Flight Attendants: Office at 37,000 Feet

by EarPopper

Office in the Clouds

The working conditions of a flight attendant…

Jetting through their workday at 500 mph, flight attendants have the ultimate “corner” office with an ever changing view! Working at 37,000 feet provides a different view on life and travel. The world is theirs to explore and simply a hop away.

I have worked alongside flight attendants in some capacity for the past 10 years and I have observed the following:

Flight Attendants tend to adapt well to constant changing situations and have learned to deal with life away from the comforts of home.

I have also found they tend to have a different view of health issues when traveling. Unable to “go home early” mid flight, flight attendants often can be found packing comfort solutions. Constant exposure to international germs, they use products they’ve found or heard to be effective in avoiding illness. Flight attendants form a massive network and when an item is hot, it buzzes through the network faster than a jet.

As a nurse consultant, there are two things I discuss with flight attendants and am pretty much guaranteed to get the same response:

Flight Attendant View #1: Respect for unexpected turbulence and a need for safety in flight.

This morning I read about a flight attendant who suffered a broken leg when the plane hit unexpected turbulence. All veteran flight attendants can tell you either personal stories or someone they know suffering some type of injury in flight – some suffering life-long chronic pain. I personally have met flight attendants who have been knocked unconscious, fallen on passengers, or been thrown into walls as a result of unexpected turbulence. Recently I asked flight attendants to write a few comments on their view of flying with a lap held child. That post is here.

© Scott Stanley

Flight Attendant View #2: Acceptance of this fact: Ear issues come with the job.

When flight attendants hear about the EarPopper, they passionately tell me about their ear issues. Most admit to sinus/congestion issues which affect their ears, cause missed work and years of misery, and for some result in chronic hearing loss.

I was surprised then when one flight attendant wrote she believes many flight attendants don’t even remember what healthy ears feel like and just accept it as part of their career.

I was really surprised by this. Then I started asking more flight attendants. Yes, it was true!

Read Veteran Flight Attendant and Travel Writer Mary Jo’s post regarding side effects of life in the sky:


Many flight attendants admit they suffer blocked ears or ear issues ALL THE TIME. I type in caps as representation of the passion they express when describing these years of ear issues! Many emails are filled with underlined words, capital letters and exclamation marks when sharing information about ear issues. From being grounded to suffering excruciating pain, these flight attendants have suffered quietly with ear issues to do the job they love!

Travel writer and Former Flight Attendant Beth Blair shares her inflight experience of such excruciating ear pain, and how she ended up crouched  in agony on the galley floor! http://thevacationgals.com/how-to-help-ear-pressure-while-flying-earpopper/

Just as many are resigned to decreased benefits, disrespectful passengers, and air rage, these same flight attendants have accepted ear pain, hearing loss, and pressure as part of the job! Years of decongestant use and disappointing medical appointments have taken their toll and ear issues remain very much a part of life in the sky.

As EarPopperNurse, a mission of mine is to educate flight attendants about a simple solution they can pack in their bag to keep ears healthy and clear for constant changing air pressure associated with flying. The EarPopper is battery operated and as long as the batteries are changed, this device can be used for a lifetime of cleared ears!

The challenge for me has been to reach flight attendants through the “thick layer” representing years of acceptance. Many are resigned to these ear issues after suffering for years with ear pain and pressure, missing work, attending disappointing medical appointments, and accepting this is just how things are.

Although not guaranteed to work for everyone, there is a natural solution which may be used for years, before, during, and after flights to prevent and treat negative middle ear pressure.

I need to break through acceptance of decreased ear function, urge flight attendants to question their decreased quality of life, and once again have hope they don’t have to suffer for a lifetime with hearing loss due to negative middle ear pressure.

Education and a true understanding of ear function is necessary for flight crews. Flying with a cold or allergies may be tough, but flying after a cold or sinus issues may be just as bad if congestion remains around the Eustachian tube and flight attendants are unable to clear their ears when flying. Ruptured or painful eardrums do not have to be included in the job description.

I have slowly reached these same flight attendants who were once so skeptical, and are now clearing their ears in flight with the EarPopper. Relief may not be instantaneous and may require daily use of the EarPopper to help chronic airplane ears. But for those who begin to feel their blocked ear respond, the joy is passionate and contagious! I am reminded of my son’s joyful response every time he uses the EarPopper in flight.

For those who suffer ear pain or pressure, laughter and joy are a welcome alternative to being crouched over in pain in the galley or arriving home with blocked ears and decreased hearing.

EarPopper has changed the way we fly and eliminated ear issues due to congestion, allergies, and rapid descent. For those who work at ever changing altitudes, side effects like ear pain jeopardize quality of life, health, work, and travel.

When yawning, swallowing, or the gentle Valsalva Maneuver no longer work – EarPopper is a career tool to increase quality of work, travel, and life for flight crews and frequent fliers.

My message to all Flight attendants: There is no need to suffer ear issues associated with flying, or congestion from allergies and colds! Pack the EarPopper for relief.

I look forward to the day this message becomes hot and flies through the flight attendant network faster than a jet!

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