Getting aboard your flight to Hawaii for your long-anticipated island vacation should give you a rush of pleasure and excitement, shouldn’t it?

But let’s face it. Airlines are cutting back. Service is deteriorating. Travelers – you among them — are getting cranky. Who takes the brunt of all that pent-up hostility?

Right. The flight attendants, trapped between the struggling airlines they work for and an increasingly angry flying public. They have tough aisles to patrol.

They’re at the front lines. They listen to the complaints, try to offer explanations and do all they can to defuse passenger frustration. It’s been pointed out that it’s no longer enough for flight attendants to be poised and personable, or even multilingual. They have to be wearing tough skin, as well.

A lot of the nation’s largest airlines are operating their flights with the minimum staff required by the Federal Aviation Administration. That means more work for everyone, especially when flights are full, as they usually are. On top of that, flight attendants remain responsible for not only the service, but also for your safety. They are expected to know first aid, including cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and to be vigilant against possible terrorist activity.

So the next time you’re inclined to go off on a flight attendant because he or she wants $7.00 for an in-flight pillow, take a deep breath. It’s not the glamour job it once was.


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