Holiday Travel Season: High Stress for Flight Attendants

Jim Avila shares details about how airline employees deal with stress.
3:00 | 11/14/12

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Transcript for Holiday Travel Season: High Stress for Flight Attendants
Every day, 30,000 commercial planes take off in the u.S., packed with people and stress. And thousands of flight attendants are now preparing for the thanksgiving flights and they're testing time when passengers can push them to the break point. Abc's senior national correspondent jim avila. Reporter: They are famously caught on tape -- airborne freakouts. If you have , this is your time. Reporter: This american eagle flight attendant roughly inviting passengers to, how do they say it, deplane? The infamous jet blue flight attendant steven slater, who grabbed a beer from the galley. Are you going to lose your job? More than likely. Reporter: And bolted through the emergency exit at new york's jfk. We just had a slide deployment. It was intentionally deployed. The job has become more stressful, because when passengers get on, they're already stressed. Reporter: Sheila dail is a veteran us airways flight attendant. She suffered her own traumatic and incredibly stressful day back in 2009, aboard the miracle on the hudson flight that crash landed in the river. There was a shudder. A few minutes later, we heard, "this is the captain. Brace for impact." Reporter: Unable to sleep for days, and with no one to talk to, dail wished she had someone to call, which drove her to set up a new peer to peer hotline, using 45 vteers in its second year, to answer flight attendant crisis calls at all hours. We help people deal with death on board, serious illness on board. Security issue, weather issues, turbulence. Reporter: The association of flight attendants says incident reports show stress comes from passengers too, "demanding drinks and cussing," another "did some karate moves then rushed at her with his hands out in a choking way." Susan gilliam became part of the crisis team after an emergency landing made her afraid to fly. Sometimes, I'd turn around and just go back home and say it wasn't meant to be. I used all of my sick time. Reporter: Aviation jobs are some of the most stressful in business today. And now flight attendants are learning to comfort each other as they attempt to prevent any more mid-air freak outs.

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