Flight attendant vs. ground attendant: the differences!
By Sharita, ground attendant at Swissport.
As a ground attendant, I am a distant ‘relative’ of the flight attendant. But although our names may be similar, the work I do is completely different!
1. High altitude versus below sea level
While flight attendants operate at high altitude, as a ground attendant I work below sea level in many different places at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol: at check-in, at the gate during boarding, in the terminal and sometimes in business class lounges as well. No two days are the same. Each place has its own dynamic, and there is a wide variety of work to do. If you ask me, the choice of location is an easy one ;-).
2. ‘Is this your suitcase?’ or ‘Chicken or pasta?’
Not only is the place different, but so is the type of work. Your journey begins with us: ground attendants. We check you in, check your travel documents and weigh your baggage. We roam around to help you with questions, and stand by the gate in the end to let you on board. We also hand over a list of all the checked-in passengers to our flying colleagues. They then count the passengers in the aircraft based on this list, graciously explain the safety instructions and provide you with everything you need throughout the entire flight.
3. How tall you need to be
Because of this difference in location and type of work, our functions also have some different requirements. Do you want to work as a flight attendant on an aircraft? Then you must be able to easily reach the highest compartments, but at the same time shouldn’t bump your head everywhere you go. The height range is between 1.57m and 1.90m. You must also be able to see clearly in every situation on the aircraft, so the strength of your glasses cannot fall outside the range of -5 to +5. These requirements are less strict for ground personnel. We can use a stepladder to reach high cabinets, and since there are so many people working who have good eyes, it’s fine if someone’s eyesight isn’t exactly perfect.
4. One goal
Whichever way you look at it, we both work towards the same goal: helping passengers. On the ground and in the air, we do whatever it takes to get your trip off to a flying start!