Who doesn’t love hearing people anonymously dish about their jobs? The Los Angeles Times talked to a few flight attendants and asked them to reveal a few things passengers don’t know, like:
Airlines used to pay their flight attendants when they showed up for duty at the airport. Not now. That changed to getting paid when the cabin doors closed, then to when the plane’s brakes were released and now, often, when the wheels leave the ground (“wheels up” in airline parlance). There can sometimes be hours of delay between the time they show up for work and when they’re airborne. Different airlines have different policies, but it’s a way for them to save money. So when flight attendants greet you at the door, it’s very often for free. No wonder the smiles sometimes seem fake.
Plus, according to the article, if a flight is late, airlines could be required to pay their flight attendants overtime, so if there’s a delay, attendants may make sure the flight is delayed just long enough so that overtime pay kicks in. So while we’re stranded at the gate, at least somebody is getting paid.