How to Become a Flight Attendant

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How to Become a Flight Attendant: Career Path Guide

If you are interested in customer service, traveling, and ensuring the safety and comfort of others, then becoming a flight attendant may be an excellent career choice for you!

 

So, let’s figure out how you can break into this field! You’ll need to know what type of education and skills you will need, and you’ll probably want an idea of what you’ll actually be doing, where you could be working, and what you could earn.

 

All of the information you'll need is provided below, in this How to Become a Flight Attendant: Career Path Guide.

 

 

Education Needed to Become a Flight Attendant

When applying for flight attendant jobs, airlines may or may not give preference to you if you have a university or college education. Coursework in certain fields however, such as languages and communication, will allow you develop skills that will help you in this career.

 

 

 

Flight Attendant Job Description

As a flight attendant, you would be responsible for acting as an ambassador between the airline you work for and its customers, by ensuring the comfort and safety of passengers during their flight. 

 

Because of the limitations of what the general public can see, there may be a misconception that flight attendants are simply responsible for serving drinks to passengers and conducting scripted safety demonstrations.

 

While these are indeed important functions, the job of ensuring the safety and comfort of passengers actually carries a considerable amount of responsibility. The greatest of which is to help passengers in the event of an emergency.

 

 

Flight Attendant Job Duties

As a flight attendant, you would be responsible for performing various duties related to ensuring the safety and comfort of passengers. These duties include:

 

• Ensure emergency and safety equipment is functioning properly

• Check the general condition of the aircraft cabin and ensure all necessary supplies are on board

• Meet with the captain for a flight conditions briefing, such as anticipated weather and planned altitudes

• Find out how many passengers are booked for the flight and if any require special assistance

• Greet arriving passengers and check boarding passes

• Help passengers find their seats and ensure carry-on luggage is securely stowed

• Perform a passenger head count and advise the captain

• Provide information about emergency exits and demonstrate safety features

• Ensure seat belts are properly fastened and other safety regulations are observed

• Distribute reading material, pillows, blankets or headphones

• Offer beverages and snacks from a tray or trolley

• Serve meals on longer flights

• Deal with emergency situations, such as unruly passengers, medical emergencies, fires and evacuations

• Attend to passengers with special needs, or those requiring special assistance

 

 

Flight Attendant Salary

"How much can I make as a flight attendant?" Maybe that’s the first question you had, and we have the information all the way down here. The salary level you could earn can vary widely, and is typically based on the following factors:

 

• Your level of experience

• The region that you are based out of

• The size and type of the airline you work for

• How many hours a month you will be flying

• Whether or not you are flying overseas

 

Flight Attendant Salary Canada: According to Service Canada, the average salary level of Canadian workers in the Pursers and Flight Attendants occupational group is $39,511 per year.

 

Flight Attendant Salary United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary level of American workers in the Flight Attendants occupational group is $37,240 per year. Salaries in the 10th percentile of this group are less than $27,240, and those in the 90th percentile are above $66,460 per year.

 

 

Work Schedules for Flight Attendants

As a flight attendant, you could work a variety of different possible schedules. Your schedule would likely involve working during a chunk of consecutive days, and then having a large chunk of days off afterwards. This type of schedule is commonly known as "shift work". As an example of shift work, it is common for flight attendants to work for 7 consecutive days, and then have 7 consecutive days off.

 

Regardless of your shift schedule, your national aviation authority (the FAA in the United States and Transport Canada in Canada) will dictate a maximum amount of hours that you are able to work during the month. Your shift schedule would also revolve around the scheduled flights of your airline. You would likely have to work flights at various times of the day during your shift, which could include early morning, mid-day and late night flights.

 

Depending on the airline you work with, you may be placed in a casual or reserve position to begin your career. This type of position would not necessarily involve having a fixed schedule. Rather, you would be placed on-call, and cover shifts for other flight attendants in the event of their absence.

 

 

Work Environment for Flight Attendants

As a flight attendant, you would work primarily in the cabin of passenger aircraft. Your work can become stressful, such as when dealing with unruly passengers and although rare, emergency situations.

 

Your work may also become tiring, as you may have to stand for long periods of time, and frequently lift carry-on luggage and other items.

 

It would not be uncommon for you to have to spend many nights away from home, often sleeping in hotels or apartments shared by a group of fellow flight attendants.

 

 

 

 

Characteristics Needed to Become a Flight Attendant

Now that you have a good idea of what flight attendants do, you need to determine if your personality traits will be compatible with this career. Having the right personality for the job is not only something employers will look for, it is something that will ensure you are happy in your work. Does the following describe you?

 

• You are safety conscious, and have a customer service oriented attitude (employers look for this the most!)

• You have energy and assertiveness

• You have professionalism and tact

• You have respect for people of diverse backgrounds

• You are able to follow direction, and work in a team environment

• You have the ability to connect with people

• You enjoy having clear guidelines for your work

• You enjoy the idea of a career that allows you to travel

• You enjoy the idea of a career that allows you to look after the comfort and safety of others

• You enjoy the idea of a career that offers scheduling perks when seniority is achieved

• You should have a professional appearance (no visible tattoos, body piercings, or an unusual hairstyle or makeup)

 

 

Skills Needed to Become a Flight Attendant

In addition to the right personality, you’ll need a certain skill set in order to become a flight attendant. You must be able to:

 

• Effectively handle diverse and challenging situations with poise and diplomacy

• Speak a second or third language (not always a requirement)

• Act decisively in emergency situations

• Lift baggage, and stand and walk for long periods of time

• Speak clearly, listen attentively, and interact comfortably with team members and the general public

 

 

Basic Requirements for Becoming a Flight Attendant

You have a good idea of what you'll be doing, and you have the right personality and skills for the job. You're just about ready to start applying for jobs!

 

Not so fast though, prior to applying for a flight attendant job with an airline, you will need to make sure that you meet their basic requirements. Although these requirements vary from airline to airline, they usually include:

 

• Being at least 18 years of age (typically, a maximum age does not exist)

• Possession of a valid passport for the country in which you will be working

• Legally allowance to work in the specified country

• Possession of a high school graduation diploma or its equivalent

• The ability to pass the airline’s correctable vision requirements

• The ability to pass security clearance (which typically involves not having a criminal record)

• A professional appearance and excellent grooming

• The ability to speak a second language (not always a requirement)

• Height of between 5’1”, and 6’3”, or the ability to reach a certain height with arms extended

• The ability to pass the airline's medical (usually administered during the training phase)

 

 

Training for Becoming a Flight Attendant

If you meet the pre-requisites for becoming a flight attendant, you can apply for a job with the airline of your choice. Upon being hired, you will be required to complete an in-house training program with other new hires.

 

As a trainee, you will learn emergency procedures such as evacuating aircraft, operating emergency equipment, and administering first aid. You will also receive specific instruction on flight regulations, company operations, and your job duties.

 

You must successfully complete the training to keep your job with the airline. Successful completion typically involves maintaining a certain average on all written and oral tests, and successfully performing the physical requirements of the job.

 

Depending on the airline, new hire training with an airline can last anywhere from 3 to 8 weeks. Class hours may include nights and weekends.

 

 

Experience Needed to Become a Flight Attendant

Some fight attendant job postings will state that you must have a few years worth of experience in dealing with the public, in a customer service based job, in order to be considered for the position. This experience commonly includes customer service positions in restaurants, bars, hotels, or resorts.

 

Even when it is not listed as a formal requirement, this kind of experience is often considered an asset, as it shows employers that you have had a chance to develop the customer service skills needed of flight attendants.

 

 

Who Creates Jobs for Flight Attendants?

Most flight attendants work for large commercial airlines, so it's with larger airlines that you are likely to begin your job search. You may however, also be able to find work with smaller airlines and chartered flight companies.


 

Flight Attendant Job Postings

You should now have a pretty good idea of what you'll be doing as a flight attendant, and what it takes to become one. Ready to apply for some jobs? Visit our job board to browse flight attendant job postings, and apply to any that appeal to you. You can also use the information on the job postings to find out more about what it takes to become a flight attendant, by looking at each employer’s requirements.

Career Advancement for Flight Attendants

If you are strongly considering becoming a flight attendant, you may want an idea of what career opportunities you will have once you gain some experience.

 

 

As you gain experience, you will gain seniority with your employer. This usually involves being rewarded with a more structured flight schedule, and will likely a higher salary. It is important to remember, competition for advancement to these senior positions is often quite keen.

 

Depending on the opportunities available with your airline, or external employers, you may also advance to supervisory positions such as in-flight supervisor, passenger or flight service director, or flight attendant training instructor. 

 

 

Careers Similar to Flight Attendant

Listed below are careers in our database that are similar in nature to Flight Attendant, as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.

 

Airline Customer Service Agent: Airline customer service agents help customers book flights with major airlines by informing them of available flights, seating, dates, times, prices and any other special considerations.

 

Airport Security Officer: Airport security officers are responsible for screening passengers who are preparing to board an airline. They must ensure that no dangerous passengers or items make it aboard the airline.

 

Customer Service Representative: Customer service representatives are responsible for responding to customer questions, complaints, concerns and general feedback relating to their company’s products or services.

 

Retail Sales Associate: A retail sales associate is an employee of a retail store who facilitates the sales of that store’s goods to the general public by providing information to customers regarding the store’s products.

 

 

References: Flight Attendant Career Information

To find out more about what a flight attendant does, how much they earn, and other details of this career, please consult the following resources:

 

Alberta Learning and Information Service website: alis.alberta.ca

Air Canada website: www.aircanada.com

United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website: www.bls.gov

 

 

Scholarships for Becoming a Flight Attendant

Looking for Canadian or American scholarships to help you on your way to becoming a flight attendant? We’ve got you covered! Here's how to find the best-suited scholarships:

 

• On academicinvest.com, our scholarship listings are sorted by major

• The “Applicable Majors” section below shows majors that apply to this career

• Visit our All Scholarships by Major page to find scholarships sorted by those majors

 

 

Applicable Majors for Becoming a Flight Attendant

The university majors below are applicable to a career as a flight attendant, as they can teach you relevant skills and competencies. Click on the majors to find out what other careers are applicable to them!

 


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