Working in the aviation industry can be very rewarding, yet very lonely if you ask me. This is very true for my fellow empaths working as cabin crew. Especially, if we move to a foreign country to try and give this career a try because moving means leaving our families, friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, dogs, and cats behind. Additionally, it is not only a very lonely career choice, but it can be very draining due to fluctuating hours, no permanent team that you would be used to seeing, long shifts, and.. drum roll, customers.
Anyone who works in the customer service field knows that it has its ups and downs. Especially when those customers are hungry and tired. Plus, in the world of aviation, they aren’t always travelling due to happy events. If you are an empath or a highly sensitive person, I’m sure some of these words did trigger you. So that’s mainly what I will try to portray in this blog post, all of the things that empaths working as cabin crew will probably be able to relate to.
First of all, let’s come back to the very beginning. What is an empath? Empaths are typically people who are highly sensitive to not only their own internal environment but to their external environment as well. Meaning, that they feel other people’s emotions very deeply and they genuinely soak up the energies around them. Empaths are highly intuitive and can read the energies just by being in the room with other people. That’s why so many of them need their ‘alone’ time and are prone to getting stressed out very quickly. This means they need to protect themselves and work on themselves and their emotional state more than others. It is definitely a gift that comes with its own struggles, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.
So here are the things that empaths working as cabin crew will notice.
It’s easy for you to connect and relate to people on your flights because you genuinely put yourself in their shoes.
As I already mentioned in the beginning, not everyone travels for a happy reason. There are, unfortunately, thousands of people every single day who travel due to a death in their family. Maybe they were fired from their job, or perhaps they are leaving their family for a job (and I definitely know the feeling).
Therefore, as much as you got used to seeing excited faces on your flights, you have also gotten used to seeing sad or angry ones and it doesn’t mean that they are frustrated because of you. It’s just the way it is. They are having a bad or possibly the worst day of their lives and you just happen to be there on that particular day. Whether you are an empath or not, you learn to stop judging and become are very good people reader. If you are an empath, this comes rather naturally to you, it’s easier to gain trust from your passengers.
You usually get emotionally drained after your flights, especially the long-haul ones.
When you are a walking human sponge, it can get pretty difficult to handle your emotional state. You are stuck with hundreds of people for prolonged hours without any possibility to hide or to leave the situation if you feel overwhelmed. On top of that, as someone who feels the surrounding environment on a deep level, you are able to feel the general mood on your flights which can be both, super good or a huge Debbie Downer. That, of course, will depend not only on your passengers but on your crew as well.
I have noticed that after joining the aviation industry I become much more introverted (although I did identify myself as an extrovert, I now believe I am a very healthy mix haha), I value my ‘alone’ time way more and I need it way more frequently than before. This job can leave you feeling extremely tired not only physically but emotionally as well, and it takes a great deal of strength not to let whatever goes on during your flights affect you on a personal level.
On top of that, as someone who feels the surrounding environment on a deep level, you are able to feel the general mood on your flights which can be both, super good or a huge Debbie Downer.
Although you read people very well, you have difficulty connecting to your colleagues on a genuine level and try to avoid conflict at any cost.
It’s true that it’s difficult to befriend anyone when the crew that you work with changes constantly, but I believe it’s even more complex to connect to any of your colleagues on a genuine level as an empath. You already require an additional emotional spark to feel like ‘yeah, we could have a genuine conversation going!’ and it doesn’t help when everyone has become very ‘small talky’. And how can you blame them? You mostly see each other for that one single flight and then never see each other again. Additionally to that, you will avoid conflict at any cost. Even if there is a person that has a completely different personality, you will mostly adapt and just avoid making the flight unpleasant to yourself and everybody else. Generally, it is very difficult to overfill your glass of patience.
You prefer spending your layovers alone and you remember your loved ones a lot during them.
As you mostly feel drained after your flights and if there is genuinely no one that you have connected with during the flight, you simply prefer to do your explorations alone. This is the time you use to recoup and just explore without having someone else dictate your time. To me personally, this is the time when I feel my most vulnerable self because I miss my family a lot and I feel sad that they are unable to experience these places together with me. I will usually find and connect foods, buildings, or activities to certain loved ones because I know how much they would enjoy them.
You are very sensitive to changes in lighting and will be the first one to notice any weird smells or sounds going on in the cabin.
This is very true to any empath ever, because we are super duper sensitive to any smells, noises, or bright lights. I always have a bit of trouble adjusting my vision walking into a galley when it’s a night flight and the whole cabin is dark. Similarly, I am extremely sensitive to any smells going on in the cabin. Smelly feet and vomit are my best friends.
You cannot sleep on the first break during your long-haul flights.
This is a weird one. If you are not familiar with how long-haul flights work for us as cabin crew, basically, each crew member is entitled to a break. Therefore, whenever our break comes, we change into our pyjamas and go pay a visit to our CRC where we meet our bunk beds. For some bizarre reason, I do not like to have the first break at all. That is unless I am physically tired and I need to lay down. However, I can tell you already that no matter how tired I am, I will not be able to sleep. I do feel that I need some reasonable time after our boarding duties and the first meal service to calm down. I hope I’m not the only one!
You start to question whether you are a people person.
Due to the sheer fact that working as a cabin crew can get very draining, you start questioning your ability to work in the customer service field. Some flights are worse than others and they can leave a very bad taste in your mouth. Especially if you are already tired. You start craving your ‘alone’ time more and more. Soon enough you start thinking about whether accounting was a better choice for you.
Being an empath and working in aviation or honestly, in any customer service field can be a very rewarding experience. However, you need to remember that you are the person you need to take care of first. Self-care is very important in such situations and you have to make yourself a priority. Otherwise, it can be a pretty miserable experience.
So go on, take that relaxing bath, say ‘no’ when you feel like saying it, and do what makes you feel happy.
I hope that this blog post about empaths working as cabin crew was relatable and helped you make a decision on whether to join your favourite airline.
Namaste. I’m proud of you.