How to become a flight attendant

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How to become a flight attendant

If you’re keen to travel, enjoy helping people and can adapt to changing situations as they come up, flight attendant jobs might be for you. Here we explore how to become a flight attendant.

What is a flight attendant?

A flight attendant is a member of an airline’s cabin crew who is responsible for making sure passengers have a safe and comfortable journey. They’re also sometimes referred to as air stewards. It’s their job to oversee the general safety, health and well being of airline passengers during the flight. They ensure that all the people on board have a comfortable trip.

Read more: How to become a pilot

Flight attendants also cope with any requests or issues that travellers might have. They closely adhere to safety laws and regulations, making sure everyone else on board the plane does the same.

What are the responsibilities of a flight attendant?

Cabin crew need to be adaptable and flexible

Flight attendant jobs might include:

  • Seeing if there are enough supplies on the plane.
  • Making sure emergency equipment is all working as it should be.
  • Having meetings with colleagues about upcoming flights.
  • Saying hello to passengers and welcoming them on the plane.
  • Giving a demonstration of the emergency equipment and what to do in case of an emergency.
  • Checking seat belts and baggage.
  • Making various announcements before and during the flight.
  • Serving food and drinks to customers on board.
  • Selling duty free products and items.
  • Making a record of the food, drink and other products that was sold.
  • Ensuring that all the passengers are safe and comfortable.
  • Giving first aid in case it’s needed.
  • Making passengers feel as calm as possible if there is an emergency. Making sure they follow safety procedures.
  • Writing and filing reports about the flight, covering any unusual incidents that might have happened.

The pay of a flight attendant varies a huge amount depending on the airline they work for. The base rate of salaries start at between £12,000 and £14,000; you get an hourly payment for the time you’re flying on top of that. There can sometimes be bonuses and commissions as well. The base pay for senior cabin crew is about £20,000.

What skills do you need for the job?

These are a few of the skills, qualities and characteristics you’d need – or be able to develop – in order to become a flight attendant.

  • Really good communication skills, particularly verbal ones, as you’ll be chatting with plenty of passengers as well as colleagues.
  • Customer service skills for helping passengers on board the flight.
  • Enjoy working with people and able to get on with people from lots of different backgrounds.
  • Able to stay calm under pressure or in stressful environments.
  • Friendly, confident and patient. Compassionate and keen to help people. You should be able to see things from someone else’s point of view.
  • Good computer skills.
  • Motivated and keen to be a representative of your airline.
  • Adaptable and able to be flexible if issues arise. You might be asked to work at short notice.
  • Teamwork skills: you’ll be spending a lot of time with your colleagues so you have to enjoy working as part of a crew.  
  • Happy to spend stretches of time away from home.

How to become a flight attendant

You don’t need a degree in order to become a flight attendant. Most airlines expect you to have a grade 4 or above in English and maths GCSE.

There are a few requirements to becoming a member of an airline’s cabin crew. You need to be over 18, have a decent level of fitness and be able to pass a medical check. Many airlines require their cabin crew to be able to swim up to 25 metres. Sometimes there are also rules about weight, height and visible tattoos. You may be required to pass additional background checks. Flight attendants need to have a smart appearance, have a valid passport, and they often have to live within a reasonable distance of their airline’s base.

It is also possible to do a cabin crew apprenticeship, where you’ll learn on the job and earn a salary. You’ll gain a Level 2 certificate in air cabin crew and develop skills in providing excellent customer service to passengers while ensuring their safety.

Read next: What it's like to be a female pilot 

Main image via Pexels, flight attendants via Wikimedia. 

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