Being a flight attendant means ensuring the safety of the crew and passengers on a flight. It’s no easy task and requires doing much more than serving drinks. While ensuring the comfort of the passengers, flight attendants must also do everything they can to ensure Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations are strictly followed.
If you love traveling to new places, being in the skies, and helping people reach their destination, then being a flight attendant may be the career for you. Take a look at our guide below on how you can learn to become a flight attendant.
What Is a Flight Attendant?
A flight attendant, also known as a stewardess, is a member of the aircrew. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “they provide routine services and respond to emergencies to ensure the safety and comfort of airline passengers.”
When traveling on a plane, you may have had someone offer you a drink or meal, give you instructions on how to handle emergency procedures, or had someone simply answer a question you may have had; odds are that was a flight attendant doing their job.
What Does a Flight Attendant Do?
Flight attendants have a variety of responsibilities, which range from communicating with the pilot to adding passengers. All of their work is vital to making sure a flight is successful. Below are a few of the duties given to a flight attendant for each flight.
Preflight Briefings with the Pilot
Before taking off, flight attendants give preflight briefings to the pilot. These briefings inform the pilot of the cabin conditions and details of the flight. Other prelight responsibilities of a flight attendant include performing inspections of emergency equipment.
Ensuring the Safety of Passengers
One of the most significant responsibilities of a flight attendant is to make sure passengers are safely secured and prepared for the flight. First, flight attendants demonstrate the use of safety and emergency equipment before takeoff. Flight attendants also ensure passengers have their seatbelts securely fastened and that all other safety measures are followed.
Throughout the flight, flight attendants regularly reassure passengers and keep them up to date on the details of the flight. This includes informing them of when the aircraft hits turbulence, taking care of passengers with special needs, serving and selling snacks, beverages, or meals, and administering emergency medical care when needed.
Essential Flight Attendant Skills
Flight attendants must be able to effectively communicate at all times. Their work involves advising passengers on emergency procedures, communicating with pilots before takeoff, and relaying information during an emergency.
Flight attendants usually receive their schedules in advance, but it is common for flight attendants to be on standby or travel on short notice. They must also be willing to work on weekends, holidays, and other days that other professionals typically have off. On the job, flight attendants must adapt to the various flight situations that may occur during any trip.
When on a flight, flight attendants may have to deal with a difficult passenger, an issue on the plane, or something else that is unexpected. Flight attendants must have the strength of mind and composure to tackle any problem that comes their way without panicking the passengers or crew.
Flight attendants work with the aircrew to ensure the safe passage of everyone onboard the aircraft. While many flight attendant duties require some form of independence, it’s vital that flight attendants work with their crew members at all times.
Flight Attendant Salaries and Job Outlook
The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the annual median pay for a flight attendant is $56,640 per year. On the lowest end of the spectrum, the bottom 10 percent earned less than $29,270. The highest ten percent earned over $80,940 a year.
In addition to their pay, flight attendants receive an allowance for accommodations and meals when they work away from home. Airlines also pay for the upkeep and replacement of flight attendants’ luggage. Flight attendant pay depends on location, airline, and job experience.
Flight attendant employment is expected to grow 10 percent between 2018 and 2028. This is faster than the average expected growth in employment than other occupations.
One of the main reasons for this growth is airlines continued to push for larger planes. Larger planes accommodate more passengers, which requires more flight attendants to attend to passengers on some routes.
How Long Does it Take to Become a Flight Attendant With no Experience?
You can become a flight attendant within a matter of months. However, there are some requirements you must meet before you’re hired.
Becoming a flight attendant luckily doesn’t require more than a high school diploma, which means you don’t have to go to school for four or more years. You will need one or two years of experience in the service industry before being hired as a flight attendant.
Once you’re hired, you will attend flight attendant training. This training is provided by the airline and it can take anywhere from three weeks to six months. This training is required for your FAA certification.
After completing your training and being hired, you’ll work as a flight attendant, but on probation. Probation means you’ll be watched closely as you work. This typically lasts for six months.
Altogether, it can take six months to a year to become a full-fledged flight attendant. However, it’s important to keep in mind the work experience needed to be considered for the occupation and the wait time that comes with being hired by an airline.
How to Become a Flight Attendant: A Step by Step Guide
Step 1: Find Job Openings
Search around for airlines that are currently looking for flight attendants. Reach out to friends and family that work at airlines to see if any openings aren’t listed.
Step 2: Create a Resume
Create a resume or CV that reflects the skills you feel would make you a great flight attendant. Highlight relevant job experience in customer service or care. Point out any relevant skills you’ve acquired outside of work.
Step 3: Prepare for the Job Interview
Look up common interview questions for flight attendant job interviews. Make sure you have appropriate clothing. Bring a copy of your resume. Take time to practice.
Step 4: Be Patient
It can take several weeks to hear back from an employer when applying for a flight attendant position. Be patient, apply to multiple locations, and you’ll become a flight attendant in no time.
Should You Become a Flight Attendant?
With an increase in demand, high salaries, and travel benefits, there are a lot of reasons to become a flight attendant. If you love to travel, want to help people, and enjoy working with a flexible schedule while going out to new and exciting locations, then becoming a flight attendant may be right for you.
FAQ About Becoming a Flight Attendant
No, the only requirement is a high school diploma.
No, you don’t need airline experience, but customer service experience does help your chances of being hired.
There is no maximum age to be a flight attendant, but the minimum age is usually between 18 and 21. Each airline has different requirements.
You don’t have to relocate to be a flight attendant. Many flight attendants do not relocate when hired.
Flight attendants must spend a lot of time on their feet, walking, and helping passengers. You may also have to assist with lifting and moving luggage. Be prepared to spend time walking and standing for long periods.