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What Do Cabin Crew Do?

I Asked a Former Cabin Crew Member What She Actually Did and the Response Was Eye-Opening

One of my pet peeves is when people ask me what it is I actually do … as if I can easily reel off a list of all the things I do on a regular (and irregular) basis as part of my role as Senior Editor, POPSUGAR Middle East. By the end of the night I can barely remember whether I took the time to have lunch or not.

So when discussing this with a friend recently, who used to worked for Virgin Atlantic and Emirates airlines, she sympathized as cabin crew often go undervalued for their work by passengers. It really made me realize just how skilled and personable you have to be when working on the ground, and up there at 40,000ft, when she explained what you have to know and learn before you even have the job in some cases.

I have trouble even jumping off the box in HIIT classes, but here goes:

  • Jump out of an aircraft door in pressurized situations via inflatable slides and getting ditched in water
  • Save each other on a life raft in a pool of water
  • Blow up life rafts
  • Save each other in smoke-filled cabins
  • Put out fires
  • Learn how to survive on a deserted island
  • Learn how to survive in subzero temperatures
  • Learn how to deliver babies
  • Learn how to save lives
  • Take exams on all of the above

"On top of this you sleep limited hours, all while being put under immense pressure and being immaculately groomed, smiling and wearing bright red lipstick," she said. I know I'd struggle with the latter alone... 

During the job you are expected to be ... well, at least 10 different roles:

  • A councilor to complete strangers (passengers)
  • A policewoman to people disobeying rules (often ones that are illegal such as smoking onboard, insulting other people)
  • A doctor to sick people
  • A waiter to everyone 
  • A bartender to those who love to drink
  • A nanny to those who don't want to take care of their kids
  • A bouncer to those getting a little lairy
  • An engineer when anything breaks as we have no one else to turn to at 40,000ft
  • A chef making all the meals and having to improvise when people refuse to eat whatever we have available
  • A travel agent/ tour guide advising people of things to do and places to visit

I'm officially never complaining about a hard day at work, ever again.

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