How to Become a Flight Attendant

Flight Attendant

Flight attendants are primarily responsible for ensuring the safety of passengers during a flight. Their role is to combine as a safety officer, an inflight customer service representative, and a hospitality manager. A good Flight Attendant can merge these roles effectively to ensure a pleasant flying experience for the passenger.

Flight Attendants typically fly 75 to 100 hours a month and usually spend an additional 50 hours a month on the ground, preparing flights, writing reports, and waiting for planes to arrive. They can spend several nights a week away from home. Although most work variable schedules, some flight attendants work part-time.

Entry-level Flight Attendants are usually between 18 – 25 years old. This range does not apply to all recruiters and airlines. It is not unusual to find a Flight Attendant starting their career in their 30s.

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Responsibilities of a Flight Attendant

  1. Participate in briefings with the pilots to discuss cabin conditions and flight details.
  2. Conduct inspections of emergency equipment.
  3. Demonstrate the use of safety equipment and emergency equipment.
  4. Ensure that passengers have their seatbelts fastened when required and that they observe all other safety requirements.
  5. Serve and sell beverages, meals, or snacks.
  6. Take care of passengers’ needs, particularly children, the elderly, and those with special needs.
  7. Reassure passengers during the flight, such as when the aircraft hits turbulence or during bad weather.
  8. Administer and coordinate emergency medical care when needed.
  9. Provide direction to passengers, including how to evacuate the aircraft in an emergency.

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Skills required For a Career as a Flight Attendant

  1. Attentiveness – In performing your duties as a Flight Attendant, you must be aware of passengers’ needs to ensure a pleasant travel experience. You must also pay close attention to the passengers and situations occurring on the flight. Being attentive will help you identify any security or safety risks.
  2. Communication – As a Flight Attendant, you will work with passengers whose first language will not be English. It would help if you spoke plainly, and distinctly to get your point across. It would help if you also learned to listen to accurately ascertain a passenger’s needs, even when they might not express themselves fully.
  3. Customer-service skills – Flight attendants should have poise, tact, and resourcefulness to handle stressful situations and meet passengers’ needs. As a Flight Attendant, you will be required to ease tensions, diffuse potentially heated situations, and give passengers assurances.
  4. Decision-making skills – Flight attendants must be able to act decisively in emergencies. You should be able to quickly gauge a situation and implement the safest course of action while trying not to disrupt the rest of the aircraft.
  5. Stamina – Your duties as Flight attendants may involve lifting baggage, standing, and walking for extended periods. During your training, recruiters will often need to ensure your height, weight, and vision (correctable to at least 20/40) are in line with the airline’s requirements. Flight attendants will also have to pass a medical evaluation.
  6. Empathy – It is essential to be sensitive to the needs, feelings, and requests of passengers and your fellow cabin crew members. If you notice that a colleague is struggling, you should understand and help build trust and facilitate a better and healthier working environment. You may come across passengers who have various problems like learning disabilities, embarrassing medical mishaps, and so on. You should empathize and see to that passenger’s needs tactfully and respectfully.
  7. Adaptability and Flexibility – Although you can receive your scheduled flights a few weeks or days in advance, your schedule must be kept free as you may also be required to be on standby and available to fly at short notice to fill in for a co-worker or respond to an emergency.
  8. Cultural Awareness – During your career as a Flight Attendant, you will most likely be working with a diverse cabin crew and attend to a diverse range of passengers, including people from different cultural backgrounds, people of another race, religious beliefs, etc. You must be conscious not to offend, insult, or disregard a person or their beliefs. You will require a certain amount of tact to navigate various interactions.

Educational Requirements for a career as a Flight Attendant

Typically, flight attendants must possess a high school diploma as the minimum requirement, which will allow them to participate in recruitments, attend cabin crew training programs, and apply for jobs. You might be able to get a job as a flight attendant using your high school diploma, but larger commercial mainline airlines and private firms will insist that you have a bachelor’s degree. Here are some relevant courses you can consider to help you on your journey to becoming a successful flight attendant;

  1. Public Relations (B.A.), Illinois State University, United States – Founded in 1857, Illinois State University (ISU) is a public university in Normal, Illinois, and is the oldest public university in Illinois. Public Relations is the measured and ethical use of language and symbols to inspire cooperation between an organization and its publics. The program prepares students to research, plan, execute, and evaluate communication between an organization and the public. The program is designed to prepare students to help private industry and public organizations improve communication quality among themselves, employees, and the general public. The tuition cost for international students is around $26,000.
  2. Bachelor’s Degree in Hospitality Management, University of South Florida, United States – The University of South Florida is a public research university in Tampa, Florida. It is a member institution of the State University System of Florida. Founded in 1956, It is the fourth-largest public university in the state of Florida. The university is home to 14 colleges, offering more than 80 undergraduate majors and more than 130 graduate, specialist, and doctoral-level degree programs across USF Tampa, USF St. Petersburg, and USF Sarasota-Manatee. The Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management prepares graduates for global leadership positions in the hospitality industry through foundational knowledge of hospitality operations and experiences that develop critical thinkers who promote diversity, ethical responsibility, lifelong learning, and community engagement. International students will pay the tuition cost of around $17,324. The price may vary depending on which campus you decide to study.
  3. International Relations (BSc), Cardiff Metropolitan University, United Kingdom – Cardiff Metropolitan University is a globally recognized university located in the capital city of Wales – Cardiff city. Popularly called Cardiff Met, it is the U.K.’s top university for international student support, in addition to its brilliant location and modern facilities. International Relations examines the role of states, international alliances, non-governmental organizations, and multinational companies in an increasingly globalized world. As part of the degree program, you will have the opportunity to focus on global politics and world affairs and have the opportunity to attend lectures that have featured high profile speakers from institutions such as NATO and the U.N. Security Council. The three-year program will cost $20,600 for international students.
  4. French (B.A.), Florida Atlantic University, United States – Established in 1961, the Florida Atlantic University is a public university in Boca Raton, Florida, with five satellite campuses in the Florida cities of Dania Beach, Davie, Fort, Lauderdale, Jupiter, and in Fort Pierce. The undergraduate major in linguistic and comparative literature: French, brings an explicitly international focus to FAU’s excellence in undergraduate education. French Studies at FAU span the globe, providing students with the essential knowledge needed to access the culture of metropolitan France and the francophone cultures of the Caribbean, Canada, West Africa, Southeast Asia, and North Africa. The major’s backbone is advanced competency in the French language, and all but two of the major courses are taught in lingua. French majors, therefore, receive a thorough grounding in French. Tuition will cost you $17,324 as an international student.
  5. Chinese (B.A.), Griffith University, Australia – Griffith University is a public research university in South East Queensland on Australia’s east coast. Griffith opened its doors in 1975, introducing Australia’s first degrees in environmental science and Asian studies. It is a progressive and highly respected university dedicated to learning, leadership, and innovation. The ability to communicate in other languages and cultures will help you in almost any career you choose. When you study a language at Griffith, you will not just learn to speak and write the words. You will also study linguistics – the science, nature, and function of language and its use in society. Understanding how languages are developed and used will help you gain a solid understanding of your chosen language. You will apply your knowledge of linguistics and your chosen language in real-world challenges, including second language learning and teaching, intercultural communication, and effective use of digital technologies. The three-year program will cost $30,000 per year for international students.

Job Outlook for Flight Attendant

Competition for jobs will remain strong because the occupation typically attracts many more applicants than job openings. Job prospects will be best for applicants who have a college degree and at least some level of experience in the hospitality and customer relations sector.

Flight attendants’ employment is projected to grow 10 percent from 2018 to 2028, faster than the average for all occupations.

Many airlines are replacing smaller aircraft with new, larger planes that can accommodate many passengers. As a result, this change may increase the number of flight attendants needed on some routes.

Typical Employers

  • Commercial Airlines
  • Private Airline Firms

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Salary Estimates for Flight Attendant

Flight Attendants, according to Truity.com, earned a median annual wage of $56,640 in 2019. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $29,270, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $80,940.

Careers Related to Flight Attendants

  1. Airport customer service representatives – Airport customer service representatives are responsible for working on the phone and in-person to provide information about travel plans. That could involve giving the customer information about arrival and departure times, reserving tickets with a particular airline, and a wide variety of other topics. They work with a company’s computer system to accomplish their work. Customer service reps are responsible for greeting passengers, guiding them to the proper terminal, explaining airport regulations, etc.
  2. Junior Assistant Purser – A Junior Assistant Purser’s primary role is providing an excellent customer service experience to guests as a front office representative. They work closely with other departments (hotel operations, sales associates, housekeeping, maintenance, food & beverage) to make sure all guests are satisfied and things run smoothly at all times.

Postgraduate Options for Flight Attendant

Furthering your education in management and human resources can position you to take the next step in your career. As Flight Attendant, you can get promoted based on seniority and level of experience. If you want to shift to administrative work, recruiting, training, etc., you will need to obtain some sort of postgraduate education. Here are some options you might consider:

  1. MSc in Global Human Resources Management, University of Roehampton – The Roehampton MSc Global Human Resources Management has been designed with input from a panel of business advisors to address the demand for global H.R. professionals that are equipped with expertise in talent management, the development of effective H.R. policies and managing organizational change. This program is tailored to students with the ambition to become leaders and practitioners at the interface of Human Resources and Corporate Strategy. You will focus on the broader strategic, financial, and operational context of managing talent and people across borders and cultures, being taught by internationally recognized researchers. As a graduate, you will receive a dual award Level 7 Diploma in Strategic Management and Leadership by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI). The one-year full-time program will cost $19,400 for international students.
  2. Project Management MSc, Coventry University – Coventry University is a forward-looking, modern university with a proud tradition as a high-quality education provider and a focus on applied research. This Master’s degree aims to prepare you to become a successful leader in project management and currently holds academic accreditation from the Association for Project Management, the chartered body for the project management profession. This accreditation aims to provide you with the ability to operate at a level that meets the project management profession’s standards and the expertise required in the field. Tuition for international students is $21,386. If you think a career as a Flight Attendant is the right choice for you, email us today so we can help you take the first steps towards a successful career.

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