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Jacob Cook
Jacob Cook

The Flight Attendant

American flight attendant Cassie Bowden is a reckless alcoholic who drinks during flights and spends her time having sex with strangers, including her passengers. When she wakes up in a hotel room in Bangkok with a hangover from the night before, she discovers the dead body of a passenger on her last flight lying next to her with his throat slashed. Afraid to call the police, she cleans up the crime scene, then joins the other airline crew traveling to the airport. In New York City, she is met by Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents who question her about the layover in Bangkok. Still unable to piece the night together, and suffering intermittent flashbacks/hallucinations about it, she begins to wonder who the killer could be.

The Flight Attendant


Season 2 takes place a year after the events of the previous season. Cassie now works part-time as an asset for the CIA, where she surveils people in between flights. She has been sober for a year, is a regular member of Alcoholics Anonymous, and has relocated to Los Angeles, where she has a new boyfriend, Marco. During an assignment in Berlin, her target is assassinated by a woman pretending to be her, down to the tattoo. She is haunted by the images of her doppelgänger and tries to figure out who is impersonating her, while suffering hallucinations once again, this time of the past versions of herself who try to persuade her to revert to who she once was. It is later revealed that Cassie's year of sobriety is a sham and that she had relapsed at least twice within that period, but suppressed the memory of doing so.

Flight attendants have variable work schedules, including evenings, weekends, and holidays, because airlines operate every day, and some offer overnight flights. Attendants work in an aircraft and may be away from home several nights per week.

About 18,100 openings for flight attendants are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

Airlines are required by law to have flight attendants aboard aircraft for the safety and security of passengers. The primary job of flight attendants is to keep passengers safe, ensuring that everyone follows security regulations and that the flight deck is secure. Flight attendants also try to make flights comfortable for passengers. At times, they may deal with passengers who display disruptive behavior.

Before takeoff, the captain (pilot) may conduct a preflight briefing with flight attendants about relevant flight information. Details include the number of hours the flight will take, the route the plane will travel, and weather conditions. Flight attendants check that emergency equipment is working, the cabin is clean, and there is an adequate supply of food and beverages on board. Flight attendants greet passengers as they board the aircraft, direct them to their seats, and help as needed.

Flight attendants demonstrate the location and proper use of safety equipment to all passengers, either in person or through a video recording before the plane takes off. They also check that seatbelts are fastened, seats are locked in the upright position, and all carry-on items are properly stowed in accordance with federal law and company policy. They answer questions about the flight and generally assist all passengers, including those with special needs.

Flight attendants work primarily in the cabins of passenger aircraft. Dealing directly with passengers and standing for long periods may be stressful and tiring. Occasionally, flights encounter air turbulence, which may make providing service more difficult and cause anxiety in some passengers. Handling emergencies and unruly customers also may be difficult and stressful.

Flight attendants may spend many nights away from home. Employers typically provide meal allowances and may arrange sleeping accommodations, such as in hotels or apartments shared by a group of flight attendants.

Flight attendants may have variable schedules, and part-time work is common. They often work nights, weekends, and holidays because airlines operate every day and have overnight flights. They may spend several nights per week or per month away from home. In most cases, a contract between the airline and the flight attendant union determines the total daily and monthly workable hours.

On-duty shifts per day may vary from 4 to 18 hours or longer, such as for international flights. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires specific hours of rest between duty periods based on the duration of a completed duty period. Each month, flight attendants may fly a specified number of hours and generally spend another specified number of hours on the ground preparing flights, writing reports, and waiting for aircraft to arrive.

As they earn more seniority, flight attendants may have more control over their schedules. For example, some senior flight attendants may choose to live outside their home base and commute to work. Others may choose to work only on regional flights. On small corporate airlines, flight attendants may work on an as-needed basis.

Flight attendants receive training from their employer and must be certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Flight attendants typically need a high school diploma or the equivalent and work experience in customer service.

Applicants must meet minimum age requirements, typically 18 or 21; be eligible to work in the United States; have a valid passport; and pass a background check and drug test. They must have vision that is correctable to at least 20/40 and often need to conform to height requirements set by the airline. Flight attendants also may have to pass a medical evaluation.

Flight attendants typically need 1 or 2 years of work experience in a service occupation before getting their first job as a flight attendant. This experience may include customer service positions in restaurants, hotels, or resorts. Experience in sales or in other positions that require close contact with the public and focus on service to customers also may help develop the skills needed to be a successful flight attendant.

Trainees learn emergency procedures such as evacuating aircraft, operating emergency equipment, and administering first aid. They also receive specific instruction on flight regulations, company operations, and job duties.

Toward the end of the training, students go on practice flights. They must complete the training to keep a job with the airline. Once they have passed initial training, new flight attendants receive the FAA Certificate of Demonstrated Proficiency and continue to receive additional on-the-job training as required by their employer.

Career advancement is based on seniority. On international flights, senior attendants frequently oversee the work of other attendants. Senior attendants may be promoted to management positions in which they are responsible for recruiting, instructing, and scheduling.

Communication skills. Flight attendants should speak clearly and interact effectively with passengers and other crewmembers. They also must be able to write concisely when documenting in-flight issues.

The median annual wage for flight attendants was $61,640 in May 2021. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $37,020, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $81,400.

Flight attendants receive an allowance for meals and accommodations while working away from home. Although attendants may be required to purchase an initial set of uniforms and luggage, their employer usually pays for replacements and upkeep. Flight attendants generally are eligible for discounted airfare or free standby seats through their airline.

Much of the projected employment growth in this occupation is due to recovery from the COVID-19 recession of 2020 and is likely to occur early in the projections decade. A return to normal patterns of travel following the pandemic is expected to support job growth of flight attendants, who will continue to be needed to ensure the safety and comfort of passengers on flights.

What, I wondered, was going to happen to the fellow flight attendant played by the wonderful Rosie Perez, whose story had been on a slow simmer but clearly had more to come, given that they went to the trouble of going out and getting the wonderful Rosie Perez? What of Cassie's interior conversations? What of the person who just ... well, you gotta get to the end of the fourth episode; that wouldn't be fair. How could I ... how could I properly write about it?

Based on Chris Bohjalian's book, it starred Kaley Cuoco as Cassie, the titular flight attendant who woke up one morning after a wild night of partying and found a dead guy in bed with her. She spent the rest of the season not just trying to figure out what happened, but wrestling with her addiction to alcohol, the trauma in her past, and her troubled relationships with her best friend and her brother.

When we dive into the second season, the first two episodes of which are now streaming on HBO Max, we find Cassie a changed woman. She explains straightaway, in her A.A. meeting, that she lives in L.A. now, she's been sober for a year, she's dating a hot guy named Marco, and while she's still a flight attendant, she also has a second job. She does not specify to the group what the second job is, but it turns out she's now working as a CIA asset, a direct result of the events of the first season. That role is useful for TV purposes, since working with the CIA allows Cassie to end up in an entirely new season-two mess without it appearing like dumb luck that this one flight attendant gets into two separate messes, one after the other. 041b061a72


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