The Complete Guide to Being a Flight Attendant (job hunting, getting hired, pay, schedule, and more)
If you have ever been interested in a career as a flight attendant but were unsure where to start, you’ve come to the right place. This guide will walk you through everything you need to know to become a flight attendant. That includes background and requirements of the job, how to find a open position, getting hired, and more.
Being a flight attendant can be a great job for someone as long as it’s a good fit with your skills, personality, and lifestyle. You will not only get to travel the country or even the world while getting paid a decent salary, you’ll get additional discounts on traveling, meet new people, and hopefully have a great career.
Before we get started on how to become a flight attendant, you might be wondering how much the job pays. Like many jobs, it depends on a variety of factors so there isn’t an easy answer. To learn more about how much flight attendants make, make sure to read this article right here on our site. It goes over all the details you would want to know.
Should You Be a Flight Attendant?
Before deciding to become a flight attendant, you should make sure sure that the job is a good fit for you and your lifestyle.
Are you a people person?
Working as a flight attendant will require you to not only work closely with your colleagues, but requires you to work with the general public on a daily basis. Although most travelers are nice people and are nothing to worry about, the job still requires you to be friendly and accommodating for hours at a time.
This means that you have to be “on” all the time, even when you come across a crabby or upset traveler. If you like working with people and have enjoyed customer service or sales jobs in the past, this should be no problem for you. But, if you consider yourself to be introverted or easily annoyed by strangers, this might not be the job for you.
Do you like flying?
This might seem like common sense, but if you hate to fly or are scared of flying, this might not be a good fit for you. I’ve met people who have tried to become flight attendants with the hope that they will outgrow their fear or dislike of flying once they have the job. It rarely happens. Be honest with yourself and make sure you’re ok with flying dozens of times each week or every month.
Unpredictable and Nontraditional Schedule
Being a flight attendant is not your typical 9-5 job that you work Monday through Friday.
Flight attendants work very odd hours that can change often. This includes working at night, on weekends, and on holidays. It also an mean being away from home while taking on longer or even international flights.
If you have a lifestyle that lets you look at this as an adventure, you’ll probably love it. If you want the stability of a schedule that lets you be home with your family every night, this might be a bad idea for you.
For great detail on the schedule of a flight attendant, make sure to read our article on the topic here.
Requirements to be a Flight Attendant
Here are some of the requirements you’ll need to meet to be a flight attendant.
- High School Diploma or GED: Although a college degree is not required, you will have to at least have graduated from high school or an equivalent program. Also, college experience is considered a bonus, so if you did attend or graduate from a university, make sure to let potential employers know.
- Height Requirements: Many airlines list a minimum and maximum height in order to be a flight attendant. This is done to make sure you can reach the overhead compartments on airplanes. The airlines that don’t have a specific height requirement just ask you be tall enough to reach those compartments.
- Vision: Airlines do have corrected vision standards set up for flight attendants. That means that you have to meet certain vision requirements but are welcome to wear glasses or contacts. This should not be a problem for most people.
- Background Check: You will need to pass a background check to be a flight attendant. This will include a criminal background check, fingerprinting, and a drug screen. If you have anything in your past that you think might prevent you from being hired, make sure you are upfront about it. Lying during the process will make sure you end up without a job.
What Skills are Necessary?
The main goal of a flight attendant is to provide great customer service. The airline you work for wants their customers to have a great experience, so it’s up to you to make sure you provide that great experience.
If you have ever had another job in customer service or retail sales, this will give you a good idea of what to expect as well as some experience you can use on your resume and in the interview.
In order to be great at interacting with customers, you should make sure you excel at the following skills
- Listening: Customers are going to want to feel like what they’re telling you is getting across and that you care enough to be listening to what they say.
- Attention to Detail: You are going to have to field complex questions and requests from travelers. Being able to pay close attention to details will make the process better for both of you.
- Physical Stamina: You are going to be on your feet a lot and stay active. This will include helping passengers with their luggage, getting them drinks/food, loading the drink cart, etc.
- Decisiveness: Flight attendants sometimes have to make decisions very quickly in the case of an emergency.
Is Experience as a Flight Attendant Required?
No, most airlines are open to hiring someone without experience as long as they feel that person can be trained to be a great flight attendant.
We have an entire guide written just for anyone who wants to learn how to become a flight attendant without experience.
Make a Resume
Before you start applying for flight attendant positions, you want to make sure you’ve polished your resume. This means making sure it’s updated and has accurate information on your previous jobs, experience, etc.
When I was a hiring manager I would often come across resumes that had mistakes, typos, and generally did not reflect the candidate in a positive light. Those applicants often did not get an interview. Make sure you aren’t one of those candidates. Take the time to make your resume look great and polished before you submit it with any airlines.
Also, make sure your resume highlights any experience you have that can help you in your new role as a flight attendant. This includes things like customer service experience, sales experience, and other jobs that might have similar experience in dealing with the public.
You want to make sure that someone reading your resume can see that you would be a good fit for the job.
Now that you have your resume ready to go, it’s time to start looking for jobs.
If you’re unsure of where to start looking for flight attendant jobs, let’s walk through some of the basics. This should let you track down the right positions to apply for.
Local airlines: If you happen to be in a city that a major airlines uses as a hub, you might already be familiar with them and want to start by visiting their website directly.
Indeed: Indeed is my personal favorite job site on the internet. It aggregates jobs from a variety of places meaning that it often has more jobs listed in one place than any other job site. Make sure you give them a try. They can be reached at Indeed.com
Zip Recruiter: Zip Recruiter is a job service that is quickly taking over the industry. Here is a direct link to their site that has all currently available jobs for flight attendants. Find it here: Zip Recruiter
Airline List: Here is a handy list of most airlines (including international ones!). If there is a specific airline you’re interested in, this should let you go directly to their website and apply. Here is that list
Once you’ve applied for a flight attendant job with an airline, they will review your information and hopefully give you a call to schedule a job interview. This can be a few days after you apply or in some cases weeks or months. It all depends on how soon the airline is looking to hire new flight attendants.
Here’s what you need to know for when you finally get to that interview.
Although you want to be professional at the interview for any job, this is even more important here. How you present yourself makes a huge difference. It is very important to airlines that their flight attendants present themselves as professionals. This means making sure you are on time and carry yourself like a professional.
During the interview you need to make a point of being very positive and upbeat. Never mention anything gad about previous jobs or employers. When asked questions around why you want to be a flight attendant, make sure to explain that you love to interact with and help people. Don’t just focus on the free travel and never tell the interviewer that you dislike your current job.
Bonus Tip: During the interview make sure to give examples of times you’ve gone above and beyond to give great service to a customer while in a previous job. Give details and make sure to drive home the point of how much you enjoyed helping that person and how much they appreciated it.
Since you are applying for a job working with the public, you want to show the people who interview you that you have great people skills. That means you have to make sure you are pleasant and friendly. You should smile a lot and make contact often. Make sure they see the positivity you’ll be bringing passengers if they hire you.
Have you ever noticed just how well put-together flight attendants usually are? I can’t think of any I’ve ever encountered that were sloppy or didn’t have great hygiene. This isn’t a coincidence. Airlines know that passengers respond better in close quarters to flight attendants that have a clean and well kept appearance. Make sure you present yourself like this in the interview.
Training as a Flight Attendant
Once you’re hired a flight attendant you’ll have to complete a 3 to 6 week long training course. This length of the training depends on the airline but it will almost always include training on this like emergency procedures, operating the drink carts, handling customer requests, and more.
Many people report that this training period is difficult but not overwhelming as long as you maintain a positive attitude and learn from your mistakes. You’ll have a lot to learn and if you take it easy and stay positive, this will be a very rewarding few weeks.
Once you’ve completed your training with the airline, you’ll be going on some practice/training flights to show what you’ve learned. If you’ve worked hard throughout the program, you should be ready to move on to being a flight attendant.
At this point, you’ll be given a certification by the FAA (FAA Certificate of Demonstrated Proficiency). To keep your certification you’ll have to make sure you do required ongoing training throughout the year as well as follow policies and protocols while on the job.
Here are some common questions that prospective flight attendants have about the job as well as getting hired.
Is there a minimum and maximum age to become a flight attendant?
The minimum age to become a flight attendant is somewhere between 18 and 21 depending on the airline. There is no maximum age as long as you meet all of the other requirements.
Will I be required to relocate?
Most airlines do not require you to relocate. Depending on what city you live in and the needs of your airline, you might be able to commute. Since this depends on both the policies of the airline that hires you and where you live, I would make sure to ask this during the interview process.
Will I need to have a passport to be a flight attendant?
Although having a passport is not required to apply to jobs, you’ll need it in order to work as a flight attendant. If you already have one, great! If you do not yet have a passport, you should start the process of obtaining one now to prevent any delays in the future.
Does the airline I work for pay for travel expenses while working?
Yes. You will be paid a per diem to cover expenses like food while traveling as a flight attendant. Also, if your work requires you to stay overnight in another city, the airline you work for will pay for your hotel.
Being a flight attendant can be a fun and rewarding career for the right person. It gives you the opportunity to travel, meet people, and have fun while working. In addition, you can earn great pay (especially once you are experienced).
If you’re interested in becoming a flight attendant, make sure to follow the steps in this article and start the process of getting hired so you can give it a try.