It may sound glamorous to be a flight attendant. After all, they get to travel the world and learn about other cultures. However, it takes a lot of energy, skill, patience, and diplomacy to deal with cranky passengers in a confined space at 35,000 feet. So, here are a few things flight attendants wish you knew, courtesy of CNN:

  • First, most flights are now full, and layoffs, furloughs and other cost-cutting measures mean that each flight attendant is responsible for more passengers – so they’re often overworked.
  • Also, a lot of flight attendants are hungry, because most planes no longer carry food. They don’t usually have enough time to visit the airport food court during layovers.
  • They only work 70 to 100 hours a month – compared to 148 hours for the rest of us. They often work 14-hour days – longer on international fights, and they only get paid when the plane’s engines are running. That means they’re not paid for one of the hardest parts of their job: boarding, which has become more aggravating as passengers bring extra carryon bags to avoid paying fees for checked baggage.                  
  • Flight attendants also can’t do anything about screaming babies, except to ask if the parents need anything. The truth is, babies often cry at altitude because the cabin pressure hurts their ears.  
  • The call button’s there for a reason – but don’t abuse it. In other words, use it if you have a medical emergency. Or if you need a blanket, but you’re blocked in because the guy on the aisle is asleep. If you buzz, be sure to ask for everything you need at once. In other words, don’t ring for coffee – then again for cream and sugar – and then again to buy a headset.
  • Their #1 job is not to bring you coffee. It’s to provide medical assistance, and quickly evacuate the plane in an emergency.  They’re happy to make you comfortable, but please show your appreciation by being considerate.