Sometimes, flying feels too godlike to be attained by man. Sometimes, the world from above seems too beautiful, too wonderful, too distant for human eyes to see...
- Charles A. Lindbergh, The Spirit of St. Louis, 1953.
Not so long ago, I told my father that I wanted to be a cabin attendant. And he said to me "So you want to be a glorified waiter now?" I was heart broken on hearing those words, but I put the hurt aside and pursued a career in aviation.
Like most people "daddy dearest" looked down upon my profession too. And I don't blame them. They all have this notion that cabin attendants only have affairs with captains, drink, smoke and are looking to hook "the big fish".
But let me give you a reality check.
According to DGCA regulations, a cabin attendant can fly up to 8hrs a day, 35 hrs a week, 125 hrs a month and 1000 hrs a year, all this with only one weekly off. That means 6 days of flying. Most passengers want to jump out the minute the aircraft has touched down. Now imagine us doing this for 4 flights a day, with smiles on our faces.
The day that we have our weekly off, most of us spend it either sleeping or completing chores. Sometimes we drink, mostly smoke, and party whenever we get the chance. Don't regular office goers do the same?
If you thought you had a touch boss, here's some trivia. A cabin attendant must undergo a breath alcohol test before every flight, failing which it can result in suspension or termination.
Looking pretty, poised and perfect all the time is just one of the requirements of the job. If you walked into a dinner party, would you like the host to be greeting you in pyjamas and being inhospitable?
And if a fire broke out at the venue, wouldn't you expect the host to direct you to the nearest fire exit and ensure your safety? This is pretty much the logic we work on.
And yes, we are objectified. Quite a few Indian men will choose to date or sleep with a cabin attendant but they would marry a girl "mummy/papa" approve of. According to dating app Tinder's analytics, female cabin attendants were 13th on the list of the most sought after professionals, and male pilots were at number 1.
From a perspective of a woman who loves her job, I'd like you to know that:
- We work as hard as any other corporate professional.
- We love our families and hold our relationships dear.
- We are as human as any body else, the only difference being that we are expected to be a "superwoman" on board.
The opinions expressed are the author's alone. Catch doesn't necessarily endorse them.