.

You might get to the point where you can think back on some of the fun things you did with your ex and feel grateful for it instead of sad. You might decide to put yourself out there and start going on dates, and realize that being single isn’t so bad. You might rekindle friendships with people you fell out of touch with when you dedicated most of your free time to your relationship. You might start taking more spontaneous trips, using your flight benefits and remembering how lucky you are to be able to travel the world while you’re young. You might find the perfect apartment and be overwhelmed with gratitude that you were able to stay with your parents and spend more time with them while you were saving and searching for the right place.

And, hopefully, you might come to realize what a blessing it is to be able to feel both happiness and pain, to learn, to grow up, to be alive, and to be on this adventure.

It might be something like that…

California Gold

Initially I was a little bummed that I was assigned 4 flights between SFO and LAX on my first of 3 reserve days in a row. Boarding the passengers, rushing through food and beverage service, and sitting through deplaning 4 times in one day without even having a cool layover to finish it off didn’t excite me – especially after having had the last 12 days off. But what I expected to be a long, tiresome workday ended up being such an amazing gift.

When I got to the airport this morning it was cloudy and rainy, but by takeoff the clouds were finally parting and the sun was finally starting to stretch its arms through the gray fluff. The ocean was sparkling gold and silver. I saw endless rippling sets of waves dancing along the coastline and crashing into the crumbling cliffs.

Sometimes I would get funny reactions from customers as I’d ask them what they wanted to drink, but would be staring straight past them trying to catch another glimpse of the unbelievable spectacle that was happening just outside the window.

Flight number 3 was by far the greatest. The sky was blue when we left SFO, but there were still scattered cumulous clouds lurking around the horizon. Once we reached 10,000 feet the sky burst into flames. As the sun collided with the ocean all of the clouds changed to neon pink, orange and violet. My description or even a photo would never do it justice.

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Once the sun had mostly set, I could see glowing city lights out of one side of the plane, and the Pacific Ocean cloaked in black reflecting faint twinkling stars out of the other. My love for California had renewed itself once again.

After we touched down and traded our passengers out for new ones for the fourth and final time for the day, I felt drunk with gratitude. What an opportunity it is to go in for a days work and leave feeling so moved by nature.

Today didn’t suck.

Barreling Through the Storm

When I was younger, I wondered how flight attendants managed to remain calm during turbulence, or even when the airplane would journey through thick fog, let alone a storm. Don’t they ever worry about the wings breaking off? What if another airplane is flying directly at us and the pilots can’t see it? What if we need to land and they can’t see the runway?

As a person who hadn’t flown much, my irrational fears and questions seemed completely legitimate. I had no idea how much more went into a flight than just what the pilots could see from their tiny flight deck windows. I did not know that aircraft wings were made to be flexible, in order to give and bend to withstand turbulent air. I did not know that I was generally safer at 35,000 feet than I was walking across an intersection in broad daylight. I would not have expected that I would one day fall in love with flying during a thunder storm, like I did today on my flight from Orlando to New York.

I am three months into my flight attendant career and only now have I realized my love for turbulence – Mother Nature’s hands rattling the sky. The direct and unexpected jolt is nothing new to me, but this time I tune in. With a flight load of only 13 passengers, and not much to do, I take a window seat and begin to gaze outside. We tear through fluffy gray patches of sky, lightly bouncing along the way. I can see water streaking off the ends of the wings all the while. And then the light fades out as the sun sets in the west, and the lightning makes its appearance.

One moment, there’s a pitch black sky, with the faint light pollution from the MD-90’s flashing lights in the background. The next minute, a fiery white-hot beam dances and illuminates all of the thick tropical storm clouds in sight. One small crack of electricity to uncover what appears to be a 20 mile radius of sky. And then it happens again. And again. Sometimes far away, sometimes so close, it looks like it could touch the wing outside of the window. I wonder what it would look like if it did.

The gentle turbulence continues to rock me. My mind is so consumed by the amazing natural show of light that’s occurring right in front of my wide open, bloodshot eyes, I lose track of time completely and slip into a trance. The universe is so strong, so mighty and vast, so capable of wonderful things. I think about how soothing it is to slip away into peaceful thoughts.

I dare to consider how long I can remain in this intrinsic state. And then a passenger presses their call light. A chime sounds, violently ejecting my mind back into reality and placing my love affair with the sky on hold, for now. I bravely look forward to the next time I am fortunate enough to meet the storm.

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