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by Beth Windsor, The Daily Telegraph, May 11, 2016
In my four years working as a flight attendant for different airlines, including British Airways, I’ve been inundated with questions about what it’s really like to be an air stewardess. From strict grooming protocol to what passengers get up to when they think no one is watching, it’s time to bust some myths and reveal a few surprising truths about life at 30,000 feet.
1. We can survive a situation like the television series Lost.
Survival training is one of the many skills in cabin crew’s toolkit. We know how to create a shelter, gather food, find safe drinking water and attract help in the Arctic, jungle, rainforests and deserts, which means you really are safe in our hands.
2. Most of us haven’t joined the Mile High Club
The truth is that not many hostesses have sexual encounters on board - they’re tired, bloated and have often just dealt with passengers’ bodily fluids, so frisky is the last thing they're feeling. Any passengers who do get 'hot under the collar' at high altitudes get busy in the toilets, but cabin crew can open doors from the outside, so beware. And for those thinking their complimentary blanket affords secrecy, we can still hear and see you when the lights are off - so keep your hands to yourself, ladies and gentlemen.
3. No drinking the night before a flight
There are no exceptions to this rule. All cabin crew can be subjected to alcohol and drugs testing before a flight as it is illegal to be intoxicated on an aircraft, meaning stewards must be booze-free for at least 12 hours before take-off.
4. We’re not allowed to gain weight
Once you’re issued with a uniform, that’s it - you can’t change it for a size bigger if you find you’ve put on a few pounds. The airline will give you one month to lose the weight - otherwise you will be put on a weight management programme.
5. We can deliver babies in mid-air
If you find your in-flight movie interrupted by labour pains, don’t worry about going it alone. We're trained in how to safely deliver babies until the emergency services can take over on the ground. Your little one might even find itself with free air travel for the rest of its life - though don’t get your hopes up if the miracle of birth occurs on a budget airline.
6. We get quizzed before each flight
Before embarking on every journey, we undergo a briefing with the senior cabin crew member, in which we are asked two emergency procedure questions and one medical. Failure to answer correctly means being taken off the flight.
7. We know the best places to have a good time
It’s well known that cabin crew love to party, and once a destination has been reached, it’s all about having fun - whether that’s at a luxurious cocktail bar or an exotically located Irish pub. Instead of buying a travel guidebook just ask cabin crew for some tips, or better yet, tag along on their nights out. Flight attendants have been known to have wild pool parties, blag their way into VIP areas and even wake up with errant farmyard animals in hotel rooms a la the film The Hangover, so if we’re having a party, you want to be invited.
8. Many have previously trained in different professions
A lot of people take to the skies after having left another career, so we work with ex-teachers, lawyers, nurses, policemen: you name it, there’s a place on board for everyone.
9. Grooming standards are strict
Wonder why cabin crew always look immaculate? That’s because they’re disciplined if grooming standards aren’t followed to the letter. Skirts can’t go above the knee, heels must not be higher than three inches, lipstick has to be a certain shade of red and constantly applied, and nails must always be manicured with only pink, red or French polish. Some airlines have also been known to check the colour of your bra before a flight, so being on your best beauty behaviour is a must.
10. We’ve seen everything
Mid-flight strip-teases, mothers putting their babies in overhead lockers, sanitary pads doubling up as eye masks - it's all in a day's work.
This article was written by Beth Windsor from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.