If you’re interested in becoming a flight attendant, there is a lot to learn. If you’re like most people you probably have what seems like a hundred questions already. This FAQ was put together to answer some of the questions we get most often from people looking to become a flight attendant.
We’ve poured through our other articles, contact airlines, scoured the internet, and interviewed experience flight attendants to bring you the answers to the most commonly asked questions about becoming a flight attendant.
This FAQ will walk you through questions that cover everything from the beginning of your journey (Do you even qualify to apply?) all the way to expected salary and benefits.
So, if you’ve ever wondered if this is a good career for you feel free to look through these questions as well as the link provided for more in-depth information.
Being a flight attendant can be a fun and rewarding career. This FAQ is intended to make the process of getting hired easier and prevent you from wasting your time and money on things that don’t get you hired.
What are the Requirements to be a flight attendant?
In order to qualify to be a flight attendant you’ll need to meet the following qualifications
- Be 18+ years of age
- High school diploma (or more)
- Pass background check (this includes a fingerprinting
- Pass Drug Screening
- Pass health exam
While these are the basic background requirements to be considered for the job, there are more specific requirements you’ll need to meet.
Will I have to pass a drug test to be a flight attendant?
Yes. This is a requirement both of the FAA and of the airline.
What are the physical requirements of the job?
Being a flight attendant will require you to spend a lot of time on your feet. You’ll be standing or walking much of the time you are helping passengers. In addition, you’ll often find yourself assisting passengers with their luggage and other needs.
For those reasons, you should be able to spend long periods of time being active while standing and/or walking.
Height Requirements for Flight Attendants
Many airlines have at least some guideline or requirement when it comes to height. The reason for this is that as a flight attendant you’ll need to be tall enough to help passengers with their luggage and the overhead compartments. You’ll also not want to be so tall that working in a cramped environment like an airplane is a problem.
The exact height varies by airline, so make sure you bring it up during the application process if you think it might be an issue for you.
What skills are most important??
Flight attendants spend most of their time assisting passengers on their trips. This will include answering questions about the flight, serving food and drinks, assisting with luggage, and providing all around great customer service.
Some of the airline specific skills will be taught to you while you’re in training, but there are some skills that you should be bringing with you from day one. This includes great customer service skills, communication skills, patience and the ability to be detail oriented.
Do I need a college degree to be a flight attendant?
No, a college degree is not required to be a flight attendant. Many airlines do prefer someone with at least some college experience or a degree, so it will help if you have more education. In addition, you’ll need to get additional training specific to this role and even become certified with the FAA. This will come as part of your job, so you don’t have to worry about doing it before you apply or are hired.
Do I need work experience with another airline to apply?
No, airlines do not require you have experience as a flight attendant with another airline to apply.
Previous experience as a flight attendant is helpful if you do have it. It is also helpful if you have prior experience in customer service and working with the general public.
Do I need to speak more than one language?
If you want to be a flight attendant for a US airline, you will be required to be fluent in English. If you are applying for a job as an international flight attendant you will need to speak more than one language. This is due to the fact that many of your passengers will not be speaking English as their first language.
I want to be a flight attendant, where do I start?
If you decide you would like to pursue a career as a flight attendant and meet the requirements listed above, the first step is to apply for a position.
You can usually apply online through the airlines themselves or through various job listings. Once you’ve applied, you’ll hopefully be contacted for an over the phone interview and eventually an in-person interview.
Before applying, make sure you are also preparing for the next steps in the process like preparing a resume and getting yourself ready for your first interview.
What should my resume for a flight attendant position look like?
First off, your resume should be neat, free of any grammar or spelling errors, and well organized. This means you should make sure to take a moment to proofread it before you submit it to prevent any embarrassing mistakes. I also recommend you have a friend or someone else you trust to take a look at it.
There are also some things to consider that are specific to your resume for a flight attendant career. First off, make sure that if you do have any prior experience working at an airline, you list it along with your accomplishments and things you were most proud of.
Since being a flight attendant is very focused on customer service, make sure you drive home the point of how much you enjoy helping people and providing great service.
You want to make sure that any hiring manager looking at your resume thinks you’d be someone that their passengers would enjoy interacting with.
If you don’t have an experience as a flight attendant or working with any other airline, make sure you detail other experience you have working with people, being a good communicator, and proving great service.
Will airline fly me to the interview?
Some airlines will offer to fly you to their location for an in person interview, while others will not. If you are attending an open interview event or job fair, they will not provide any transportation.
This is something you will want to discuss early on in the interview process so you know what to expect and there aren’t any surprises.
What should I expect at the interview?
Although some aspects of the job interview will be like many other jobs you might interview for, the interview to be a flight attendant can be very intense. It will make for a very busy and long day.
In addition to being asked questions like you would on any other interview, you might have to practice reading an in-flight announcement, interact with others to show your ability to work as part of a team, and more.
Some of the things they are looking to assess during this interview include:
- Your presentation
- People skills
- Ability to work as part of a team
Remember, they are looking to see how you would be looked at by passengers and how well you’d represent the airline.
The biggest thing to remember is to be pleasant, smile, and be friendly. You have to come across like you really want the job and enjoy doing the work.
What are the flight attendant job interview questions like?
The questions you’ll be asked during the job interview will be focused on trying to uncover how you work with people. This will include how you get along with your coworkers as well as how you would go above and beyond to assist a customer.
It’s a good idea to prepare for the interview by thinking of some specific instances in your past where you had to go above and beyond to help a customer (even in a non airline related job). Be ready to share those stories and include details of what you did and why. Tell the interviewer how happy the customer was and how you look forward to scenarios like that.
Likewise, think of some stories of you working as part of a team to accomplish something. It doesn’t have to be airline or flight attendant related. They mostly just want to see how you function when trying to accomplish something as part of a group.
Am I too young or too old to be a flight attendant?
All flight attendants must be at least 18 years old. Some airlines require you to be slightly over, but they are not allowed to require you to be older than 21. Some airlines require you to be 19 (United Airlines) and some require you to be 20 (Southwest Airlines).
There is no maximum age to be a flight attendant. There are stories of flight attendants well into their 60’s. If you have the drive and meet all the requirements, you should pursue your dreams!
Should I go to a flight attendant school?
The answer to this question will be a little different for everyone. If you already have experience as a flight attendant there wouldn’t be much of a benefit to spending the time and money to go to a flight attendant school.
If you are completely new to the industry, then it might not be a bad idea. If you have a background in customer service and are naturally well spoken and good at communication, you can probably learn everything you need once you get hired.
If you are earlier on in your career you might find that finishing a flight attendant school program might really help you not only get some skills you don’t already have, but help you stand out compared to other applicants. For more info on flight attendant schools and how much they cost, make sure to visit our page on them here.
If I get hired, what will training be like?
Once you’re hired by an airline you will have to go through a lot of training. It will cover topics like customer service, airline specific policies, and safety protocols.
Safety procedures will be one of the topics you likely don’t know much about before getting hired (assuming you didn’t go through a flight attendant school program) so you’ll have to really pay attention to learn everything. Since you’ll eventually have to be certified by the FAA to be a flight attendant, you really want to focus on learning these skills.
The airline will provide you with all the training and resources you’ll need, it will be up to you to give 100% and learn as much as you can.
What if I don’t want to relocate?
Most airlines will not require you to relocate when taking a job as a flight attendant. Although you might be allowed to live wherever you would like and travel for work, you may or may not find it inconvenient to do so. Your best bet is to talk through these options while going through the hiring process.
Do I need a passport to be a flight attendant?
Although airlines won’t require you to have a passport to apply for a job, you will need one to actually work as a flight attendant. If you don’t already have a passport, I would strongly urge you to begin the process of getting one right away. Considering you’ll need one very soon and the process can take several weeks, I would get started soon.
What is a flight attendant schedule like?
Flight attendants typically work what is considered a “non-traditional” schedule. This includes potentially working days, nights, evenings, weekends, and holidays. Flights are taking place 24/7/365 so flight attendants are always needed.
The schedule you work will depend on the airline you work for and your availability. It’s worth noting that at many airlines newer light attendants get fewer shifts since it’s based on seniority.
For a more detailed look at how flight attendant schedules work, make sure to check out our article on it here.
How much do flight attendants make?
The average salary for a flight attendant in 2018 was $56,000. This can vary quite a bit based on the number of hours/flights you work, your experience level, and other factors. Top flight attendants can earn over $100,000 annually.
In addition, flight attendants also qualify for a per-diem to cover additional expenses while traveling and working.
Here is much more detailed breakdown of flight attendant salaries.
Do flight attendants get health insurance and other benefits?
Yes! Most airlines provide their flight attendants with many great benefits including insurance, vacation, and other competitive perks offered by many employers. This is something I would make sure to ask about when working through the application and interview process with an airline.
Does the airline pay for my hotel stay when traveling?
Once you are a flight attendant and are working on flights for your airline, you will sometimes need to stay in a city overnight. In these cases, your layover accommodations are paid for/provided by the airline you work for.
They will also typically pay you a per diem to cover costs of food and other expenses you’ll have since you aren’t in your home city. These are just some of the great benefits of being a flight attendant. For more details, make sure you check out our article on the best benefits of being a flight attendant.
What if I have tattoos or piercings?
As a general rule, airlines do not allow for flight attendants or any flight crew to have tattoos that are visible while working. Any tattoos you have will need to be completely covered by your standard uniform issued by the airline. The same goes for any piercings (aside from ear piercings for women). For more specific information on these policies, make sure to look at our article on this topic here.
If you’ve done research on the job and still feel like it would be a great fit for you, I would urge you to start applying for positions. Make sure you prepare beforehand by doing your research, writing a great resume, and being ready to both ask and answer questions at the interview.
Being a flight attendant can be a fantastic career that offers things most careers don’t.
Best of luck on your job hunt!