Draw backs of being a Flight Attendant / Air Hostess / Cabin Crew

The Drawbacks of  Being a Flight Attendant


Flight Attendants are known to be cool, calm and collected. Flight Attendants are always the picture of glamour and style. They are expected to attend to the whims of passengers while smiling pleasantly – often throughout the night.


Like all careers, there are drawbacks to being a flight attendant. The drawbacks could include:

Working Hours

As airlines operate 365 days of the year, 24/7, flight attendants must be willing to work any of the 365 days of the year.  Duty hours could mean being away from your family for special occasions such as Christmas, weddings, funerals or birthdays. This irregular, unsociable and unstable lifestyle is not meant for those who enjoy total consistency in their lives. 

Relationship commitment

Some flight attendants who are either married or in a relationship could find it hard being apart “from their other halves”. If you are one of these people it is advisable to seek employment with an airline carrier who only flies domestically as their flights normally only require their crew away from home  one night at a time. Flying internationally could mean that you are away from your loved ones for up to 10 days or even 6 weeks at a time. 

Hierarchy reporting structure

Comparable to  many careers, there is a strict hierarchy reporting structure within the airline industry. Onboard an aircraft, the Captain will always be in charge of the crew, passengers, the aircraft and freight carried. After the Captain the reporting structure is the Co Pilot, then the Engineer (on aircraft types who operate with an Engineer).

On all flights, one flight attendant will always be nominated as the Senior Cabin Crew Member. This crew member undertakes additional training prior to working in this position and airlines select them based on merit. The senior cabin crew member forms the link between the cabin and cockpit crew members and plays an important role in ensuring team work on every flight.

The Captain and Senior Cabin Crew Member work closely together, with the SCCM being the eyes of the flight deck crew in the cabin. 

On board injuries

As flight attendants are constantly working with crockery, cutlery, boiling liquids, ovens etc. they could sustain injuries such as cuts and burns. More serious injuries could occur should an aircraft be involved in an accident / emergency situation such as turbulence, fire onboard an aircraft or an evacuation.

A First Aid/Medical  kit is carried on board an aircraft and contains pain killers, bandages, anti septic liquid etc. No prescribed medication is carried in the medical kit.

A doctor’s bag is carried in the flight deck of an aircraft and contains medication for serious conditions such as: heart attacks, asthma, severe allergies etc. The contents of the Doctors bag may only be utilised with the authorization of the Commander and can only be administered by Doctors, Paramedics and qualified medical personnel. 

Harassment from opposite gender

Flight Attendants have a reputation for being beautiful, well groomed and friendly, so there are instances where members of the opposite sex who could find flight attendants desirable. There have been occasions when passengers have become intoxicated on a flight and have started harassing flight attendants.  Harassing a flight attendant is not tolerated by airlines and depending on the level of harassment this could lead to criminal charges being laid against the passenger.

Mental stimulation

Some flight attendants become bored with being known as “trolley dollies” and yearn for mental stimulation. Although this career does allow for plenty of leisure time to study not all flight attendants make use of this spare time, preferring to spend their time sight-seeing, shopping and partying. 

Physiological side effects can include:

Dehydration is a condition which occurs when our bodies lose more fluid than we take in. We lose water in the form of water vapour in the breath we exhale, in sweat, urine etc. Conditions such as fever, heat exposure or too much physical activity could also contribute to dehydration. On an aircraft, the air conditioning system together with the aircraft altitude and pressurisation is the main cause of dehydration in-flight.

Symptoms of dehydration could include weakness, dizziness, increased thirst etc. and in severe cases this could lead to confusion and heart palpitations.

It is highly recommended that passengers and crew increase their intake of water on a flight.  



Jetlag is also known as flight fatigue. It is a temporary condition which is caused when you travel great distances crossing time zones. Disruptive sleeping patterns are a major contributing factor to jetlag. The duration and the extent of jetlag experienced varies from person to person. 

Symptoms of jetlag could include exhaustion, nausea, loss of appetite, constipation etc. Jetlag normally lasts approximately 2 days and the best way to recover from jetlag is to adjust to the new time zone as soon as possible. 


Irregular weight loss / gain.

Flight attendants have been known to either experience weight loss or weight gain. Weight gain is often caused by eating too much on board an aircraft. During night flights, crew members often eat continuously in an attempt to stay awake. Ensure that you do not fall into this trap.

Other flight attendants lose weight as they are constantly busy and move through the cabin continuously attending to passengers, cleaning toilets i.e. going the extra mile.


Swelling of hands and feet

Airplanes are pressurized and this low pressure prevents blood from moving/circulating as fast as it normally should. This is one of the main reasons that results in the swelling of  flight attendants feet . 

Dehydration can also thicken blood which in turn would prevent regular blood flow, which could also be a cause for swollen ankles and feet. 


Back Ache

Air crew are constantly required to lift and push, pull heavy equipment such as trolleys and bins. If care is not taken these repetitive movements could lead to crew members suffering from lower back ache.  

Flight attendants can take preventative measures to avoid back injuries. These measures include improving your posture by never slouching and always keeping your tummy tucked in.  Remember an extended  tummy adds an extra load onto  the spine.

Correct lifting and handling of equipment, a good diet and exercise regime, including core muscle strengthening exercises, will play a great role in reducing back injuries.