The Downsides to Working as Cabin Crew

Jul 8, 2018 | Cabin Crew

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase an item that I link to then I may make a small commission, at no extra cost to you.

(Last updated on: 13/12/2021)

So many girls (and guys) have dreams of walking to their departure gate with their crew, high heels echoing throughout the airport, passenger heads turning. They dream of a life in the skies, full of glitz and glamour. They dream of exotic love affairs, overseas shopping and relaxing beach days. And they dream that they will see the world.

The Downsides to Working as Cabin Crew

However, if they think that’s the life they will lead as Cabin Crew, then quite frankly they can dream on!

I recently made a video about how great it is to be Cabin Crew  (below) and had a very positive response from both prospective and current crew. However, my feedback was that it was rather one-sided. So in response to this I am going to write about some of the less glamorous sides of being Cabin Crew.

The downsides of being Cabin Crew

I loved flying, but there were many pitfalls as well as benefits to the job. Yes, I was lucky enough to cross the world’s busiest zebra crossing in Tokyo, I did hand-feed a giraffe in Nairobi, and I did top up my tan in Rio. But the reality is that although I did experience these wonderful things, I wasn’t able to make the most of them because I was constantly so incredibly tired. With rarely over 24 hours in a destination, night flights and time differences to deal with, my body rarely recovered from one trip before I was off on the next. I was constantly wishing for my bed and often missed out on going out and doing things down route because I was so tired. All I wanted to do on my days off was sleep!

Too much vomit

On my last ever flight, whist collecting in the rubbish (which for a start is not glamorous at all!), I was handed a cup covered in sick, half of which dripped all over my hand. For me, that was confirmation in itself that I was doing the right thing by leaving. I don’t cope well with sick, and unfortunately I encountered it regularly in this job. I had people being sick all over their beds, covering the toilets in sick so that they are no longer usable, projectile vomiting across the aircraft, and so on.

Rude passengers 

The passengers themselves were (more often than not) lovely. However, there were certain routes on which the passengers infuriated me. Some passengers were disrespectful to the aircraft and the crew. On disembarkation, it would quite literally look like a bomb had exploded with all the mess. Hygiene levels were often poor, and there would be a terrible smell that would gradually worsen throughout the flight. I often had passengers tell me that they are going to ‘piss themselves’, and the state of the toilets often indicated that they had.

But my main bain was the way the passengers spoke to me and the other crew. I understand that there are cultural differences, and that perhaps it is acceptable where they are from to hiss and click your fingers at people. But I just struggled to deal with it myself. After 8 hours of being hissed at, I would get off the aircraft feeling rather low and infuriated. What especially annoyed me was that most of these passengers actually resided in the UK – so they should know better!

Social difficulties 

Another problem I had was my social life. If I look back at my pictures from trips with work, there are always big social gatherings – usually involving substantial amounts of alcohol. This was great fun a lot of the time, but I just found it exhausting that on every single trip you would be with different people. We would have to start up new friendships all over again. You would rarely see the people you have flown with before, and therefore it was very difficult to ever make any friends. It was even hard to meet up with friends on your days off at home, as you would not have the same time off very often!

Low pay

All of this aside, my primary reason for leaving the job was the money. Living in London, the average take-home of about 1200 pounds a month was not enough to live on. I found myself having to take Pot Noodles and such in my luggage for trips so that I didn’t spend my allowances down route as I needed that money to live on. For me, that took away from the experience of being Crew a lot. I was forced to avoid doing some of the tourist things down route to save money, which defeated the point of doing the job for me.

I did this job for my love of travel – I thought getting paid to travel would be perfect! But in reality, it had negative effects on my health, I didn’t really see that much outside of an aircraft or a hotel room, and it has left me in thousands of pounds of debt…

I am not saying that Cabin Crew is a bad job, it is in many ways a wonderful job, as I promoted in my video. I just wanted to show both sides of the coin, and demonstrate that it’s not all perfect working at 30,000ft.
Are you looking for a job as Cabin Crew? Don’t let the chance slip through your fingers… make sure you have the right resources to maximise your chances of getting the job- check out my new Online Diploma Becoming Cabin Crew now! 

2 Comments
  1. Linzi Clark

    Great article, really highlighting the downsides of cabin crew life – I really felt for you with the vomit – I would have also struggled!

    Reply
    • Teacherhayley

      It really was gross!!!

      Reply

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. The truth about being Cabin Crew | Lifeasabutterfly - […] Due to the large demand for information on becoming Cabin Crew I have created a new website for this…
  2. What hours will I work as Cabin Crew? - Becoming Cabin Crew - […] discussed in my post ‘The downsides to working as Cabin Crew‘, when working as Cabin Crew you will have…
  3. What hours will I work as Cabin Crew? - Tourism Teacher - […] discussed in my post ‘The downsides to working as Cabin Crew‘, when working as Cabin Crew you will have…

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

ABOUT

Dr Hayley Stainton

Hi, am Dr Hayley Stainton

I’ve been travelling, studying and teaching travel and tourism since I was 16. Through Tourism Teacher I share my knowledge on the principles and practice of travel and tourism management from both an academic and practical perspective.

Follow Me

LATEST POSTS

The 8 Major Types of Cruise

Do you want to know more about the different types of cruise? Then you have come to the right place! Not all cruises are the same and some cruises will suit some types of tourists better than others.... so in this article I will explain what the different types of...

What is birth tourism and is it legal?

Birth tourism isn't a term we hear everyday, but it is in actual fact a real thing! Want to learn all about it? Read on... What is birth tourism? As the name suggests, birth tourism is the action of travelling to a different destination for the purpose of giving...

Tourism in Cornwall visitor guide- The best things to do in Cornwall

Tourism in Cornwall visitor guide - The best things to do in Cornwall. Here is an overview of Cornwall as a tourist destination, including places to stay, what to pack, sights to see and the best things to do in Cornwall ! Tourism in Cornwall- an overview Tourism in...

Tourism in the Isle of Wight- what you need to know for your trip

Tourism in the Isle of Wight is big business and it is no surprise why that the Isle of Wight is becoming such a popular destination in recent years, with its stunning beaches and amazing natural scenery. Whether you're booking a holiday or staying for a daytrip, here...

99 Inspirational Sustainability Quotes

Sustainability quotes are great because they remind us how important sustainability is and they help to inspire us to be more sustainable in our everyday lives. As the likes of Greta Thunburg and David Attenborough like to remind us- we simply cannot continue living...

Tourism in Thailand- Complete Thailand Travel Guide

There are plenty of reasons why tourism in Thailand is becoming increasingly popular over the years. Thailand is an amazing destination for a huge variety of people - whether you want a relaxing luxury holiday, an exciting backpacking adventure or a bustling city...

Do you want to become Cabin Crew?

Learn what it's like to work as Cabin Crew and how to pass the Cabin Crew assessment day with my online courses- I have a 100% success rate- meaning that every person who has taken the course got an assessment day afterwards!