Everything You Need to Know on How to Become a Flight Attendant

With all the glamor and high-flying perks associated with becoming a flight attendant, it’s no wonder why it remains a dream job for many. After all, who wouldn’t want to be able to jet-set around the world and travel to exotic places for free?

If you’re thinking about being a flight attendant, there are a couple of things you have to know first.

Like any other job, there are duties and responsibilities you have to take into account in order to know whether being a flight attendant is the right fit for you.

If you want to know how to become a flight attendant, below are just some of the things that most companies require when hiring flight attendants.

Flight Attendant Application Process

The application process for being a flight attendant usually starts online. Most airline companies have their own careers section where you can send your resume for screening. This process can take anywhere from two to three weeks depending on the bulk of applications they get.

Once you pass the initial screening process, you will then be invited to an open day where you’ll take some tests and do some group activities. If all goes well, then you’ll be offered the position.

It might sound simple, but between the tests and group activities, there are about five rounds that you have to get through in order to get the job. Aside from the group tasks, you’;; also undergo a reach test and interaction assessment.

The group activities are usually meant to test your collaborative skills, while the reach test ensures that you meet their height requirements.

Lastly, the interaction assessment is meant to evaluate how you socialize with others—a crucial part of a flight attendant’s job.

All of the above will be used to decide whether you’ll be offered the job.

Flight Attendant Requirements

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Cathay Pacific Flight Attendants

One of the best things about being a flight attendant is that requirements are not difficult, although the competition is.

For one, the minimum educational requirement for being a flight attendant is a high school diploma or its equivalent. However, having any additional education is definitely an advantage.

English fluency is also important and all applicants will be tested for their fluency in the language.

At least two years of customer experience is also preferable and a requisite for some. If you don’t have any such experience, showing you’re capable of delivering standout customer service can still make you a qualified candidate.

Depending on where the airline company you’ll be applying to is based, they will require that you can work legally in that country. If not, many airlines will also sponsor your working visa should you apply to a company that’s based overseas.

In terms of physical requirements, there’s no specific weight limits, as long as you’re proportionate to your body. Each airline also imposes their own height prerequisites. Usually, you need to be at least 5’2” in height and at least 21 years of age to be considered such as in Emirates.

In other instances, airline companies will waive a height requirement and instead make applicants go through a reach test which requires that you have a reach of anywhere from 208 (Cathay Pacific) to 212 cm (Emirates) at a minimum.

This is different with every airline so make sure to check out their qualifications before sending in your resume.

A lot of people mistakenly think that you have to be outstandingly beautiful in order to be a flight attendant. As long as you have a pleasing personality and a well-groomed appearance, then you can be qualified for the job.

Many airlines will have their own grooming regulations on how you should present yourself. This can be in the form of your hairstyle, hair color, hair length, makeup, or even the jewelry that you wear.

For men, it’s required that you’re always cleanly shaved and sideburns are kept at an acceptable length (no longer than halfway through your ear).

Tattoos, facial piercings, and ear gauges are also a no-no for many airline companies even if you plan on concealing them.

It also follows that your health should be in tiptop condition and that you’re able to fully use all your five senses. In case your vision is not perfect, but is correctable by glasses or contact lenses then you can still be considered for the job.

These are important because you might have to lift heavy baggage or work in tight spaces. The lifestyle of a flight attendant also entails being jet-lagged or having little to no sleep.

Being in the best possible physical condition ensures you can handle working in different shifts in a variety of time zones.

In terms of characteristics and personal qualities, you have to have good communication skills and interpersonal skills, among others in order to effectively engage with different passengers from all over the world.

For personality traits, you must be able to remain calm in emergencies or stressful situations and be able to work well in a team. Being conscientious and resourceful when required are also good traits to have if you plan on taking this job.

Being a flight attendant is a customer-centric job—you have to know how to satisfy your passengers and deliver excellent customer service.

Best of all, you have to be positive and show confidence that you can handle whatever it is that’s thrown your way so that the passengers will know they’re in good hands.

It’s also imperative that you maintain a spotless criminal background record for the last 10 years with no felonies and you must also pass an FBI background check. You’ll be made to undergo drug screening, fingerprint, and background check as well.

More than all of these, however, there are a number of unwritten requirements that you have to take into account such as your willingness to relocate and spend countless of hours away from home. This job also entails physical work and working with many people so if you’re averse to any of the above, you might want to reconsider applying as a flight attendant.

Flight Attendant Training

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Most airlines’ training are paid and span anywhere from two to eight weeks with varying hours. How long your training is conducted depends on whether you’ll be assisting local or international flights and the type of aircraft you’ll be assigned to.

If you’re getting training from an institution that’s not part of must be certified by the Federal Aviation Administration. Take note that FAA also requires being certified for different types of aircrafts you’ll be working in.

These trainings have anywhere from 20 to a hundred candidates participating at a time and passing rate is pegged at 90%.

The passing rate is unusually high since airline companies want to ensure that only the best candidates proceed.

However, being trained by the airline you’ve applied to doesn’t mean you’ll get the job. Each airline has their own methods in conducting their training programs, but what you can expect from these trainings are written exams and practical tests. This includes safety drills and simulations as well as performance duties you have to do on the job.

Of course, all of these will be done with supervision by the training staff.

Once you pass the training phase, then that’s the only time you can officially start being a flight attendant.

In training, flight attendants are taught to value safety above all else. You’ll learn standard airplane safety procedures such as the right way to put luggage and how to make emergency announcements.

Part of the training also includes improving your customer service skills. This means knowing how to interact and handle any disruptive passengers.

Another aspect of flight attendant training are the group and interaction exercises that will assess how you collaborate and socialize with others. This ensures that you could mix with people from all walks of life.

You will also be schooled on how you present yourself, not just physically, but in terms of your personality as well.

Other topics usually covered in flight attendant training are federal aviation regulations, FAA/cabin safety, airport terminology and codes, airplane equipment functionality, flight routes, international geography, first aid, cabin service procedures and as well as plane and emergency evacuation to name a few.

If you fail the training, some airline companies will allow you to retake the test. This is possible if the candidates who passed are considerably less than their current vacancies.    

Flight Attendant Salary

Although being a flight attendant is deemed a glamorous job, the pay actually starts out low. As of 2016, the starting rate is $20.45 per in-flight hour (waiting times in between flights and delays are not paid).

Despite this, all expenses are paid while you’re on the road. You also get more time off than regular employees (expect anywhere from 10 to 21 days off a month depending on your quota and seniority).

Depending on what airline company you work for, there are some who provide profit-sharing schemes with their employees. This means you can earn a minimum of $20,000 to almost $80,000 a year alone. Of course, the longer your tenure is, the better your pay will be over the long run.

Overall, many flight attendants attest that it’s a fun, high-paying job once you get over the first three to five years.

It doesn’t mean you won’t be able to save though. Flight attendant salary is tax-free and you have allowances and discounts to offset many of your expenses.

Flight Attendant Benefits

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As one of the biggest jobs in the travel industry, there are currently more than 100,000 flight attendants employed in the U.S. and about 8,000 are being hired annually. One of the reasons why a flight attendant job is so popular is because of its most obvious benefit—being able to travel the world and getting paid for it!

Aside from this advantage, there are many other perks that come with being a flight attendant. More than just the above average salary, you’ll also get free transport, rent, and bills.

Flight attendants also often receive ticket discounts of as much as 90%, so if you weren’t able to get around as much then you can do so at your own time at an extremely reduced price. This discount is applicable to almost all airlines as well and you can extend these discounts to your family and friends.

The discounts doesn’t stop there since flight attendants are also given hotel, event, retail, and bar discounts. Many flight attendants also receive free tickets to events provided by their airline companies.

There’s also an extensive health coverage plan for cabin crews and their qualified dependents that include dental, vision, and other types of insurance.

Many major airline also have retirement plans in place and profit-sharing schemes for their employees.

More than these benefits, the best thing you can take away from being a flight attendant is having a flexible work schedule. You can swap flights with your colleagues and arrange your in-flight hours so you can have the max number of days off and design your ideal work schedule

How to Be a Successful Flight Attendant

If all of the above info only served to strengthen your decision to become a flight attendant, then read on for more tips on how to succeed in the field.

Being a flight attendant is synonymous with having standout professionalism. No matter what situation you find yourself in, acting in an appropriate, polished manner is what will establish whether you’re bound to last in your job or not.

Whether you’re dealing with a difficult passenger or an emergency, this is where your safety-conscious and customer service skills should come in handy. You have to be calm and knowledgeable in order to keep things from escalating further.

You also have to have the assertiveness to stand your ground if there are passengers who are set on ignoring the airline’s guidelines and policies.

Lastly, it’s crucial that you have the energy and the ability to connect with people. This is the bread and butter of the profession, because a flight attendant’s job is to attend to passengers.

If you think you got what it takes, send your resume as soon as possible and get started in this fulfilling career!

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