Flight Attendant Exposes The Shocking Things They Don't Get Paid For

Flight attendants get paid to travel the world and pour drinks for thirsty passengers — or so it seems. In reality, their job is much more demanding than it can appear from the outside. Cabin crew are given the crucial task of keeping hundreds of passengers safe and managing issues that arise on board, from health scares to disorderly passengers.

However, how flight attendants are actually paid doesn't always reflect the level of responsibility handed to them, and during every flight, there are periods when they're basically working for free. A flight attendant and TikToker named Cher (@cherdallas) pulled back the curtain on how she's compensated for her shifts. "You know that part of the flight where you come on board, see your flight attendant sprinting around, reseating 55 toddlers that are seated away from their parents because the computer system hates us, shifting bags, the part of the flight where [a passenger] freaked out [and] started screaming and the flight attendants had to deal with that, the part called boarding? We don't get paid for that," Cher explained in a clip.

The content creator also revealed that her airline doesn't pay her during delays either. If she's stuck in an airport or at the terminal ramp, waiting to board the plane or close the doors for takeoff, she only gets "a couple dollars an hour" if she's not at her base airport.

No pay is only one part of the equation

Being on the job without getting paid for it is bad enough. The issue is one of many that have sparked a string of rallies at airports organized by flight attendant unions. Besides asking for pay at boarding and before flights take off (such as during lengthy delays), attendants have also demanded increased pay and annual raises during the protests.

Delays pose several other issues for busy, overworked cabin crew. David Anthony, an international flight attendant, shared how attendants' schedules are impacted by delays in an article for HuffPost. According to Anthony, a delayed flight can result in reassignments on other flights not chosen by the attendants. Besides leading to more work packed into one day, the rescheduling can also cause airline employees to miss out on time they planned to spend with family or even just resting between flights. In some cases, flight attendants who were forced to work up to the legal maximum number of daily hours aren't allowed to fly back home, leaving them holed up in a hotel room until they're placed on another work shift.

Is change on the way?

On TikTok, Cher captioned her video with the sarcastic note, "Maybe someday we will get paid lolol," but there's reason to believe that change could really be coming. In 2022, Delta became the first U.S. airline to pay its flight attendants during boarding, offering each attendant half of their usual in-flight pay for the time spent helping passengers to their seats and organizing those packed overhead bins. American Airlines agreed to a similar pay structure for boarding periods in 2023.

Another reason why better pay may soon be granted to flight attendants: It's already the industry norm in many other countries around the world. One TikTok user commented on Cher's video, "Omg that's so crazy, we get paid in the UK," while another who works for Norwegian wrote, "In my airline we get paid from brefing [sic] starts to 20min after parking at gate at the last flight of the day."

As more flight attendants speak out and rally against unfair practices, more airlines may be compelled to follow suit. Until then, remember to be especially kind to your flight's crew members after long delays and during boarding.