Thousands of people have the enthusiastic drive to become a flight attendant, but not all have the passion for the career.
It’s vital for success in this profession for serious applicants to consistently update their knowledge, and more importantly, know exactly what’s expected of all cabin crew members.
A flight attendants job has changed drastically over the years, and the misconception most people have are of stewards/stewardesses walking up and down the aisles with the trolley of products for sale, giving the cliché name “trolley dolly” to the profession.
You will be required to present yourself smartly, wearing the company uniform with pride, as you are the front face of the airline. You’ll also need have excellent communication skills, and a clear spoken voice for passengers to understand the announcement you make.
On your feet for most of the working day, you will be pushing the airline cart up and down the aisle, and expected to meet sales target. But at the same time, that’s not what your job role is about.
It’s all about providing care to passengers, and providing the best in customer services as you do. As you’re parading up and down the aisle of an aircraft, selling duty-free products, and providing refreshments throughout the flight, you’ll also be using your observation skills to monitor passenger behaviour, consistently being on the ball to any potential hazards that could jeopardise flight safety. Flight attendants are trained to the highest of standards, as when you’re in the air, you’re the first in line to deal with emergencies.
Passengers look to all cabin members for reassurance before a flight, during it and in the event of an emergency; you have to be prepared and educated to take rapid and decisive action instantly. First aid training is vital, but besides being trained in first aid, airlines will also put their flight attendants through survival training too.
This career puts meaning to the phrase “expect the unexpected.” Whenever a recruitment drive begins with any airline, there are thousands of applications for recruiters to scan through. Therefore it’s of the utmost importance that if you really want to pursue this career, you put the effort in to training yourself on the fundamental aspects airlines need, in order to get yourself into a short-list of applicants invited to an interview day.
Is there specific training required to become a flight attendant?
Training for flight attendants differs between airlines, but at the core of the training is health and safety, and first aid training.
It’s beneficial for any candidate to hold a recognised first aid certificate, and even more beneficial is a fire awareness certificate.
The training begins after successfully getting through a multiple stage interview, and the best way to get through that stage is to demonstrate on your application that your first aid skills, health and safety, food handling, and awareness and procedures for dealing with fires is also advantageous.
The main training will usually be conducted at the HQ of the airline you work with. Some will use flight simulators to teach you the correct emergency procedures you’ll need to implement if there is an emergency during the flight.
Entry requirements to any training will require cabin crew applicants to meet the following criteria:
Regarding personal appearance and fitness, it’s usually required that all cabin crew have their weight in proportion to their height as well.
To stand out from others, there are other training courses available, some of which include:
Note that whilst you can take the above courses at local colleges, should you train to level 3 in senior cabin crew, it is unlikely to be recruited directly into this position, as SCCMs are mostly promoted from within and will start out as a flight attendant and progress from there.
After you have completed your flight attendant training you will begin your career as a flight attendant. As a Flight Attendant it is your role to ensure the passengers safety and to ensure that they are comfortable throughout the duration of the flight.
You will be required to carry out certain duties throughout the flight too. You will be expected to take the passengers boarding pass and get them seated comfortably, you will need to be able to demonstrate the standard safety procedures.
You will be required to serve passengers both food and drinks and with some flights you may need to use your skills to calm a nervous flying passenger or you maybe needed to perform first aid of some kind in other circumstances. It is safe to say not one shift will be the same!
When working as a Flight Attendant you can sometimes get up to five days off in between your next working flight and those that work long haul flights quite often get four days off, all expenses paid when they arrive at the particular destination.
So the job can have its perks! What you must be prepared to do is work some unsociable hours – like through the night and you may be expected to work weekends, bank holidays and this can even include Christmas Day.
To be a flight attendant you need to be good with people, prepared to work long hours and be flexible, be a good team player and able to work on your own initiative.
The starting salary of a newly qualified Flight Attendant is usually around £14,000.
Like with any career the more experienced you become in your role the more your salary will reflect this. So an experienced Flight Attendant would earn between £16,000 and £22,000 per annum. You can work your way up to more a senior role which again will affect your salary and see it rise to around £25,000.
Don’t forget as well as your salary you would also receive other benefits of the job, such as; discount on flights, savings on hotel costs, and should you need to stay overnight somewhere this will be all expenses paid.
Should you wish to progress in this career further then there are other job opportunities that may become available to you. For example you might progress to leader of a team of staff within the cabin crew or even become a senior role and train/teach as a cabin crew instructor. This is another career where there are many directions that you can take yourself in, so what are you waiting for!
Once you have some experience as a flight attendant it is possible to progress to the position of senior flight attendant.
The senior flight attendant will assist the Lead flight attendant with their duties and responsibilities. Due to the increase responsibility that the role brings the salary will be higher than that of a flight attendants.
Eventually you will gain enough experience to be able to apply for lead flight attendant roles. The lead flight attendant (normally found on larger flights) is responsible for the running of the cabin reporting directly to the pilots.
The lead flight attendant will deliver on board announcements, carry out pre-flight checks, hold the manifest and secure the doors for takeoff. This position will require some additional training, but again the extra training and responsibility will deliver greater remuneration.