In a viral video, an American Airlines flight attendant explained why she and her co-workers are voting to strike to get their pay up to $92 an hour.
The video by Megs Gordon (@la_megnificent) was filmed in reaction to a TikTok from nurse @sandybrownrn_15, who compared the value of the professions. The TikToker insinuated that flight attendants were asking for pay that was too high when nurses have to “beg, cry, and plead for our wages to be increased, and we’re actually like saving people’s lives.”
While @sandybrownrn_15 said she didn’t intend to come across as “shady or mean or belittling anyone’s career,” that’s exactly what she did, Gordon said.
@la_megnificent #stitch with @Sandybrown15 #greenscreen #fyp #flightattendants ♬ original sound – Megs Gordon
Gordon shared that she is a flight attendant for American Airlines and wanted to correct a few things from @sandybrownrn_15’s video. First, she clarified that the $92-an-hour wage would be for those with at least 14 years of experience and only counts for their flight hours.
Flight attendants are required to show up at the airport an hour and a half before departure to perform tasks like assisting with the boarding process, arming the doors, and serving pre-departure beverages in first class. But none of that labor is paid, and if there’s a delay, they’re also not getting paid during that extra time they’re at the airport and away from their loved ones. Instead, flight attendants are paid based on their flight hours.
She added that flight attendants aren’t paid for a 40-hour week. Instead, their flight hours come out to 75 to 80 hours a month, and they’re paid bimonthly.
“If you really stop and think about that, the $92 an hour, which as a reminder, is on the high scale of seniority, amounts to about $7,000 a month before taxes. That’s really equal to what would be deemed the middle class,” Gordon said. That salary amounts to $84,000 a year.
Gordon goes on to say that “to say nurses are more important than fight attendants is completely asinine.” She shared that she’s had to do chest compressions on a man until she was drenched in sweat and out of breath, and he still died. Since it is not always the case that there is a nurse passenger onboard, flight attendants have to perform emergency services.
In addition to that, Gordon said she’s had to perform a range of duties for her passengers, including coddling crying babies, talking someone off the edge in the midst of a schizophrenic episode, putting out fires, and duck-taping a man to his seat who was trying to fight her.
She also reminds viewers that flight attendants are still trained to evacuate any size aircraft in 90 seconds or less.
“Instead of playing the whole ‘my job is more important than yours,’ how about you work for a union that doesn’t mind fighting for what you think is fair pay for nurses? I don’t come into the emergency room trying to dictate how much nurses should be paid just because I’ve watched a few episodes of Grey’s Anatomy,” Gordon said.
The video has more than 382,000 views and over 3,000 comments as of Sunday.
“Y’all need to get paid from the second you step foot in that airport!! Your services are invaluable!” one of the top comments read.
The Daily Dot reached out to Gordon for comment via Instagram direct message.