Have you ever wanted to travel and see the world’s most majestic sights? Or how about to encounter different kinds of culture and people? If you said yes to both, then you might want to read on how to become a flight attendant. Not only do they get to jet set all around the world—but they also get to meet people from different places as well!
So how does one become a flight attendant?
Just like most jobs, there are requirements that come with being a cabin crew. Aside from the standard educational requirements, all flight attendants are required to pass training before starting.
Training to be a flight attendant is one of the most stringent among the jobs available today. In fact the passing rate to be a cabin crew is typically one of the highest at 90%. This may still vary since most airlines have their own training programs and passing rates that they implement.
Knowing this, it’s only important that you get the best possible information you could to prepare for your success. Below is a rundown of anything and everything you’ll need to pass your flight attendant training with flying colors!
Training to be a Flight Attendant
Training to be a flight attendant comes after advancing from the application and interview stage. All candidates will be required to undergo flight attendant training.
Take note that each airline has their own training program customized to the values and business model they adhere to, which usually takes anywhere from three weeks to two months depending on the coverage of the training program of your airline.
Case in point is Emirates’ flight attendant training. Their program is known to be one of the most comprehensive out there and includes fitness and nutrition, makeup, fashion, and skin care instructions specific to the look of Emirates.
United Airlines Flight Attendant Training
In their website, United Airlines states that:
“In training, we will test your customer service skills as well as your ability to learn and perform the airline’s safety procedures. It’s important that the trainee can work well with others. This usually lasts for six weeks and includes learning how to operate flight safety procedures for seven or more aircraft.”
Whatever airline you end up with, there are a number of core topics that all, if not most, training have. Typical flight attendant training topics include safety and flight procedures, first aid administration, emergency preparedness, and federal regulations, to name a few.
More than just these standard topics, you’ll also learn how to handle people from all walks of life and what makes for good customer service. You’ll also be taught how to present yourself best according to your airline’s image. For instance, if your airline values warmth, you’ll be encouraged to show a caring, friendly personality.
Those who have gone through flight attendant training have often described it as a mixed bag of emotions—from stressful to fun, to difficult and memorable at times.
No matter what it’ll be like for you, you’re sure to come out with new skills and knowledge!
Course for Flight Attendant Training
There are numerous courses for flight attendant training. Expect to cover a lot in the short period of undergoing training. From safety methods to personal skills, below are just some of the topics typically covered in most flight attendant training programs:
- Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR)
- Airport codes
- Airline jargon/terminology
- First aid procedures
- Plane evacuation procedures
- Emergency preparedness
- Flight procedures
- Safety training
- Grooming and personal hygiene
By no means are the said topics extensive, but it will give you a good idea of the subjects you’ll be taking up in the training program.
Based on most airlines’ training programs, there’s bound to be more emphasis on cabin safety rather than customer service. Safety training is usually comprised of fire fighting, aviation security, evacuation drills, emergency equipment operation, and safety demonstration among others.
On the other hand, customer service skills are usually learned on the job, which most airlines expect from their trainees.
Make sure to keep these courses in mind so you can read in advance to keep you ahead of the lessons.
Important Concepts to Remember for Your Flight Attendant Training
We’ll now get to the specifics of what you’ll learn in a flight attendant training program. There are many concepts that you’ll learn in the course of the training, but here are a few fundamental concepts that you need to pay attention to the most.
Communication and Teamwork
Communication and teamwork are key skills you’ll be developing in the training program. These two are the foundation for better situational awareness, decision-making, and conflict resolution. These skills are deemed so crucial for the job that not knowing how to communicate or work with others can spell whether you make it or not past the training.
As a customer-oriented profession, customer service skills are inherently required for flight attendants. Aside from the typical cabin crew duties and responsibilities, customer service skills also include knowing how to act and present yourself. This means knowing how to groom, manage your time, show business etiquette, and show religious as well as cultural awareness beyond your own.
Airline Industry and Safety Training
Part of being a flight attendant means you have to have a working knowledge of the airline industry. Whether it’s knowing flight concepts or safety procedures—taking the time out to learn these skills can make a difference in your work performance.
Passport and Custom Regulations
International flights have their own particular regulations and protocol that they adhere to. To be able to get the coveted spot of an international flight attendant, you have to know the service, paperwork, and safety issues that come with international flights. More than just knowing aviation specifics, you have to be culturally aware of today’s global environment.
These are just a few of the essential concepts that come with flight attendant training. Make sure to get acquainted with these and more during your training phase.
Tips on Surviving Flight Attendant Training
Flight attendant training is one of the most rigid out there. On top of a 90% passing rate, you also have to meet the emotional and physical demands that come with the job as well. Here are some pointers that could help you succeed in your training.
Take your training seriously
Taking your training seriously doesn’t mean having to suppress your humor or to refrain from laughing altogether. It just means that you have to put in the effort so you can give your best shot. Only a select few are given the opportunity to progress to this stage so make the most of it.
Know How to Follow Rules
Airlines are stickler for rules. Without rules, everything would go haywire, which is a no-no for an industry that puts a premium on safety. So expect a lot of protocols, procedures, and guidelines that must be adhered to. This is why to succeed in your training, you have to know how to follow rules to a T.
Know How to Form Connections
Flight attendant training is much easier when you get along with your co-trainees. When you have a healthy connection with other trainees, it’s easier to help each other pass the training program. Studying is all well and good, but make time to get to know other people in the program and you’ll walk out with more than just knowledge by the end.
You can do this by being friendly and avoiding instigating problems. Otherwise, airlines won’t have any second thoughts of removing you from their lineup.
Don’t Forget to Study
Although flight attendant training isn’t school, you still have to study if you want to make it through. Most cabin crew training programs are intensive. Not only will you be subjected to different incident simulations, but you’ll be quizzed and tested regarding all the things you’ve learned as well.
Apply That Knowledge
More important than studying is knowing how to apply what you’ve learned. A flight attendant training’s aim is to instill practical knowledge. Even if you know all the concepts and theories, but are unable to translate it to real-life action then you won’t be able to pass the training and make it as a flight attendant.
Overall, flight attendant training will be able to reveal the things you’re good at and not so good at. This is a positive thing because it will help you prepare for your life as a cabin crew.
Flight Attendant Training Location
In terms of location, flight attendant training is usually done at the headquarters of your airline. Most airlines have sophisticated training facilities known as simulators that allow simulation of real-life situations so you can be acquainted with the actual experience even if you have never flown before in all your life.
These simulators are made to look like the standard aircraft passenger cabin with different exit types according to the fleets employed by your airline. Some typical simulation incidents include flight turbulence, emergency landings, high jacking, fire outbreak, and disruptive passengers, just to name a few.
Aside from top of the line simulators, you’ll also be conducting your training in classrooms for topics that require much discussion.
The bigger your airline is, the more high tech and advanced its training facilities usually are while smaller airlines usually just rent these facilities. Alternatively, some use aircraft that are either under repair or unserviceable.
Are trainees eliminated during training?
Yes, trainees are eliminated during training since one of its main purposes is to remove those who are unfit for the job as early as possible.
In some airlines, you can only score below a specific percentage on one test. The second time you fail to meet the standard score means you’ll likely be eliminated on that day. More than just your test scores, your personality, and interpersonal skills will also be assessed to make sure you’re what the airline wants.
You’ll be tested on a daily basis and will be typically made to play out various procedures such as water ditching and learn hand-to-hand combat training as well.
The good thing is that there is a flight attendant manual given to every trainee once he or she starts. This is a good guide to refer to during the duration of the entire training process. Some airlines have upgraded to paperless, so if this is the case then you won’t have to bring your manual around with you.
Some of the most common reasons why trainees are eliminated during training include:
- Possessing habits that antagonize others
- Consistently being poorly groomed
- Cheating on exams
- Being racist or intolerant toward others
- Unreliable or tardy
- Tactless and undiplomatic
- Poor interpersonal skills
Many airlines value their image and wouldn’t likely risk having someone untoward to represent them to passengers so make sure you put your best foot forward if you really want the job. Be ready to be constantly evaluated on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.
More than just the simulation exercises, you will also be tested on how good you relate with others and how well you carry yourself.
Simply put, flight attendant training will test your tolerance levels on all fronts—mentally, physically, and emotionally. Expect a certain amount of unpredictability because there’s a good deal of change that comes with the job. Unless you can learn to handle all this, then you might just get the boot during training.
What happens after training?
If you’re one of the chosen few who makes it through the training then kudos to you and congrats! Passing flight attendant training is a privilege not a lot of people can enjoy so make sure to celebrate it.
Once training is completed, you’ll also be required to get certification through Federal Aviation Administration or National Transportation Safety Board.
Flight attendant salary depends on the number of hours you work but is usually around $20 per hour. The annual starting salary for flight attendants is usually anywhere from $18,000 to $20,000. Some airlines guarantee a minimum number of hours you can work, while others will only pay a minimum amount regardless of the number of hours you put in. This will all depend on the size of the airline and where you’re working.
Once you pass the training phase, you’ll be designated to a base after graduating where you’ll report for duty. This typically entails some flexibility on your part since there’s always a big chance that you’ll be assigned to somewhere far such as across the state or overseas.
Many newly hired flight attendants have reported living more than an hour away from the airport since the usual reserve line for the closest accommodations is brutal. To counteract this, airlines generally call you about an hour and a half in advance before your call time so you have enough time to prepare.
You’ll be expected to be at the airport at a certain time before boarding to do the standard checks. Moreover, you’ll also be on call 24/7 in case any flight needs additional assistance.
The good thing about this is that you’ll have travel passes and airline travel benefits you can take advantage of.
Should you dislike the base you’re assigned to, you can be eligible for transfer after the specific period required by your airline has passed.