Air hostie: ‘People are scared of me’
As airlines around the world ground their fleet, the ongoing spread of COVID-19 has thrown the aviation industry into turmoil.
But a number of cabin crew workers who are continuing to fly on board a shrinking amount of planes around the world say their once "glamorous" roles in the sky have left them feeling ashamed about the work that they do.
According to some airline workers, many have been turned away from restaurants, avoided by friends and family as well as receiving letters to not leave their homes simply because of their job titles.
Speaking to news.com.au, air hostess Danielle - who asked to keep her airline employer anonymous - said a growing number of friends and family had refused to go near her because of her job.
"I've kept away from my family because of health issues and age, but now my significant other refuses to come near me for as long as I'm flying," she said.
"Our friends will not come around me."
Danielle, who told news.com.au she has been an air hostess for six years, said she was even rejected from being served at a restaurant because staff were "scared" of her
"I've definitely been treated differently because of my job," she explained.
"While on a layover recently and going downstairs to order food, the staff were scared to wait on us. After we had left they closed the restaurant down for the remainder of time and would do room service orders only."
Danielle isn't alone with her experience.
A growing number of cabin crew workers around the world have posted to Facebook to vent their concerns over being profiled because of their job.
"The manager of a building here in Brazil put a sign in the elevator asking people to avoid leaving their apartments because there were many cabin crew members who live [in the building]," one person wrote on the social media platform.
"Crew are not allowed to visit the hotel restaurant we stay in Christchurch," another reported. "People are avoiding us, because we 'carry' the virus."
"My housemates think I am a virus carrier when I'm back from a flight, they are so scared of me! They keep on asking me why my airline still flying? I feel like slapping their face and tell them if we don't fly who is going to bring back the passengers to their loved ones?"
One air hostess added that they often stared at in public simply because of their uniform.
Danielle said that since the outbreak swept the world, she's been forced to "prove" to friends and family that she isn't carrying the virus.
"My job went from being glamorous because we can travel," she said.
"For as long as I'm flying … my boyfriend and our friends do not want to come around me until I can be off for 14 days to prove I have been infected or not by the virus."
Earlier this month, Business Insider spoke to a number of airline workers from several different airlines about how they felt about being on planes during the outbreak given they are "on the front line of any communicable disease."
One United Airlines flight attendant, who didn't want to be named, said she wasn't "anxious" of the possibility of catching the virus.
"As a flight attendant I'm exposed daily to so many germs," she said.
"I feel like we realise that we could potentially be exposed to anything and just take general universal precautions (which is something I always do regardless).
"I wouldn't describe myself as 'anxious' so much as 'aware'. In my line of work, you always have to be conscientious about your health, so washing my hands frequently, eating healthy, and trying to get enough sleep is always a priority, and in light of the COVID-19 situation, I am trying to be even more dedicated to these precautions."
Originally published as Air hostie: 'People are scared of me'