Is being a flight attendant all that glamorous?


Lower pay, poor job prospects
 
Earlier this month, it was reported that Singapore Airlines would be adjusting its flight allowances according to new exchange rates – cutting the allowances received for working on flights to Europe and America by as much as 20 per cent.
 
The change would severely impact the salaries of many of their flight crew, who draw low basic salaries of about $2,000 and rely on their travel allowances to support their lifestyles.
 
For flight crew with other work experience and higher education, the immediate response has been to quickly start looking elsewhere for employment – a trend that has resulted in a steadily growing turnover rate among airline crew all over the world.
 
“It’s quite simple – if I leave now, I can start over without feeling the pinch as much. If I stay another three-four years and then leave, starting from scratch with no relevant experience will put me in a very lousy position. I am just cutting my losses,” said SIA steward Lionel, 25, who joined after he graduated last August but is thinking of quitting once his first six months are up.
 
Then there are those without the option of a equally well-paid career on the ground.
 
“I’m worried about the cuts, of course. It affected morale among us quite badly,” said Marie, who said she had considered leaving Singapore Airlines but felt that she would not be able to make as much money elsewhere.
 
“I only have ‘O’ levels. If I quit and work somewhere else, my pay will be less than half. I have monthly installments to pay on my credit cards. I cannot afford to quit,” she said bluntly.
 
“Even my parents don’t want me to quit. However, if I could turn back time, I would have just continued studying and getting a degree. My thinking was too short-term and now I am stuck.”

In Part 2 of our series on the inflight service industry, flight attendants tell Yahoo! Singapore what it’s like dealing with nightmare passengers. Read it here.

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