Flight Attendant

Sue Ann Brogan, Flight Attendant, United Airlines

Tell us about your work---what do you do? I am a flight attendant . I travel all over the world, serving our customers and ensure their safety during the flight. That means I spend anywhere from six to ten nights away from home, the airline takes care of all my accommodations. I get to meet people from all over the world and experience things from all over the world. What skills are needed? Foreign language skills are helpful. A background in customer service is necessary, whether it is working in a hotel, restaurant, or any position where you work with people. A background in Sociology or Psychology is also beneficial because you are dealing with people in a confined environment where they don't have control. You also need to be flexible and have the ability to adapt to other cultures . You need to be independent and take care of yourself in many different situations. What was your major? I graduated with a double major of International Relations and French with a minor in German from the State University of New York at New Paltz . How did you get started in your career? I've always loved to travel and being a flight attendant is something I have always considered doing. Since I was 16, I have traveled and even lived abroad with families in Europe. A year after I graduated from college, I worked for a hotel. I would see all these airline crews and I always wanted to be on the other side of the desk, so I did. What experience do you need in this job? Any background in foreign language and customer service is great. You have to be outgoing and friendly. The desire to travel is a great attribute, even if you haven't traveled before. You have to be the type of person that loves to travel and be able to enjoy it. Describe your "typical" workday: I go to the airport and have a briefing that establishes who will work which cabins, who will be responsible for what duties. We go over safety, weather; we discuss if turbulence will be a problem. We also discuss who is qualified for first aid procedures and who speaks what language. What is the hardest aspect of your job? Sometimes you deal with passengers that don't show you the respect that you deserve, but on the upside, you never have to see them again! Although it doesn't infringe on my lifestyle, it can be difficult for people who have families to be away up to ten days per month. What is the most rewarding aspect of your job? The benefits! I have a lot of time off, this is the best part: I work a maximum of 12 to 18 days a month. On my days off, I can hop on a flight to anywhere in the world and it costs me almost nothing to absolutely nothing. I have great friends in countries I've only dreamed of visiting before. What are your suggestions for someone considering this field? I would suggest that anyone wanting to be a flight attendant: