There are many common questions around being eligible to be a flight attendant. The requirements for the job have changed a lot over the years. This causes a lot of confusion on the part of people looking to become flight attendants.
Sometimes people think they don’t meet one of these requirements and don’t bother applying. In many cases, the requirement keeping you from applying might not even be a requirement any more. In other cases, someone might apply to a handful of airlines and get all the way to the interview before finding out they wasted their time.
In this article we cover all the major requirements for being a flight attendant. We relied on input from industry experts, experienced flight attendants, and the airlines themselves to make sure the information is accurate.
Flight Attendant Height Requirements
One of the most common concerns among people who want to become flight attendant is their height. Many people think they’re either too short or too tall to have a chance as a flight attendant.
It turns out, there isn’t really a universal height requirement for flight attendants. The requirement is to be able to reach the overhead luggage compartments without help. Although it can differ a little bit based on airline, basically this equates to being at least 4’11”.
Since this number an vary sometime by airline, your best bet if you think you’re cutting it close is to apply anyway and have that discussion with the airline when it comes up. They will let you know if they an actual height requirement or just a reach requirement where you have to be able to reach the overhead compartments which are usually 72-84 inches tall.
As far as being too tall to be a flight attendant? Most flight attendants are under 6’3. That being said, you’re best bet is to consider if you think you’d have problems with standing in the plane for an extended amount of time. If you’re 7′ tall for example, it might make it very uncomfortable for you in the first place. As long as you are 6’3 or less, I would still apply and find out more from the specific airline you interview with.
Flight Attendant Weight Requirements
There is not a specific weight requirement for flight attendants. Instead, they are required to have a proportional look. This means that although you don’t have to be skinny, you should look healthy and fit. For a good indication of this, here is a BMI calculator that lets you enter your height and weight to see if you are in the “normal” range.
The key here is that you want to look proportional and be in good enough shape to be on your feet for much of the day, perform physical duties like helping passengers with luggage, and have enough energy to make it through a long work day.
Flight Attendant Age Requirements
The minimum age required to be a flight attendant is 18 years old. Some airlines require you to be 19 or 20 when you apply, but none are allowed to make the requirement older than 21.
Another common question we get is if you can become a flight attendant later in life. After all, it does seems like most flight attendants are young. There is no maximum age to become a flight attendant. If you’re in your 40’s or 50’s and want to be a flight attendant, go ahead and apply! As long as you meet the other requirements, your age won’t be a problem.
Flight Attendant Educational Requirements
Airlines require prospective flight attendants to have a high school diploma or equivalent. Having a college degree is not required.
However, having college experience or even a college degree is seen as an advantage and can help you land a job over others with less education. Like many other jobs, more education is considered better, but don’t let your lack of a college degree keep you from applying. As you’ll see in the next section, there are other way more important things that airlines look for in a flight attendant.
Flight Attendant Appearance Requirements
Airlines look at flight attendants as the face of the airline. They are the professionals that passengers interact with the most and often leave a lasting impression.
Because of that, there are appearance standards that airlines have to make sure their brand is represented the way the airline likes it to be. Here is a brief list of requirements you should know about.
- Clean, neat, and professional: Airlines want their flight attendants to look very professional. This means a clean and well kept appearance. This includes things like your clothing being clean and ironed as well as you looking “polished”.
- Tattoos: Airlines do not allow for flight attendants to have tattoos that are visible while wearing their airline specific uniform.
- Piercings: Airlines allow for one piercing per earlobe and nothing else. Your nose, lips, eyebrows and other visible parts of your body cannot have any piercings
Other Flight Attendant Requirements
In addition to some of common questions we get on requirements, here are some others that you might not have thought of:
- Physical Fitness: As a flight attendant you’ll need to be on your feet much of the day, help passengers with luggage, and perform various safety procedures on the aircraft. This means that being in good physical condition and being able to perform these tasks is required.
- Fluent in English: Assuming you plan on being a flight attendant in the United States, you’ll be required to be fluent in English in order to communicate with a large majority of your passengers.
- Criminal background test: You’ll be required to pass a criminal background check to become a flight attendant
- Drug Test: Airlines will also expect you to pass a pre-employment drug screen as well as be subject to more drug and alcohol testing in the future.
- Valid Identification: You will need a valid drivers license, social security card, and sometimes passport to be a flight attendant
- Citizenship: If you plan on being a flight attendant in the United States, you’ll have to be legally authorized to work here. That means you’ll have to be a citizen or be a legal resident alien.
Great People Skills
One last requirement worth mentioning is having fantastic people skills. As mentioned above, airlines see flight attendants as the window to the organization. They want someone who has great customer service skills and is generally really good with people.
These interpersonal skills and your ability to be friendly will go a long way in getting you hired as a flight attendant. In fact, much of the interview will be focused on how you interact with others. This will include your ability to help passengers (who are often tired and frustrated) as well as work with your fellow cabin crew.
In order to become a flight attendant you have to meet more requirements than you would for many other jobs. Luckily, most people either already do or can meet these requirements if they try to. Being a flight attendant can be a great career that pay well and offers a great sense of adventure. If you’re interested in taking the plunge, you should look this list over and give it a try.