Flight attendants share 20 things most people don't know about their job
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Flight attendants share 20 things most people don't know about their job

Group of cabin crew walking at the Hong Kong International Airport, carrying their luggage
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This story originally appeared on BusinessInsider.com.

Despite the frequency with which people fly these days, flight attendants' jobs are still, surprisingly, shrouded in a fair amount of mystery.

In fact, we know so little about what they do for a living that misconceptions abound.

To help lift the veil a little, we asked flight attendants everywhere to share some things that might surprise people about their job, and more than 60 responded.

Related: Flight attendants share the 16 most common misconceptions people have about their job

We've anonymously included some of their answers here:

'We only get paid for flight hours'

"So, for example, your duty day could actually be 12 hours, but you only get paid for six hours of work."

And 'it's especially hard to make ends meet at the start'

"You are bombarded with new and unexpected expenses that come along with the job, like a second apartment (your "crash pad") since you usually don't get based where you live, countless Ubers/Lyfts to get you to and from the airport, meals on the road, uniforms, luggage, tips for drivers, and petty cash in case your fellow crew members want to go out."

"For the first five years you are DIRT poor, and five to 10 roommates is a must."

But you can make 'a very good living'

"You'll never get rich being a flight attendant, but you can have some control over how much you make."

'Our main job is safety and security'

"There are about 300 rules we follow for this."

'Flight attendants are highly educated'

"We must maintain FAA qualifications yearly."

'It's actually kind of lonely at times'

"We spend hours alone in hotels and airports."

'When we're on reserve, we can spend up to six days without flying or going anywhere'

"We are supposed to have everything ready to go at the drop of a hat, but on slower flying months, we finally have time to catch up on Netflix."

'There are many hats we might have to wear'

"Think of anything that could possibly happen anywhere — if it happens at 37,000 feet in the air, guess who is taking care of it? We do much more than hand out Cokes, but unfortunately that is what the public sees, especially if they only fly domestically."

"I know how to build a bomb stack, and if it came down to it, I could deliver your baby."

Related: One woman takes us inside the mysterious world of a flight attendant, from unruly passengers to 3-inch heels

Flight attendants put their lives on the line every time they fly

"We are trained to protect the flight deck at all costs."

'Flight attendant training is, hands down, the toughest job interview you'll ever go through'

"We're truly hard-trained safety experts on a plane to save your life, not just to serve you a tomato juice. The training is inexplicable, like childbirth. You can't understand how hard it is until you experience it."

All that training comes in handy

"Even though I'm not First-Aid or CPR certified, our training helped make me capable of saving a life in mid-air on two different occasions."

Some airlines still have strict guidelines for the physical appearance of their cabin crew

"For my airline, having a pimple or a cold sore may cause you to be grounded for weeks."

'It's rather dirty and unhealthy'

"I work international flights and the health problems among flight attendants is staggering: kidney stones, hearing loss, depression, sleep deprivation, repetitive strain injuries, digestion issues. And people have no qualm handing me a dirty diaper when I am serving food. Yuck!"

Related: Flight attendants share the 21 things they wish passengers would stop doing

'This job changes your character and who you are ...'

"For better and for worse."

It can put immense strain on relationships

"If you want to spend holidays with the family, this job is not for you. If you want every weekend with your partner off, this job is not for you. If you want to be home with the family every night, this job is not for you."

'The job requires physical strength'

"Bar carts are heavy."

But 'I'm not supposed to lift your bags'

"Our companies don't cover our injuries if we get hurt lifting your bags."

'There's a reason flight attendants are the most eccentric, quirky, and generous people you will ever meet'

"We are hired that way. It helps us deal with all of the different personalities we encounter every day."

You learn a lot about people

"The job is a great lesson in studying psychology."

'People don't leave this job'

"Once you decide you like it, it becomes a lifelong career. You'll know within the first year."

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