The lifestyle of a flight attendant is often portrayed as sociable and exciting, but it can also be quite lonely. With long hours away from home and a constantly changing schedule, it’s often asked if the profession leads to a higher rate of infidelity.
In theory, working as airline crew provides all the ingredients for cheating. There are plenty of nights away in hotel rooms, a close bond with work colleagues, and even cheap duty-free alcohol. So, is this a recipe for disaster, or are rumours of cheating pilots and flight attendants overblown?
Working as a flight attendant myself, I have my own ideas about where flight attendants stand on the cheating scale. But, I tried to approach this article with an open mind, and to see if I could find any real data first.
So, we will explore the question “do flight attendants cheat a lot?” by first examining profession divorce rates, infidelity statistics, and then, of course, my own personal view!
Transport Workers Divorce Rates
The high divorce rates among flight attendants do raise questions about whether this job is more prone to infidelity. According to the US Labor Bureau of Statistics, over 50% of flight attendants are divorced, a rate that is significantly higher than the national average.
Interestingly, the divorce rate is also significantly higher than the majority of their industry colleagues, including those working on the other side of the flight deck door.
Flight attendants — covered under the wider category of transport workers — sit at the top of the transport workers divorce rate category. In contrast, delving deeper into the numbers showed that their closest colleagues, commercial airline pilots, had a divorce rate of 30%, at the lower range of divorces for transport workers, and significantly under the US average.
Flight Attendant Infidelity Statistics
While divorce rates do not necessarily indicate infidelity, there are studies that suggest flight attendants may be more prone to extramarital affairs than average.
In our quest for statistics — to back up our own experiences in the industry — we found a study conducted by Victoria Milan, a dating site for people seeking extramarital affairs.
Back in 2019 they surveyed nearly 6,000 of their members, asking their married user base where they worked and their profession. Interestingly, flight attendants made up the second-highest proportion of cheaters, only second to bankers and those high-up in the finance industry.
Again, it is difficult to draw conclusions from just one study and important to note that this is not a representative sample of all flight attendants. But it does fit in with our real-world experience, and suggests that the nature of the job may create conditions that facilitate infidelity.
An Anecdotal Look from a Real Flight Attendant
Finally, what’s my view as a flight attendant with over 10 years of experience? On the one hand, I have seen plenty of cheating first hand. From colleagues hooking up in hotels downroute, pilots and cabin crew getting together, to plenty of flirting between crew members and the passengers.
However, I’d also offer a defence. It’s not all flight attendants, and actually, some of the strongest relationships I know are between fellow flight attendants. While the lifestyle can provide more opportunities for infidelity, many airline crew are committed to their relationships and can maintain healthy long-distance relationships despite the obstacles.
For cabin crew that successfully manage to navigate the stresses of jet lag, nights spent apart and plenty of opportunities to cheat, their relationships are arguably stronger than my friends in other industries. The ability to overcome difficulties, and high levels of trust are the foundation of any strong relationship. And, after all, they do say that absence makes the heart grow fonder!
The short answer: Yes, flight attendants do have more affairs than average.
In conclusion, while flight attendants’ reputation for infidelity may be a little overstated at times — it can be backed up by statistics. In virtually all the studies we looked at, flight attendants sit pretty near the top in both divorce and infidelity rates.
The statistics confirm the view I was expecting to see, having spent several years in the profession and witnessed a lot of cheating first hand. However, it’s important to note that rates are not indifferent to many other professions. As an example, divorce statistics for 2023 show flight attendants ranking 6th, behind healthcare workers, bartenders, and even military supervisors.
At the end of the day, people will cheat if they’d like to, regardless of profession. The flight attendant lifestyle can provide more opportunities for cheating, but for those that make it work, it can also lead to exceptionally strong relationships built on trust and understanding.
Ultimately, like any profession, the behaviour of individuals cannot be generalised, and it is up to each individual to maintain their personal and professional integrity.