What do Flight Attendants Do

what do flight attendants do

How to Become a Flight Attendant

Welcome to Flight Attendant Facts! Learn How to Become a Flight Attendant!

Let’s take a look at main points you will learn from this article:

  • Do you love to travel? Become a Flight Attendant
  • Flight Attendant Career
  • Becoming a Flight Attendant
  • What Do Flight Attendants Do
  • Why Be A Flight Attendant
  • Flight Attendant Schedule
  • Flight Attendant Salary
  • Flight Attendant Job Description
  • Airline Seniority
  • Recurrent Training

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Learn about the flight attendant job and career.

You are probably here because you are interested on becoming a flight attendant, or because you are curious about what a flight attendant is and what kind of life and career could a person like you have as a flight attendant.

Get the facts about how to become a flight attendant along with the best and the worst in the airline industry. Get the information directly from internal source who live it day in and day out. Get information on flight attendant interview, qualification, uniform, salary, job description, flight attendant jobs and everything else about how to become a flight attendant.

Are you interested in becoming a corporate flight attendant? We have valuable information about that career also.

Airline's Best

There are great benefits to becoming an airline flight attendant, here are some to start with about flight attendant jobs:

  • Great Flight Benefits
  • Great Schedule Once You Earn Enough Seniority
  • Travel Any Where And Every Where Around The World

Airline's Worst

Along with the best, there are also bad things about the airline industry and being a flight attendant. Here are a few to begin with:

  • Salary/Income
  • Schedule
  • Flight Benefits

If you are interested in learning about flight attendant jobs, you have come to the right place. Here is full of information about flight attandant careers.

Do you love to travel? Become a Flight Attendant.

What is a flight attendant? A flight attendant (also known as flight stewards or stewardess, air hostess and cabin crew) work in-flight providing customer service to passengers on board as well as to ensure safety of the flight. The stewardess or flight attendant usually provides in flight services during flight such as serving drinks and food. Long flights usually have more than one food or beverage service while really short flights may not have any.

Some people have mistaken flight attendants as nothing but hostesses or waitresses on a flight. But flight attendants are much more than a service provider during flights, the number one roll of a flight attendant is to ensure safety of the passengers. Think about it, if there were no flight attendants, every passenger on board would have to know all the safety information in case of an emergency. Because if there was no trained flight attendant on board to calm passengers and assist them during an emergency it would be chaotic.

The service part of the flight, which includes the beverage service as well as food service for longer flights are only for provided for the comfort of the passengers. Since most people don't bring drinks or snack for their flights, most would get dehydrated and hungry if it weren't for these comforting services that are provided by the flight attendants.

Flight Attendant Career

Starting a flight attendant career.

Becoming a flight attendant will be more than just a career or a job, it will become your life.

Starting from the point when you get hired, the airlines basically has control of what you do and when you do it, at least for a while, until you gain some seniority. Scheduling and your airline company will have you like a puppet for 20-21 days a month while you are on reserve.

Reserve schedule for most of the airlines are 24 hours a day for all the days that you are on reserve. That may mean getting called at eleven at night, or three in the morning. You can expect to get called when you least expect it. So plan for the worst when on reserve.

Asian flight attendants.

Short call is not uncommon, and for some airlines it may be frequently. On short calls, depending on the airline that you are working for, you may get an hour or two to get to the airport and duty-in. Most airlines also have ready reserves who basically stay at the airport all day incase a flight attendant is needed to cover a trip at a very short notice. This is usually not too bad, its better than getting short called.

Reserve doesn't last forever, but it can last anywhere from a few months to over a year or two. You can expect to move up in seniority if your company is growing and hiring new flight attendants and if people senior to you are leaving the airlines.

What are the airline flight attendant career opportunities?

While most flight attendants are satisfied with their airline career and the everyday flying and going from one city to another, there are others who look for opportunities to move up the ladder. While a few positions allow flight attendants to move up with more responsibilities and pay while still flying the line, most positions for advancement does not include flying the line.

Some of the positions you may consider after you become a flight attendant is to become a supervisor or an assistant supervisor. These positions will require you to have the normal eight hour work day five days a week. But if you are getting burned out from working on the line, applying for an office position may be a benefit to you. Besides being home every night, office positions tend to pay a little more than flying the line. Usually, the pay is based on a monthly guaranteed hours. For example, you might get an extra ten or fifteen hours guarantee over the minimum guarantee hours that flight attendants get each month.

Aside from the office positions at the airport flight attendant lounge area, there are also positions available at the headquarter. The positions vary, but most have to do with training. For example, a flight attendant instructor position. As a flight attendant instructor, you will typically work at the headquarter or training facilities providing training to new and current flight attendants. You also will not be working on the line and your pay would also be a higher monthly guarantee.

You can climb the corporate ladder within time if working in an office is something you can enjoy.

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Becoming a Flight Attendant

Are you ready to become a flight attendant?

Becoming a flight attendant can be quite easy actually. Sometimes getting hired by the airline that you want to work for is more like luck than anything else.

Asian flight attendants.

Many airlines require a minimum age of 18 to become a flight attendant. For the major airlines, most require a minimum age of 21. Having some sort of degree is usually preferred, but not required. If you have a few years of customer service experience somewhere, for the most part, that can usually make up for not having the educational background. There are also requirements such as height, not too high or not too short. Being able to relocate is usually a must, then having a passport for most airline is required, but sometimes you don't actually have to have it right when you get hired. You can usually get your passport while you are in training.

Once you feel like you have most of the requirements for the airlines, then you should send your resume or fill out an application online to as many airlines that you would consider working for. You will probably not get called for an interview at all of the places you sent your resumes to, but you should get a few. Of the few interviews, you can probably expect to get hired, on average, by one airline for every three or four airlines that you applied for.

What is the flight attendant interview like?

Each airline has their own way to conduct interviews for flight attendants. These examples are just a few of the many ways interviews can be done. But most airlines will have some that are similar to these interviews.

Interview example one:

A large open interview of about 30 or so. Then broken down to groups of about 10 in front of about 5 interviewers. They might ask you to say your name each time that you speak as well as read and answer a question from a card that you picked out of a stack.

If you make it through the first cut, then you may be required to take a test. The test is just to show that you are mentally capable for the job.

After the test, if you pass, you can expect to get a one on one interview. One on one might be you alone together with one or a few of the interviewers.

Interview example two:

A large open interview of maybe a hundred applicants. After a short introduction, the big group is broken down into groups of five.

The group of five might sit in front of two or three interviewers and take turn answering the questions one by one.

If you pass the group interview, you will be then invited to interview on a one on one. You might interview with one or two interviewers there.

Interview example three:

A big group of about 30-50 in front of one interviewer. One by one, each applicant will go to the front of the room in front of everyone and state their name as well as answer a question or two from the interviewer.

After passing the big group interview, the interviewer will narrow down the applicants to about half. This half that was chosen, goes in and answers more questions from the interviewer one by one.

The applicants who pass this group interview will be invited back for another interview.

The next interview will be a group interview, where you get tested for height, as well as given a scenario for your group to work on together.

After the group interview, each applicant is interviewed one by one by one interviewer.

Interview example four:

A one on one interview with one or more interviewer and yourself.

This can sometimes happen with smaller airlines and corporate flight departments hiring for corporate flight attendants and sometimes if you are coming to the interview from another state. If interviewing for an airline, you will be flown in on standby for your appointment.

Essential Flight Attendants Resume Skills

- Good communication skills.
- Problem-solving
- Excellent interpersonal skills.
- Numerical competence
- Remain calm when faced with difficult passengers or in emergency situations.
- Diplomacy, tact
- Basic swimming
- Adaptability
- Excellent colour vision and hearing.
- Flexibility
- You must be in good health and fit

While these skills are important, you must always look professional while on duty. It's not all fun and games, though. Are you confident that you can do the job? Don't be discouraged if you don't have the necessary skills. Depending on which airline you are applying to, a lot of these resume skills examples can be taught during training. This field is highly competitive and you must possess most, if not all of these qualities. You can learn more about the process to become a flight attendant. I hope to see you soon on my flight!

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What Do Flight Attendants Do

What do Flight Attendants Do In Flight?

By the time most people reach working age, they have probably been on a flight or two and have experienced the in flight service offered by flight attendants or stewards during the duration of their flight. Almost all flights over thirty minutes have some sort of in flight service or services. And depending on the actual flight time, it may only be a beverage service. For longer flights, a food service is usually provided and sometimes more than once.

So what else do flight attendants do other than serve food or drinks? To start off, flight attendants pre-flight the aircraft and board passengers, assist passengers and check to make sure that the aircraft cabin is ready and safe for flying. Once all the passengers have been boarded, a double check is made to make sure that all passengers are buckled in and belongings are stowed and ready for take off.

After take-off and once the aircraft is above ten thousand feet, flight attendants will start getting the beverage and food carts ready for an in flight service. Soon after reaching cruise altitude, a beverage service is provided for the passengers. The service may include only a beverage and a snack or for longer flights a meal or a sale of meals are also provided. And depending on the duration of the flight more than one beverage service may be provided.

During the rest of the flight, flight attendants will assist passengers requiring assistant. Flight attendants also provide comfort and safety to passengers throughout the entire flight.

Before landing, the flight attendants will clean up the food and beverage service items and secure the cabin for landing which includes making sure that all passengers are seated with seatbelts and all baggages have been properly put away.

Once on the ground, the flight attendants will deboard the passengers and provide any assistant to passengers requiring additional assistant. And depending on the airline, some airlines require flight attendants to help clean the aircraft by straightening of seatbelts and making sure there are no trash in the seating area and aisles. Most major airlines do not require flight attendants to assist the cleaners with cleaning the cabin.

Why Be A Flight Attendant

Do you love to travel? Become a flight attendant.

When looking for a job or a career, one might consider an airline career as there are many great benefits that come with working for an airline. And many people looking for an airline employment look to become a flight attendant.

Flight attendants and pilots travel more than anyone. Most flight attendants are working twenty days a month and have at least ten overnights at a hotel each month. Now that's a lot of traveling. But if you are like me, the feeling of being up in the sky and going from one city to another is enjoyable and very satisfying. I just love looking out the window and seeing everything from above.

So obviously, the biggest benefit to becoming a flight attendant is the travel benefit and I don't just mean the travel while working. Flight benefits while off duty is a huge perk for everyone with an airline job. Most airlines have some sort of travel benefits, while some are better than others, for the most part the flight is free. But keep in mind that although the flight may be free, it is only useful if there is an open seat as the free flights are for standby only. So when there is an open seat, the seats are given to employees on standby for that flight. Sometimes the flights are full and it can become difficult getting on a flight.

Airline jobs provide other benefits which most companies also provide like medical, dental, and many other types of insurance. A 401K for retirement is usually provided and the employers will typically match up to a certain amount per year.

Other benefits to being a flight attendant is working with a lot of different people and meeting new people all the time, both co-workers and passengers. While staying at hotels, most hotels offer points which you can later use for free nights. A lot of layovers provide enough time to explore the town or city where you are staying. It's almost like a mini vacation sometimes.

Flight Attendant Schedule

What is a flight attendant's schedule like?

Flight attendants have different schedules based on their seniority. After getting hired every flight attendant go through a reserve schedule for a few months up to a year or more. Senior flight attendants are able to hold a line which they bid for every month for the upcoming month. The line that you get awarded is based on seniority for that base.

Reserve flight attendants are usually on reserve 24 hours a day for everyday that they are on reserve. This means that you can expect to get call late at night or very early in the morning. You can also get short called where scheduling might give you an hour to get to the airport for your trip. You pretty much have to be ready for any type of trip they give you. Even if you get called for a round trip, you should always pack for at least a four day because they can change and add to your trip any time during your trip.

There are also ready reserve schedules for those flight attendants who are on reserve. This basically means that you go to the airport and are on standby for a day to cover any trip that scheduling might need covered at a very short notice.

Line holders on other hand bid for their schedules on a monthly basis for the following month. Lines are awarded to flight attendants by seniority. This means who ever was the senior of all the flight attendants who bid for a specific line number will get that line. Of course you bid for more than one line. If you are number 500, you should bid up to 500 to make sure that you don't get a miss bid and are award a line that you didn't want.

Reserve flight attendants will usually get ten days off a month on average. If you are a line holder, you can get anywhere between 10-20 or more days off a month based on seniority, and the line that you bid.

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Which flight attendant uniform will you need?

All airlines require flight attendants to wear uniforms for work. There are usually a variety of style of uniforms to choose from. Some of what you might choose to wear are as follow but not limited to these:

  • Blouse and Skirt
  • Polo Shirt and Shorts
  • Blouse and Slacks
  • Dress
  • Sweater Vest
  • Regular Vest
  • Blazers (can be worn with any of the above outfits)

Most airlines will provide some sort of an allowance for uniform. Some might pay you a few dollars a month to go towards your uniform, while other airlines might have a uniform bank, where overtime you order uniforms, they might match you the cost and pay like 50% of your purchase price for the uniform. Not all airlines handle the uniform allowance the same way, some airlines might be better than others.


Flight Attendant Salary

What salary do flight attendants make?

A flight attendant's salary varies from airline to airline. While one airline might start at $14 an hour, another might start at $20 an hour. Usually the bigger the airline the higher the pay. So you can expect to start out a few dollars higher for getting hired at a major airline like American, United and Delta, etc. over some regional airlines such as Comair, ASA, American Eagle, and etc.

You should realize though that the $14 or $20 dollars an hour that you are making is based on flight hours. On average, a flight attendant will work 75 hours a month. So you do the math.

Flight hours is not the only pay that a flight attendant will receive, there are also per diems that are paid for every hour that you are at work, from the minute that you duty-in till the time that you duty-out for your trip to go home. Most per diem are about $1.50-$2.00 an hour. On average, flight attendants work anywhere from 150-400 hours of time away from base each month where they are making the $1.50-$2.00 an hour on top of the flight hour pay.

And depending on the airline that you are with, you can expect to max out after about 15 or 20 years at an hourly rate of anywhere from $28-$50+ an hour.

Bureau of Labor Statistics

Flight Attendant Job Description

Examples of flight attendant job descriptions.

A lot of people have this misunderstanding about what exactly are the duties of a flight attendant. Many people think that flight attendants are their to serve food and drinks to the passengers and that's all.

Well to clear that misconception, flight attendant's main responsibility is the safety of everyone on that flight. Serving food and drinks to the passengers is just an added bonus for the passengers. If safety was not a big issue or concern, there would be no flight attendants on flights, which means no food or beverage service.

Flight attendants go through a very intense training for at least six weeks. This training is usually everyday , even weekends. The training covers all the emergency equipment, fire fighting and emergency scenarios as well as many other book and observation training.


Airline Seniority

Flight attendant seniority list.

If you have ever worked for an airline, then you probably already know that seniority is everything. There's not that many company where the date of hire is a big deal, but it is a huge deal when working for an airline. It literally affects your life.

Some people who work for an airline and have a seniority number don't want to try another job outside the airline because if they were to come back to the airlines, they would have to start over at the bottom. So for most people who leave the airlines, there is no going back just to be at the bottom again.

Seniority is a big deal for people working for an airline and especially for pilots and flight attendants. Bidding for schedule and getting the schedule that you want is based on your seniority. If you are low on the list, then you typically get the worst lines or trips that no one else wanted. Those on the top of the seniority list may get twenty days off a month while those at the very bottom only get nine. The top will get the days off they want and the nice trips while the people on the bottom will get the left over trips with days off all over the place.

It takes a long time to gain seniority, sometimes years, but eventually with time your schedule will get better. As it slowly gets better, you will enjoy getting better trips and more days off.

Seniority is also a factor when traveling as a non-rev. This is when when you get to use your airline perk and fly for free on stand by. However, not only are you on standby for an empty seat on a flight, you are also put on a list according to seniority. Not all airlines use seniority when it comes to non-rev travel as some are first come first serve, like American Airlines. But for majority of the airlines, your travel and getting an empty seat is based on your seniority, which is your hire date. So depending on how many non-revs are on standby on the flight, your chance might be good or bad. Just make sure to choose flights that are wide open.


Recurrent Training

Yearly Flight Attendant Recurrent

After you become a flight attendant, training is not over. Once a year you will have to schedule or choose the days you want to attend recurrent training or class. Recurrent training is usually done in the month that you had your initial training. So if you had initial flight attendant training on September 2011, then your recurrent training will be on September of 2012.

Recurrent training means a training that occurs once a year and it is to keep you current on your job. If you don't attend your recurrent training when you are supposed to, you will not be able to fly the line because you will not be current and you and the company can get in trouble by the FAA.

Recurrent training is usually two or three days of training back at the training facility or company headquarter. Some of the training may be done ahead of time at home on your computer which you would then only have to do the hands on training while attending your recurrent. This can shorten the number of days that you go for training.

Because recurrent training is only two or three days, there is not enough time to cover most of what you have learned during your initial training and therefore most of what is covered is safety. Some of what are covered is preflights, emergency equipment, emergency drills as well as CPR. And just like initial, you will have a final exam and would have to pass each exam with a 90% or higher.

Flying the Line

What is it like flying the line?

Hard solid lines versus reserve lines.

Once you get hired as a flight attendant and finish your training, you will probably end up being on reserve. Airlines like to have a certain number of flight attendants on reserve to cover for any make up flights or another flight attendant's flight if they can't make it or have called in sick.

Each month, a bid packet is created and in it is a list of trips put together in a form of lines. For example, one line might have Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday off and a four day starting on Thursday all the way to Sunday. The line might have the same trip four times for that month. This would mean for the entire month, you are off the same days of the week and work the four day trip the same days of the week.

While on reserve, there will also be a certain number of reserve lines for bids. Most new hires will end up with a reserve line and for some airlines; a flight attendant might be on reserve for a year before holding solid line. The reserve lines are made up the same as the solid lines. It will show your days off and the days you are on reserve for the entire month.

When bidding on a line, seniority is everything. When you are at the bottom of the seniority, you will have one of the worst lines which might be a bunch of left over trips and days off all over the place or you may be on reserve. But as you gain seniority, you will be able to hold a better line with more consistent days off and trips and even better trips.

For each line, there are solid days off, typically called golden days off. These days off mean that no matter what scheduling cannot move these days and put trips on them. It allows you to plan whatever you want on those days and have a piece of mind knowing that they will not change. Any other day off on your line is always subject to change at any time.

Fight Attendant Union

Flight Attendant Unions are part of being a airline flight attendant.

Flight attendants are required to join a union. There are more than one union representing flight attendants in the United States. Two of the unions are Association of Professional Flight Attendants APFA and Association of Flight Attendants AFA - CWA. Flight attendants pay a union fee each month to be a member of the union association.

The union is there to represent the flight attendants and to negotiate contracts, wages, benefits as well as working conditions. Every few years, a new flight attendant contract is negotiated by the union on behalf of all flight attendants working for each airline. Usually, at the end of the negotiations with the airline, a new contract is created and it may include new salary and benefits.

Flight Attendant Benefits are very good and will be some things to factor into a job as a flight attendant.

There are great benefits to becoming a flight attendant. One of the biggest reasons that people become or dream about becoming flight attendants are the flight benefits.

Flight benefits differ from airline to airline. Where one airline might not charge a penny to fly standby on the flights, another may charge $10, $20, or even $30 per flight or trip. Still not a bad deal, but flight loads are not always the greatest which makes nonrevenue sometimes not worth it. But never the less, the flight benefits are always great to have. You can also enjoy the benefits of flying cheap on other airlines. Most airlines will sell standby tickets to other airline employees any where from 75-95% off the regular full fare ticket price. This is great when your airline doesn't go to a place you need or want to travel to.

Other flight attendant benefits include but not limited to:

  • 10-20 days off a month (based on seniority)
  • Family and fiends travel benefits
  • Discount on hotels, cars, and sometimes cruise
  • Health benefits
  • Employee stock option (depends on airline)
  • 401k
  • Credit Union