With opportunities to travel to new places and meet people all over the world, flight attendants have a fulfilling and adventurous career. The cabin crew has a responsibility to keep passengers safe, must endure long hours and weather delays, and navigate all kinds of customer service situations. If you’re wondering, “What’s it like to be a flight attendant?” this article is for you.
As we examine what a typical day in the life of a flight attendant looks like, we will discuss flight attendant salary, benefits, and responsibilities. In addition, we will share a step-by-step guide on how to secure a job to kickstart your career in the field.
What Is a Flight Attendant?
A flight attendant is a member of an airplane’s cabin crew that caters to passengers’ comfort and safety needs. They assist passengers during emergencies and carry out routine checks in preparation for takeoffs and landings. During trips, flight attendants adhere to rules and regulations of the aviation industry.
What Does a Flight Attendant Do On a Daily Basis?
On a daily basis, flight attendants assist passengers to ensure that they have a great travel experience all the way from boarding to disembarking from the aircraft. Below are some tasks that facilitate a successful, safe, and secure flight.
- Attends preflight briefings. Before any flight, crew members meet to discuss the flight schedule and trip details. They also receive instructions from management on their specific assignments and shift roster.
- Announces safety instructions. Attendants give detailed safety instructions to passengers about the aircraft they are on. They demonstrate procedures where necessary and ensure all passengers adhere to safety measures before takeoff and in preparation for landing.
- Serves meals and beverages. Among other tasks that ensure the comfort of passengers, members of the cabin crew take orders and provide meal service in-flight.
- Conducts periodic routine checks. Flight attendants conduct regular safety checks. These include ensuring passengers fasten their seat belts, closing storage compartments, and checking that beverage carts and tray tables are in safe positions.
- Responds to emergencies. Airline crews must respond to all types of aircraft emergencies during the flight. From conducting safe water landings to delivering babies, attendants manage and control all kinds of situations.
How Can I Become a Flight Attendant?
While it is possible to become a flight attendant without experience, one must meet specific skills and educational requirements to qualify. Flight attendants must have excellent communication and customer service abilities. Luckily, the educational requirements vary greatly and we will cover different routes to becoming a flight attendant.
Flight Attendant Degrees
Most employers in the airline industry require a bachelor’s degree in a medical or communications-related field like nursing or English. However, you can still land jobs with a high school diploma if you have good communication skills and relevant certifications.
Flight Attendant Online Courses
With online courses, you will receive comprehensive training and gain a fundamental understanding of flight attendants’ responsibilities. There are numerous online courses covering various subjects, from airport transport management and first aid administration to firefighting principles and aircraft accident control.
Flight Attendant Certifications
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, flight attendants must have either a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Certificate of Demonstrated Proficiency or certifications from Flight Attendant Certificate Courses. Certifications usually involve writing exams and airline attendants must complete annual training to remain accredited.
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How Can I Get a Job as a Flight Attendant?
It is essential to streamline your search in specific directions during your job hunt. Your first and most reliable point of search is the airline’s career page. Alternatively, job boards are excellent in this regard because they serve as major meeting grounds for employers and job seekers.
Alternatively, you can also attend career fairs to strengthen your professional network. These fairs have the potential of getting you referrals which could ease your search. Follow the steps below to find a job as a flight attendant.
Steps to Finding a Job as a Flight Attendant
- Get a diploma or college degree. The minimum education requirement for attendants is a high school diploma, although having a college degree can bolster your chances. If you have a degree in public relations or communication, even better. In most cases, you will get official training from your employer before you can become an airline staff.
- Get some experience. A year or two of working experience would enable you to develop relevant skills for this position. Consider working as a customer care representative, even if it’s over the phone. A hospitality job is also a great option to develop skills like communication, attention to detail, situational awareness, and problem-solving.
- Get certified. To work as an attendant, you need to be certified by the Federal Aviation Administration. After training, you will obtain the relevant certification and licenses. You must take examinations and occasionally retrain to remain certified to work on specific airplanes.
- Develop your resume. Before applying for jobs, take some time to develop an effective resume, even if you have no experience. Utilize the keywords you find in job listings and do well to highlight your top skills and experience. Remember, your resume speaks volumes of your abilities, so pay attention to its structure and content.
- Apply for jobs. If you meet all the requirements, which range from education and experience to age and general wellbeing, you can proceed to apply for jobs. You can find numerous opportunities on job boards, career fairs, and career pages of airlines.
What Is the Average Salary of a Flight Attendant?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median wage for flight attendants as of May 2020 was $59,050. In addition, attendants enjoy a variety of benefits, including allowance for meals and accommodations during layovers, paid time-off, and discounted airfares.
Salary for an Entry-Level Flight Attendant
According to data from Payscale, the average annual pay for entry-level flight attendants is $39,584. This value is equivalent to just over $21 an hour. Depending on your skill level, experience, and location, there are opportunities to earn more.
Salary for a Mid-Level Flight Attendant
The average annual pay for mid-level flight attendants is $49,662, according to Payscale. While opportunities for career advancement largely depend on specific factors like the scale of the organization, you can gain relevant certifications that qualify you for senior flight attendant positions.
Salary for a Senior-Level Flight Attendant
Senior flight attendants receive an average annual salary of $60,359. With greater responsibilities, senior positions have an increase in bonuses, flexibility, and travel benefits.
Job Outlook for a Flight Attendant
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 30 percent employment increase for flight attendants through 2030. Much of the openings and increase in demand stems from the return to normalcy of air travel after the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, the future of aviation remains promising as airlines continue to commute people to an increasing number of destinations worldwide.
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Should I Become a Flight Attendant?
Yes, you should. It is a high-paying job that requires travel and minimal education. While you care for passengers and ensure their safety, you get to enjoy other benefits that most jobs can’t offer. In addition to its job perks, you get to visit new places, meet new people, and make long-lasting memories, all while getting paid.
A Day in the Life of a Flight Attendant FAQs
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, shifts are usually between 12 and 14 hours, but some flight attendants may work longer if they are on international flights. Generally, crew members have 60 to 90 hours of flight time in a month.
To be a good flight attendant, you must have good interpersonal skills and excellent customer service. It is also crucial to have the technical knowledge of handling safety equipment to understand core safety procedures. In addition, you should be fit and healthy and be able to lift about 30 pounds of load up to overhead compartments.
A job as a flight attendant can be difficult, and you have to work long hours and often have to be on standby. Starting salary is usually low, and while you get to travel and meet new people, it might be difficult to maintain relationships. There are also chances of burnout and disrupted sleep cycles. Most major airlines impose certain restrictions on flight attendants, such as prohibiting visible tattoos and certain piercings.
In this position, you can design your flight schedule. It also opens opportunities to select commuting routes convenient for you. As a senior flight attendant, you get to enjoy schedule flexibility while qualifying for increased pay.
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