Replacing the discontinued Landlord, the Flight Attendant veers in a different path. While the Landlord was an exceptionally fun board with strong freestyle tendencies that still got the job done all over the mountain, the Flight Attendant is a much more serious ride. Burton apparently wanted to make a change from the Landlord and they definitely did.
Despite testing a relatively long length (163cm, the longest in our test), the Flight Attendant was poor at powder flotation. After several powder test days, we ultimately moved the bindings much further back than we are accustomed to in order to achieve adequate float. This resulted in decent powder performance, but with a somewhat awkward ride quality. Many powder specific shapes (think of Burton's own Fish, Skipjack, or Cheetah models) are designed to excel in powder by creating a directional board with a longer nose and a shorter tail. While you can crudely approximate this by moving the bindings back on any a more twin-tip type board, the result is much more plodding and less nimble. The primary benefit of this tradeoff for the more twin tip boards is the improved switch riding performance. Riding switch can be nearly impossible on some extreme directional boards, but definitely an option with the Flight Attendant. The Flight Attendant's nose is 10mm wider than its tail. This 10mm of taper should help with powder floatation, but it wasn't very noticeable when riding. The minimal amount of taper also is not enough to negatively impact its switch abilities.
Powder testing the Flight Attendant.
In steep sustained alpine powder conditions the Flight Attendant was more adept, as we were able to consistently maintain the higher speed necessary to achieve float. In the terrain that we tested this split, that open alpine terrain would eventually end, and we found the board more challenging to navigate through the tight forest or gully exists below.
The beginning of our testing season was characterized by very little snow and scary drought conditions. Soft snow was rare and firm snow abounded. The Flight Attendant was solid at holding an edge in steep, firm snow. On tight steep firm terrain, often found in couloirs, its weight makes hopping from one edge to the other physically demanding, but the edge hold is reliable. On longer icy traverse the edge hold was quite good.
Being on the heavier end of the spectrum, the Flight Attendant is taxing to haul up the mountain. The camber underfoot does help maintain solid skin grip on the snow. The stiffer overall flex is also beneficial when climbing, especially on steeper side hills. Additionally, the longer overall length of the board we tested adds more edge contact which can be advantageous traversing steep slopes.
Burton Flight Attendant 163 weight in pounds: 9.86
The channel system works well and makes altering one's stance fairly simple. With most angles, you can access the bolts through binding which allows for convenient fine-tuning of width and angle setup. If you are someone who frequently shifts your stance around, the channel system makes sense.
We did not find Flight Attendant to be very playful. It was quite stiff, which for us limited its freestyle potential.
This is totally subjective, but we really like the top sheet and base art of the Flight Attendant
Flight Attendant catching evening light on Carson Pass.
It doesn't magically prevent snow from sticking to it (which basically nobody has figured out how to achieve), but it looks cool. Plus the artist, Jonathan Zawada, is from Australia and his website is amazing: http://www.zawada.art
Additionally, Burton has set impressive Sustainability goals for itself to hit by 2020. Good work Burton!
Folks who are bigger and/or stronger than average and prefer stiff freestyle boards are good candidates for the Flight Attendant. Additionally, living in a region with a bounty of alpine terrain would be ideal. Basically big burly Alaskans who love to go fast and occasionally get a heli bump into the alpine and then splitboard tour from there are great candidates for the Flight Attendant. Alternatively, anyone who likes to ride hard and appreciates a stout board.
With a full retail of $799, the Flight Attendant is one of the most expensive splits in our review. If you place significant value on the Burton brand then the cost can be justified, but there are significantly cheaper splits available if your brand loyalty is low.
Burton Flight Attendant base.
The Flight Attendant is a sturdy splitboard from one of the biggest snowboard companies in the world. If you prefer stiffer boards and a freestyle shape this one is worth consideration.