Life As A Flight Attendant: Former Singapore Girl’s Blog Post Goes Viral

Life As A Flight Attendant

Singapore flight attendants, better known as Singapore Girls, are consistently ranked among the top five best cabin staff in the world. But a blog post by a former Singapore Girl, known only as “Hilary”, sheds new light on how her life was as a flight attendant.

Her post has been labelled by some as nothing more than a “Mega-Rant”. However, as a flight attendant myself, I must admit that the working culture she describes isn’t far off from the truth.

I do urge you to do your own research though. This is just a matter of her own opinion based on her personal experience. So please keep an open mind when reading her blog post below.

 

Life As A Flight Attendant

It’s Not All Bad. But…

Ok it’s not a BAD job. There are always two sides to something.

No doubt, on the surface it seems so glamorous and fun to be a crew, you get to shop in Paris, go to USA, have breakfast in Tokyo and lunch in LA but the work is tough. Crew really work very hard for the money!

You are not only a waitress in the air, but also a safety officer, baggage porter, bar tender, toilet cleaner, policeman, babysitter, maid etc. The list goes on. Many girls don’t know this before they join and they’re in for the shock of their lives once they start the job.

It got so bad to a point where I used to cry before going on flights. My batchgirl experienced this pre-flight blues too and I was quite comforted that I wasn’t the only one. I cried because I dreaded going to work, I dreaded the work itself- the nonstop labour-intensive work where you literally walk to London.

Also I didn’t want to be away from my family. It was quite bad I really hated this and asked myself why I wanted this job so badly in the first place. Like I said, you won’t know what you’re in for until you finally join this industry.

In this job, you’ll miss out on birthdays, weddings, Christmas, Chinese New Years etc & it is very sad.

 

Work Overload

The work is really super labour intensive!! Crew will enter the aircraft about 20 minutes before boarding of passengers. Within these 20 minutes there’s so much to do!!!!!!

For stewardesses. (Female cabin crew)

•Set up newspaper trolley, cut all the newspapers meant for 200+ people and display them nicely

•Arrange the menu cards

•Dress the toilets with moisturizer, eu de toilet, paper towerls and toilet rolls, as well as making sure lavatory call light is working

• Combine headset bags, 3 into 2 because 1 bag only has 50 headsets and there are probably more than 120 people in the cabin.

• Heat up towels

• Do a security sweep for the cabins

 

For the stewards (Male cabin crew)

• Organise galley

•Make sure there’s enough coffee and tea pots and breadbaskets

•Check meals with the caterer, make sure all the meals and special meals that’s supposed to be there, are there.

• For business class is even worse because there’s crockery instead of trays and the guys need to arrange everything.

There was once I did this flight to Sydney. It was a A380, it can take 399 passengers in economy class so you can imagine the chaos. Sydney flights are really really tough and A LOT of crew always take MC for Sydney flights, yes it’s THAT bad. You practically walk all the way to Sydney and you work until your panties become a G-string.

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Customers – and Seniors – Are Always Right

In this job, you cannot argue or explain your actions. For example if your boss asks you “why you do this??” And if you try explaining yourself, it is seen as being argumentative and defensive. You should just say “sorry I won’t do it again”. Even if you are right, you are wrong sometimes. It doesn’t make sense and I hate this.

And if your boss tells you off and tells you how to do things the “correct” way, you just gotta suck thumb and say “oh I’m so sorry. Thank you for sharing with me I will take note”. I cannot stand it. Obviously I don’t mean it but I HAVE to do this to survive. No choice.

In SQ, crew fear passengers but in other airlines, the passengers fear the crew. We cannot say no. This is really bad because it has led to some passengers being so spoilt, unreasonable and they demand for the moon.

If you really want to survive in this job, the only way is to eat humble pie. There’s no “explaining” yourself because in SIA culture it is deemed as defensive and argumentative. I find this ridiculous to be honest. So whatever or whoever corrects you, just say sorry & thank you.

SIA stands for SORRY I APOLOGIZE and applicable for fellow crew & passengers.



Temptations

I think also another major reason why I left was because I hated the culture and the vices associated with this job.

Flying can be bad especially if you end up falling into the life of vice.

It’s temptation island- pretty girls, handsome boys, 4 star hotel rooms.

Being surrounded in such a work environment you really really have to keep on guard and watch yourself to make sure you don’t give in to temptations like drinking, smoking etc. Not ALL crew drink and smoke and party but majority do.

If you have made “rules” for yourself, stand by it and don’t falter. It is very very hard I know.

I’m no exception. I’m only human & fall too.

Can you imagine other “bad habits” like drinking, smoking & splurging on branded bags? Once you start, you may not be able to stop.

Sometimes when I went to Chanel or Prada stores with crew & when they bought stuff, honestly it was very very tempting. Why was I even hesitating? I could well afford it. Every one was buying something, be it spending almost $200 on just a tiny Prada Credit Card holder or $50 on a key chain, sometimes they bought they just for the sake of it or simply just because they could.

 

Fatigue And Health

The kind of fatigue a crew experiences is unlike normal fatigue. It’s hard to explain, it’s like a combination of physical fatigue, mental fatigue, being on your feet for hours and also the result of being stuck in a metal tube with low oxygen levels and breathing in recycled air filled with millions of germs.

 

You’re Up For A Rude Surprise

I know some people might think that we asked for it because we chose to fly. But honestly if you ask all the crew, we really didn’t know what we were in for and most of us really regret. The work is totally opposite from what you imagine it to be.

All in all, if you ask me if I would let my daughter fly next time, I would say no. I would definitely discourage her but it’s also dependent on one’s personality type. My parents were crew before and upon hearing my interest to join the airlines, they actually told me not to. The airlines today and 30 years ago is so different.

This is why so many crew are quitting & therefore there’s cabin crew recruitment so so often.

 

What Really Hurts

The only thing that people say that really hurts crew a lot is when they look down on us. They think being a stewardess is a lousy job, a job where people who are not smart/can’t study do. Just a high class waitress serving and cleaning up after people.

 

What I Learned

Apart from all these negativity like the rude passengers and all, I really learned a lot. Like my tolerance capacity tank has increased so much and I’m able to take more shit. Hahaha nah but seriously, I’m thankful for being able to visit so many countries (although we have only 24 hours on short haul flights and 1.5 days on long haul flights) and flying helped me save so much money! Plus because of this I managed to pay for my wedding.

Also after working in this service line, I’ve come to understand how important it is to be grateful to whoever has served you. A small “thank you” can do wonders.

Even after a rough flight, standing at the door bidding passengers goodbye, even a simple “thank you so much for taking care of us” just warms my heart and makes me so happy that suddenly all the tiredness and anger that was in me just dissipates. It’s like all my slogging during the flight was all worth while.

Now I make sure I am even nicer to people like waitresses. When my food takes a little longer than usual, I’m more patient because I can understand it may not be their fault. Same, if the plane was delayed by weather and the passengers scold us. It’s not our fault I didn’t make it rain or have a thunderstorm but we always take the blame because we are the last people the passengers get to see.

 

It’s been a year since she quit her job. She currently has only one “demanding passenger” to take care of – her husband.

Read also: Cabin Crew Jobs: Are They Really Suitable For Your Personality?

 

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[Photo by Matt_Weibo via Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons]

[H/T: 1 Year After SQ]

         

130 thoughts on “Life As A Flight Attendant: Former Singapore Girl’s Blog Post Goes Viral

  1. Hazel Agnes Uy-Go

    Not if boss is wealthy and has a steady career or business. It’s a good experience to be a flight attendant but to make it a career will make u physiologically sick. Whenenver i fly as a passenger, i am extra nice to f.a’s after experiencing the job myself. It ain’t easy

  2. Gary Lee

    If she ever flown as passenger before she took up the job,then she should expect what are the job requirement. I hope she realise what has this job did to her. A more humble and thick face person who can deal with the most complex human behavior in the world. She was lucky enough to get free life skills training while being paid. I won’t want a job where I’m told I can tell people off. That will not make u a better person. Good luck with her only boss. She will need luck when the tap runs dry

  3. Melanie Daub

    After reading this, I kinda feel sorry for the working conditions in Singapore airlines. And I also sometimes feel sorry for Asian cultures with their thing of not being able to say their opinion openly. Because we are definitely allowed to do that. Of course in the correct way of a feedback but we definitely do not have to swallow everything someone from work tells us to do.
    I consider this girl pretty whiny indeed and I am petty sure she has never worked in a real waitress job on the ground or as a nurse with 12 hour shifts where they don’t have 3 hours of break like we do on a long haul flight. Apart from the jetlag there’s no negative fact of her article that I would apply to my work in Germany!

  4. Yoh Chris

    As a passenger we should thank FA for taking care of us instead treating them as maid (Even maid wants to be appreciated too). I don’t think she’s a whiner but she is a reminder for everyone that FA was a tough job especially when SIA have shitty passengers on board who take advantage of low fare yet demanded everything to be first class service.

  5. Golda Lantaca

    Singapore airlines to pagsakay nako gasunod ang super duper baho sa ilok sa passenger murag indian to!! Grabe that was the time i said to myself to not convince you to be a flight attendant anymore so ni stop nako.. no no!! Pait

  6. Aiko Kitane

    Exactly. That’s why every time mommy says I should be a flight attendant, I always tell her to have bigger dreams for me and not just settle for such “job.”

  7. Audrey Nsl

    Hmm.. I’m an ex Emirates crew and I love it.. I whine but nt as much as her. Job is tough but love it. Or else won’t go for it. Once touch down on destination things become so so nice the hard work was worth it.. Think positive, be nice to your pax and I don’t think things is as bad as that.. N on top of Tat in Emirates all crew is so helpful and nice.

  8. Alwin Go

    Dave Chia: cannot agree more. Some people will just complain about everything in life and good luck to her ever holding a job where she will be contented.

  9. Siti Aishah Wan

    I used to work with Malaysia Airlines for 10 years. I had 10 wonderful years. It was amazing experience . Of course there’s always ups and down. Always stay positive and look fwd for a good flight and give your best to the passenger , amongst cabin crew, technical crew , cleaner , ground handlings, caterer and towards people that u dealing with. What u give is what u get. I still have much respect to all cabin crew all over the world .., only Us know how to describe our job

  10. Peter Pang

    Every single job out there is tough and has its own challenges. There’s no free lunch in the world. You want a job that offers money, glamour, instant success and gratification in the most relax and least intensive manner, there isn’t such job luh, unless you are the son or daughter of a tycoon. You chose your job. If you love it, and has passion, stay grounded and work hard for it. Results don’t come fast, but it definitely comes one day. If it’s not good for you, ask yourself what went wrong before you throw that resignation letter. Don’t blame the fish and fishmonger when you’re the one who choked on the fish.

  11. Melanie Melanie

    Exactly the same happens in Middle Eastern airlines…passengers are treated like royalty and are even welcome to disrespect us and abuse us, and in the end they are always right because they paid for the ticket.

  12. Mark Martin

    Agreed more with this statement;
    “The only thing that people say that really hurts crew a lot is when they look down on us. They think being a stewardess is a lousy job, a job where people who are not smart/can’t study do. Just a high class waitress serving and cleaning up after people.” I worked as a waiter in 5 star hotel, people always look down on us. Sad but true. Nowadays are worst, people thought waiter/waitress are brainless if everyone think this way then no one will serve the world as waiter/waitresses huhuhu i guess we need a robot then…

  13. Allan Alex

    Just putting it out there, not everyone looks down on crew. Sometimes, we passengers understand how tough it might be, that’s why we respect and try to treat crew better to make the passage a good and safe one for all. To the people who walk the aisles and ply the galley, thanks so much for always putting others before yourselves. ✨

  14. Anne Kelly Doyle

    Karen Loong Thomas I See that’s terrible, well I hope you enjoyed your flying days I see you too are a former crew member , they were some of the best days for me BUT I know how times have changed and they did for the worst during my 28 years ! I dought anyone will be flying over 10 years these days . Apart from anything the public have changed for the worst too Have a good weekend ☘️✈

  15. Hayley Fonseca

    Yup I read it. Yes the work we do is as she mentioned but otherwise, I guess everyone’s perspective of his /her job is different. After flying with the airline for over 10 years I’m still proud to have been the ‘Singapore Girl’. 🙂

  16. Kumar Parames

    Don’t forget the radiation. Also people with other jobs at times have the same fate.. like working in a nursery.. school..hospital nurses has it’s own problems…i guess all jobs have it’s own perks and downs…

  17. Brad Farenick

    Don’t forget about the 14 hr duty days!that doesn’t leave much time to shop ,tan , or go to the spa .all of those places you wouldn’t have never been too because of the job, I’m pretty sure not much interest but their hotel room for the evening so they can get ready for the next day of the pairing with maybe minimum crew rest

  18. Syafea Amin

    “In this job, you cannot argue or explain your actions. For example if your boss asks you “why you do this??” And if you try explaining yourself, it is seen as being argumentative and defensive. You should just say “sorry I won’t do it again”. Even if you are right, you are wrong sometimes. It doesn’t make sense and I hate this.” THIS

  19. Muhamad Nur

    #Sia Should stop and start hiring the real F&B ppl not just hire the pretty or handsome crew who just looking forward for free working holidays so you won’t have this negative feedback.

  20. Sammie Yeo

    Well I was an ex-SIA Stewardess for 6 years and what she said is 100% accurate. It is a labour-intensive job and SIA’s crew culture is one where seniority always beat reasoning. If you are junior you are expected to shut up and just listen to instructions, apologise even if do not know what you are apologising for etc. And SIA really treats passengers like kings and queens, we fear complaints because there will be lengthy investigation if a complaint is ever filed about you, even if it’s silly complaint like “I notice your Stewardess don’t smile enough”.. So all she said is true. But that’s just the work part which is tough. The sweet deal is you get to travel the world for free, I get to visit so many countries- Paris, Rome, New York etc etc- go to the museum, the musicals, great shopping and so on, which I may never have a chance to visit if I wasn’t a Stewardess. In conclusion this is really not a bad job, but it is not one for the mentally weak or someone who gets home sick often or need to celebrate every festive holiday with their loved ones. I enjoyed my time with the airline, never regret joining and also never regret quitting as well. 🙂

  21. Inah Avena

    Lyza HAHAHA. kapag long flights okay ang galley para busy babe!. Haha wala e dream job to e . di ko din inexpect to HAHA. Expectations Vs. Reality at its finest.

  22. Inah Avena

    “you won’t know what you’re in for until you finally join this industry.”

    totoo din yun! Ang taas na din ng tolerance ko sa mga pax na “Mema” haha. grabe na pasensya ko inhale exhale lang yan . Hahaha totoo din Pax and Seniors are always RIGHT Di ka pwede mgsalita. SORRY KA NALANG. And simpleng Thank You sa pax nakakabawas ng pagod. Relate relate super.. pero at the end of the day We still love our Job .

  23. Jay Mes

    I can agree on some things to a certain extent. But I also think this is more so the life of cabin crew OUTSIDE the U.S. The fact is that they have wayy much more work to do compared to cabin crew in the states. I’m a flight attendant for a major airline in the U.S and like every job it has its ups and downs. But at the end of the day I absolutely love my job and I’m so blessed to have experienced the things that I have because of it. However this job definitely isn’t for everyone.

  24. Christine Jegu

    so,so,so true!!! especially these days!
    i did the job in the 80’s, 90’s and it was FABULOUS !!!well paid and plenty of time in lots of exotic countries.
    it is not such a great job any more unfortunatly. i really feel for the cabin crews these days.Very hard work!!!

  25. Kevin Santiago-Lecoeur

    This is something im still learning up until now, its all true could we all agree Lucky Andrea Meghan Venice Laurianne these are the things that a flight attendant signed for, all jobs are hard but you know you just need to make that mula (dollars). However you should all put in mind that this job also has way too many good deals for our hard works. Travelling to places ( you’ve never been for sure), meet great people of cultures (diversity and languages). So before entering this job (or whatever jobs) you already prepared yourself to anything that comes next. Love to all my crew fam:))

  26. Gaby Lalonde

    I agree with certain things she stated. But let’s not forget the beautiful views, working with a good crew where you have ton of fun, the new routes and new destinations, being able to visit a place that you would’ve never gone if it wasn’t for your job, meeting people from all around the world, escape to get tan for 8 he’s and be back home for dinner, able to being Xmas gifts from all over the over, like plates from Morocco and wine from Italy, try new food and environment, time to yourself in the hotel, enjoying the dry sauna or the spa….

  27. Tatjana Aasgaard

    I loved many aspects of the job. Yes there were times I could pull my hair out but is that not the case with any job? The nice thing is always working with different people you are never ‘stuck’ with someone who is not nice like an office job. In an office you just have to deal with it every single day.

  28. Erik Choon-Chai Tan Huber

    Passion and Patience are the keys to be a cabin crew. it depending on individual. i agree to certain comments from this Blog but not all …. I am still enjoying the unlimited skies after more then 25 years in the airlines industry.

  29. Jessie C T Liew

    Very good experience for me, indeed i love this job, but due to some reason, i have to leave and move on to another chapter of my life.I m sure u know wat i meant, right? hihi

  30. Wey Esquivel

    “You practically walk all the way to Sydney and you work until your panties become a G-string.” That’s hilarious if you do not understand the nature of the job. If you do, you know where this girl is coming from.

  31. Aida Baek

    I am sure,she has only nice memory so far. . .
    Only after quitting this job u can finally understand how nice it was~
    I used to be a crew during long 8 years and also standed this job a lot,but now only nice memores i have~
    At least i also learned to be grateful thanks for whoever serves for me ~
    Sure i don’t want to go back to that industry anymore,but i don’t really think it is a bad job for single youngs lades who has a lots of energy and enjoying travel~
    If my daughter would wish to be a cabin crew i will support her ~

  32. Brian Looc

    Life as a SQ cabin crew is hard. Passengers expect more from us because of our reputation in the airline industry. None the less, it’s a job for those with a strong will and mind.

  33. Ice Ramirez Villaflores

    It’s all true, but those mentioned are some of the reasons that makes this career – one of the best in the world. It gives us all a platform to become independent and extra understanding.

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