A common question that women have when considering a career as a flight attendant if they can continue to work if they become pregnant. This is makes sense since many first time flight attendants are also at the age where starting a family in the next few years is a possibility.
The last thing that you would want to do is spend all of the time, money, and effort to become a flight attendant only to find out that you’ll lose your job when the day comes for you to have children.
We have seen a lot of conflicting information on this topic online so we took the time to research the issue so we can provide you with the answer.
Can you continue to work as a flight attendant while pregnant?
No, most airlines will not allow flight attendants to fly while pregnant due to safety concerns.
In this article we will take a look at some of the specifics around this question including what flight attendants do when pregnant, why they generally should not fly, and some other common questions.
Airline Policy for Pregnant Flight Attendants
Most airlines will pull a flight attendant from flying when she informs management/HR that she is pregnant. She is the give a role on the ground that allows her to keep working safely while she is pregnant.
Most airlines also have policies that require flight attendant report that they are pregnant to their manager or Human Resources.
The decision to keep them from flying is based on research that shows there is added risk to flying when you are pregnant. In the next section we will take a closer look at these risks.
*Related: Can I work as a flight attendant part time?
Health Risks for Flight Attendants
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) there are health risks to flying while pregnant. Here are the 3 major factors they have cited:
Cosmic Ionizing Radiation
Cosmic ionizing radiation is a form of radiation that comes from outer space. While a small amount of this radiation reaches earth, being at higher altitudes (like in an aircraft) exposes you to higher amounts of it.
This has shown to potentially have negative effects on human health including a potential link to cancer and reproductive health issues. These reproductive health issues can include miscarrage.
Disruption to Circadian Rhythm
Your body has a standard schedule that tells you when you should be asleep and when you should be awake. This is called your circadian rhythm. Flight attendants and others in the aviation industry often are required to work at odd hours. This can lead to getting less sleep than your body needs and being forced to sleep at times that go against your circadian rhythm.
Studies have show that these sleep related issues can cause negative health effects for pregnant women.
Physical Job Demands
Flight attendants have many physical demands they deal with while performing their job duties. This includes having to life and/or carry heavy items, standing for long periods of time, and bending at the waist on a regular basis.
These tasks can be very physically demanding, especially for a pregnant woman. Doctors (and the CDC) recommend against pregnant women performing these tasks at work on a regular basis. Since being a flight attendant requires performing these tasks, it is yet another reason most airlines will ground a flight attendant when pregnant.
Do Flight Attendants Lose their Job When Pregnant?
No, airlines will typically allow a flight attendant to work a position on the ground crew until they leave for maternity leave.
This allows them to stay with the airline, continue to work, and maintain their benefits until they have the baby and/or leave on maternity leave. They can then return to work as a flight attendant after their maternity leave and a doctors clearance.
What Jobs Will Flight Attendants do While Pregnant?
When a flight attendant becomes pregnant she will be given a ground position. This varies by airline and staffing needs but includes helping with duties like getting passengers checked in, customer service, working at the airport lounge, and other roles that can be safely performed while pregnant.
Are Flight Attendants Allowed to Return to Flying After Maternity Leave?
Absolutely! Once maternity leave is over flight attendants are welcome to pick up where they left off and resume working on flights. There is no reason why a new mother can’t come back to work as a flight attendant.
According to the CDC, flying while pregnant can be unhealthy for pregnant women and can lead to miscarriage. For this reason, airline will have “ground” a flight attendants as soon as they learn she is pregnant.
This allows her to keep her job as well as keep her and the baby safe until she gives birth.
Flight attendants have one of the most important roles on a flight and it’s vital that they are treated well and that aviation policies prioritize their health.