What It Is Like Being A Flight Attendant?
Flying may not be as glamorous and exciting as it once was, although a career as a flight attendant still has an appeal for many. However, there is a lot more to the job than simply serving drinks and snacks, and the rigorous training and high standards are often enough to dissuade many people.
The advantages of a career as a flight attendant are clear. It’s a job that gets you out of the office and away from the computer screen and can be challenging, with no two days the same.
And of course, the opportunity to travel the world while working is a huge attraction. To succeed in this field, you need to be outgoing, personable, well-groomed, relatively fit and able to deal with situations ranging from an unruly passenger to a delayed flight.
It helps if you are well traveled and comfortable interacting with people of different cultures and have a grasp of how the aviation industry works.
If you want to become a flight attendant you will need a high school diploma and probably a college degree, and some customer experience is helpful too, with some airlines requiring two years.
A military or medical background is also a plus. The screening process is thorough, the interview can be demanding, and only a few percent of applicants pass the interview and are accepted.
If hired, you will be expected to take and pass your airline’s intensive training course, which can be anything from several weeks to several months. During training, you can expect to learn how to deliver the required safety briefing from memory, serve food and drink, and the differences between the various types of aircraft operated by that airline.
And of course, you will be trained to safely and more efficiently cope with situations that you will probably never have to face, such as an emergency landing, hijacking, water evacuation and a sick passenger.
The exam at the end of the training is considered to be one of the toughest there is. You will probably have to achieve at least a 90 percent score to pass, and the exam typically consists of written tests, as well as role-playing scenarios.
Most of us know a few airport codes, such as JFK for New York’s Kennedy airport, and LAX for Los Angeles. To pass your final exam, you will need to memorize hundreds of codes.
Not all airlines are the same, and the major airlines have different requirements, as well as offer flights to various locations. American for example, flies to over 50 countries while Frontier and JetBlue fly mostly within the United States You may also have to relocate to live somewhere close to a major airline hub, such as Philadelphia, Chicago or Dallas.
The larger US airlines employ thousands of flight attendants, and your chances of being hired are probably higher with a large carrier.
If you are fortunate enough to become a flight attendant, you may find the job more mundane than you imagined. You will have to deal with canceled and delayed flights, weather problems, and challenging and demanding passengers.
Just about every airline assigns shifts and routes based on seniority, and you may find that you have to fly back and forth to Milwaukee for several years before you get assigned to work a flight to Europe or Asia.
Expect to spend between 75 and 100 hours in the air each month, with perhaps another 50 hours doing paperwork and preparing for your flight.
But there is no doubt that thousands of hopeful applicants are drawn to this career option each year. If you can honestly say that you are a “people person” and your goal is to travel for free, it may be the perfect career choice.