A pilot named Sabrina, or @sabrinaleej on Tiktok, shared a story about how she was mistaken for a flight attendant by an unaware airport employee.
She posted a video on the social media platform.
Sabrina might have let it go if it had happened once or twice. But the caption over the video read, “gate agent looked me in the eye today, asked if I was the flight attendant. A common occurrence.”
Pilots have a uniform which distinguishes them from the flight crew; something Sabrina believes airport employees should know more than anyone.
What Were Her Thoughts?
In her interview with The Independent, Sabrina said, “it happens more often than I would like to see in real life between gate agents mostly. Those especially that have tried to issue me a flight attendant jump seat. I would have to correct them, saying that I need the jump seat in the cockpit.”
“Or I’d respond by simply stating, ‘Yeah, I’m a pilot.’ And a lot of people are very nice and they take the comment well. But every now and then it gets a little mean.”
How Did Tik Tok Users Respond?
Sabrina’s video pulled in 1.5 million views as of November 2.
TikTok users suggested how Sabrina should reply if she finds herself in the same position again.
One user wrote, “that’s when you say: ‘yeah I am [a flight attendant], but I thought I’d try flying the plane today, too.’”
Someone said, “ask them if they are new, and tell them you will explain how to differentiate the uniforms so they don’t embarrass themselves again.”
A third quipped, “as a flight attendant, I’m offended for you. Unacceptable. They KNOW our uniforms.”
Some users mentioned they could relate to the experience in their own fields.
“When people walk into MY law firm they ask me if I’m the receptionist,” someone complained.
“I’m the boss of a million dollar company, and one of my clients said, ‘I shouldn’t be so arrogant because I was just an assistant,’” shared another.
Sabrina Has Nothing But Love For Flight Attendants
Sabrina posted a follow up video stating that there’s nothing wrong with being a flight attendant.
But there’s obviously a difference in skill set and power.
“Being called a flight attendant is not an insult,” Sabrina wrote over the second video. “It’s an insult when it’s used to try to put me down after all my hard work. When you do that, you are insulting both me and flight attendants.”
The Pilot World Is White Male Dominated
According to Reuters, the industry “is traditionally dominated by white men.”
United Airlines is one carrier that has been pushing for more diversity.
In April 2021, they announced wanting “women and people of color to make up at least half of the 5,000 pilots” they plan to train over the next decade at their flight academy.
The Federal Aviation Administration said “women make up less than 10% of aviation pilots, executives, and mechanics. In comparison, nearly 80% of flight attendants are women.”