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A Flight Attendant’s Christmas Schedule

Bonus: Classic 1980s Flight Attendant Christmas Pictures!

Captain Jetson’s readers have been asking what it is like to work as a flight attendant during the busy Christmas season schedule. We turned the question over to our Flight Attendant Reporter Jasmine:

Being a Flight Attendant is more of a lifestyle than a job (but we love it!)

Most airlines fly 365 days a year, so most flight attendants know they will be working on any day of the year when they sign-up for the job.  This means missing holidays, birthdays, parties, weddings… and of course, Christmas Day. 

How the excitement of a Flight Attendant’s Christmas schedule unfolds

Rosters are published monthly at my airline.  Days before publication, crew eagerly await their rostering fate. Will we get to Nan’s 90th? Can we make the much-needed dentist appointment, or do we have Saturday off for the concert (which we optimistically bought tickets for already)? 

As well as day-off-dramas, there’s the surprise of where we’re going – Caribbean or China, New York or Nairobi? 

But as the month’s roll by in a combination of cruising California’s ocean roads, missing this year’s biggest BBQ, feeding orphaned elephants in Kenya and telling your kids you won’t make their school play, the most eagerly anticipated roster gets published –

The December schedule!

Will we be away in foreign lands, at home stuffing ourselves with turkey, or 37,000 feet up, dishing it out?

A memorable Christmas Flight, from London to Orlando

Flying for so many years, I’ve done my share of Christmas shifts, and truthfully, it can be miserable.  One year, I worked the London to Orlando flight on December 25th.   

My colleagues and I decked the plane (and ourselves) in tinsel and baubles and were all pretty jovial. When the passengers arrived, however, they were decidedly un-festive, answering our ‘Merry Christmas’ greetings with gloomy glares.  

The flight went on un-cheerily and then, uh-oh, we ran out of turkey dinners at the last two rows, sending a particular passenger into a disproportionate rage. 

As he yelled and threw his unwanted nut-roast (which was actually the far tastier option!) on the floor, I felt exceedingly sorry for myself and my colleague, standing in the aisle, twinkling with tinsel and jingling bells, being pitilessly abused over a tiny plastic serving of turkey.  

Merry Christmas to you too, Sir! 

Then, from other Christmas past

The Merry Christmas flight

However, I’ve also had some jolly flights on Christmas Day, where the cabin was filled with Santa hats and Rudolph sweaters and passengers have supplied us with our body weight in chocolates.   

Christmas flight video

That’s’ the spirit of United! A United Airlines Flight Attendant carols With Passengers During a Christmas flight delay in Denver. Video: Inside Edition/YouTube. By the way, if you fly in the U.S.A. make sure to check the FAA’s Flight Delay Information at major airports before you fly.

Flight Attendant Hotel Christmas

Also, at our hotels down-route, the airline provides us with Christmas dinner which the entire crew, and any friends or family that have accompanied us turn into a merry celebration. 

Flight Attendant Christmas in St Lucia, the Caribbean

One great trip I had was a 5-day St Lucia, where Christmas Day fell in the middle of the trip, and as I sat on the white-sand beach, cocktail in hand, enjoying the sun, I thought well, I’m not with family, but this beats sitting in the house, stuffed to the gunnels with chipolatas, playing charades.

Christmas Day, Holiday, Any day – Makes no difference for flight and cabin crews

Of course, not everyone celebrates this holiday, and really, Christmas Day is like any other in the airline industry. It can be smooth and on time, with happy passengers or it can be tedious and delayed with the crew being tested to their limits. 

My Christmas schedule this year

Whatever’s happening in the skies won’t be affecting me this year though. The roster gods have bestowed me with days off – chipolatas and charades it is!

A Flight Attendant’s Christmas hint to her passengers

But for those who are traveling on the big day, spare a thought (and a few chocolates) for your crew.

Merry Christmas flyers!

See you onboard,


Classic Flight Attendant Christmas Pictures from the 1980s!

As an added bonus to Jasmine’s story, Captain Jetson is proud to offer you a rare glimpse into the past from actual Flight Attendant Christmas moments!

CAL Memories flight attendant christmas schedule
Flight Attendants celebrating an “Airplane Galley Christmas” somewhere across the vast Pacific!
flight attendant christmas schedule, galley
Well deserved flight attendant Holiday flying workload crew rest innovation?
flight attendant christmas schedule, galley disaster
Now, WHO failed to secure the cart in the event of unexpected turbulence???
cabin crew hotel layover gathering
Flight Attendant hotel layover. Cabin crew socializing.

Flight Attendant Christmas Schedule becoming Flight Attendant New Years’ Eve

flight crew celebrating New Years on crew bus in Auckland, New Zealand
On the crew bus: Cabin and Flight Crew on the way to the hotel in Auckland, New Zealand, following a before midnight New Year’s Eve arrival.
cabin crew New Years
Happy New Year from your Cabin Crew!

Featured Image: Unsplash. Flight Attendant photos credit/permission: FA Chris (“Kiwi”), CALmemories.

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