10 flight attendants reveal the most disappointing part of their job

Flight attendants from airlines like Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, and American Airlines told Business Insider the most disappointing part of their job.

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Flight attendants from airlines like Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, and American Airlines told Business Insider the most disappointing part of their job.
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Leonhard Foeger/Reuters

Being a flight attendant may look glamorous, but like any other job, there are downsides.

Ten flight attendants told Business Insider the most disappointing part of their job. The flight attendants work for carriers like Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, and American Airlines. They requested anonymity due to a fear of reprisal from their employers.

Here’s what they said.

(The flight attendants pictured in this article are not those who were interviewed by Business Insider.)


Not enjoying international layovers

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Mehmet Ali Ozcan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

A Spirit Airlines flight attendant said she thought she would enjoy international layovers more, since the ability to see new places is one of the most appealing parts of her job.

“I don’t particularly like doing them and that is a little disappointing,” she said of international layovers. “I think it’s because I always worry about just making it to work the next day and just making sure that I’m there and I’m present and I’ve gotten enough rest.”

Spirit did not respond to a request for comment.


Disrespectful behavior from passengers

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Leonhard Foeger/Reuters

A Delta Air Lines flight attendant said she’s disappointed that some passengers treat her poorly.

“It makes it hard to get up every day and spend every day alone in your hotel room when you’re going to get yelled at by passengers for things that are out of your control,” she said.

Delta did not respond to a request for comment.


Having to leave an exciting city

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Gokhan Tan/Getty Images

“The most disappointing is when you go somewhere really freaking awesome and you don’t get to stay,” said a flight attendant for Worldwide Jet, which charters private jets.

Worldwide Jet did not respond to a request for comment.


A lack of manners from passengers

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Robert Alexander/Getty Images

“The most disappointing thing is how people behave on the airplane,” a United Airlines flight attendant said. “It is a rarity that I get a ‘please’ and a ‘thank you’ from a passenger.”

A United representative declined a request for comment.


Fatigue

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Jason Lee/Reuters

“The most disappointing part is probably how tired I am and how much I’m away from home,” said an Envoy Air flight attendant.

The flight attendant added that she’s partly responsible for her exhausting schedule, since she lives in a different city than where her home airport is located.

Envoy did not respond to a request for comment.

“Something that I definitely didn’t expect would be how fatigued flight attendants actually get,” a Spirit Airlines flight attendant said. “We fly up to 16 hours a day and only require eight hours of rest in between our duty days. Most people think eight hours is sufficient, however they do not take into account that the eight hours includes deplaning, transportation to and from the hotel, waiting for hotel rooms some nights if they aren’t ready.”


Missing time with family and friends

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Mehmet Ali Ozcan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

A United Airlines flight attendant said she’s disappointed that she has to miss out on time with friends and family, particularly during the holidays.

“Generally, I’m away from my family on those major holidays,” she said, though she noted that her family finds time to get together at other times during the year.

An American Airlines flight attendant also said she was disappointed about not being able to spend the holidays with her family.

“Granted, I have spent the holidays in amazing places like London or Buenos Aires, but it would be nice to spend it with my family,” she said.

“This Thanksgiving, we are thankful for the 28,000 American Airlines flight attendants who will safely transport nearly 7.5 million customers traveling with us over the holiday,” an American Airlines representative told Business Insider.

“While it means that some of our team members will be away from their families over the holidays, we’re incredibly appreciative of their dedication to caring for our customers, while also facilitating holiday memories for families around the world.”


Being underestimated by passengers

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Reuters/Kham

An Alaska Airlines flight attendant said she’s disappointed by the way some passengers underestimate the intelligence of flight attendants.

The job requires more than “a pretty face pouring drinks in the sky,” she said.

“Our flight attendants are amazing and do a phenomenal job keeping our guests safe everyday,” an Alaska Airlines representative told Business Insider.


Having to deal with passengers in a wide range of moods

“Something disappointing that I’ve learned is how much people’s different emotions and energy can affect your mood,” a SkyWest flight attendant said. “I thought that, going into it, everybody would be fine and happy and dandy like it’s vacation all the time, but that’s typically not what it is for these people traveling. People are traveling because they’ve lost somebody, or because they’re going for work.”

“So that’s just something that I’ve had to learn to adapt to, being around everybody’s different emotions and energy, and not taking that home with me,” she added.

SkyWest did not respond to a request for comment.