Are the Poverty Wages Made by Flight Attendants “Glamorous”?
Okay, so now that I am hopped up on anti-inflammatories, somewhat recovered from my crazy shift at the second job, AND am semi-ambulatory…I suppose I can write this shit.
Whoever said “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” can go suck a dick (sorry Neitzche). Or was it something like “What does not destroy me….yada yada yada”. The idea of Neitzche uttering the words “yada yada yada” totally makes my day, but I digress…
So today in between doing 400 loads of dishes, busing numerous dirty tables covered in dishes and taking orders from a toolish douchebag of a manager, this post hit me. I wrote it in my head as I attempted to drown out my dreaded self-dialogue and the fact that I was probably on dish 378 at the time.
“this sucks balls this sucks balls this sucks balls this sucks balls” “gotta make coffee gotta make coffee gotta make coffee” “don’t forget to do the dishes don’t forget to do the dishes” “fuck is it time to leave yet” “don’t lose your shit don’t lose your shit don’t lose your shit” “I probably shouldn’t be praying for an earthquake to hit” “did I leave on the iron” ”fuck shit piss fuck shit piss” “get me the hell out of here”
I thought it should be known just how “glamourous” it really is to be a flight attendant, because look at what the fuck I am doing. I’m hustling my ass off at a semi-fast food chain restaurant. Yeah that’s right. I am a flight attendant, and I am now also a glorified dishwasher and busser. Oh, I make coffee too. I’m not exactly sure why the hell I said glorified, because I feel no glory whilst there.
I’m not looking for sympathy, pity or a pat on the back. My goal is to share a little insight about my experience and story, as well as to educate people about the “real deal”. If in the end it makes a few passengers a little more patient and understanding, that’s just an added bonus.
It is incredibly important for the flying public to be made aware of the amount of money that flight attendants average. I won’t go into specific numbers because of course it does vary from airline to airline (its size, your seniority, etc.). However, as a single mother I am eligible for food stamps and Medicaid. Yes, I can easily collect BOTH because I make what the US Government considers to be poverty wages. Glamorous, right?
Recently I was unfortunate enough to experience some medical issues that have prevented me from flying. Due to this I am currently the recipient of short-term disability. Needless to say this is an incredibly small fraction of what I would be making if I were flying, which is already pretty fucking shitty – but just about doable.
*IMPORTANT NOTE: Even WITHOUT the Medical Leave I am still eligible for government assistance as I mentioned previously, including food stamps*
I don’t think that the general public is aware of just how much money we
The ENTIRE crew (pilots included) is not paid until the aircraft door is closed. Period. And keep in mind that the door cannot be closed until every passenger is seated with his or her seatbelt on, every bag in the cabin is stowed, and every bin is closed. If you are following along and doing the math you are indeed correct — we are not paid for the ENTIRE BOARDING PROCESS. The same goes for deplaning. Needless to say we are incredibly motivated to get the hell out of there, so we ALL can get to our destination as safely and quickly as possible. Kindly keep this new found information in mind the next time you board a flight. Also if you see a flight attendant grabbing their chest, they’re probably just having angina from the stress of knowing what money they won’t be making…just so they can get you that pillow, blanket, water, address ridiculous questions, wait for you to use the lavatory, ask for a meal or snack, etc., all the while preventing the crew from performing their duties needed before CLOSING THE FUCKING DOOR. You get the idea. For the love of god and all things holy, please wait the few minutes until we are airborne; we’ll then do our best to get you whatever you need – with the limited tools given to us.
This pay issue is not exclusive to flight attendants either. Poverty wages also carry over to your pilots. Yes, the men and women flying you around in those newfangled jet aeroplanes are making shit for pay as well. I have FO friends flying for commercial airlines (seating up to 99 passengers) that are making $22K/year. Yes, I said TWENTY TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS. (Please see Will Fly For Food) Just curious, but how much does a fast food manager make? I’m guessing that it’s a lot more.
The heroic Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger (Ret.) “testified before the U.S. House of Representatives’s Subcommittee on Aviation of the Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure on February 24, 2009, that his salary had been cut by 40 percent, and that his pension, like most airline pensions, was terminated and replaced by a Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation worth only pennies on the dollar.
There you go, even Captain Sullenberger successfully landing a plane in a river and being ultimately responsible for saving every single life on that aircraft isn’t immune.
So hey, please keep in mind that the next person taking your ticket at the movie theater, making you a sandwich, washing your car, pumping your gas, or bagging your groceries may just be a flight attendant, and a glamorous one at that! So please tip well, they could probably use a little extra help.
Thank you for flying with us, and…
(NOTE: Our website has been updated so that you can now leave comments without entering your email address, so feel free to join in on the conversation and comment anonymously — we would love to hear from you!)