Flight attendants play a vital role in ensuring the safety and comfort of passengers while they travel on aircraft. They are responsible for the well-being of passengers, from providing assistance during an emergency to serving meals and drinks. In this post, we will take a closer look at the job duties and responsibilities of a flight attendant, as well as the qualifications and skills needed to become one.
We will also discuss the various career opportunities available to flight attendants, including advancement within the airline industry. Whether you’re interested in becoming a flight attendant or just curious about what the job entails, we hope you’ll find this post informative and helpful.
Flight Attendant Job Description
Flight Attendants are responsible for the safety and comfort of passengers while on board an aircraft. They work as part of a team to ensure that all passengers have a pleasant and safe flight experience. Job duties include:
- Conducting pre-flight safety checks, including checking emergency equipment and ensuring that the cabin is properly stocked
- Assisting passengers during emergency situations, such as medical emergencies or evacuations
- Providing in-flight service, such as serving meals and drinks, and answering questions about the flight
- Assisting passengers with special needs, such as providing wheelchair assistance or helping with children
- Conducting post-flight duties, such as cleaning the cabin and restocking supplies
- Following all safety procedures and regulations set by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
- High school diploma or equivalent, with a minimum of a GED
- Strong customer service skills
- Good communication and interpersonal skills
- Ability to work well in a team environment
- Ability to remain calm under pressure
- Fluency in English, and additional languages is a plus
- Must be able to pass a background check and pre-employment drug test
- Must be able to meet the physical requirements of the job, including being able to reach overhead and lift up to 50 pounds
- Must be able to pass the FAA’s medical requirements and obtain a flight attendant certificate
This position requires candidates to be available for irregular working hours, including evenings, weekends, and holidays, as well as being away from home for extended periods of time. A flight attendant must be able to work in a fast-paced and dynamic environment, and be able to adapt to different situations quickly.
Flight Attendant Salaries
The starting salary for a flight attendant on a civilian airline can vary depending on the airline and location. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median hourly wage for flight attendants in the United States was $22.65 in May 2020. The bottom 10 percent earned less than $18.66 per hour, while the top 10 percent earned more than $34.34 per hour.
However, starting salaries for flight attendants can be lower than the median wage, with some airlines offering starting salaries in the $18,000 to $22,000 range. As flight attendants gain experience and seniority, their salaries can increase. Many airlines have a pay scale that takes into account factors such as years of service, flight hours, and the number of flights worked.
As per the Glassdoor, the national average salary for a Flight Attendant is $44,023 in the United States. Salary ranges can vary widely depending on many important factors, including education, certifications, additional skills, the number of years you have spent in your profession. With several years of experience, flight attendants can earn a salary in the $50,000 to $70,000 range.
Additionally, some airlines offer additional benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, and paid time off. Flight attendants may also receive additional compensation for international flights, overnight layovers, and other types of flights.
Flight Attendant Typical Day
A typical day in the life of a flight attendant can vary depending on the airline, the flight route, and the time of day, but generally, it involves a combination of preparing for the flight, working on the flight, and completing post-flight duties.
Before a flight, flight attendants will typically arrive at the airport several hours before departure. During this time, they will conduct pre-flight safety checks, including checking emergency equipment and ensuring that the cabin is properly stocked with food, drinks, and other supplies. They will also review the flight plan and passenger manifest, and receive a briefing from the pilot on any important information or updates.
Once the flight is ready to depart, flight attendants will assist passengers with boarding, helping them to find their seats and stow their carry-on luggage. During the flight, they will provide in-flight service, such as serving meals and drinks, and answering questions about the flight. They will also assist passengers with special needs, such as providing wheelchair assistance or helping with children. Additionally, flight attendants must be constantly aware and ready for any emergency situations that may arise, such as medical emergencies or evacuations.
After the flight, flight attendants will complete post-flight duties, such as cleaning the cabin and restocking supplies. They will also complete paperwork and debrief with the pilot and other crew members. Depending on their schedule, flight attendants may then have a layover before their next flight, or they may return home for some rest and relaxation.
It’s worth mentioning that flight attendants usually work in a shift work schedule, therefore, days off, and working hours are not regular and may include night, weekends and holidays. They may also have long layovers in different cities.
Pros & Cons of being a Flight Attendant
Being a flight attendant can be a challenging and rewarding career, with a unique set of pros and cons.
- The opportunity to travel: One of the main draws of being a flight attendant is the opportunity to see different parts of the world and experience different cultures. Flight attendants often have layovers in different cities, which can provide them with the opportunity to explore and sightsee.
- Meeting new people: Flight attendants have the opportunity to meet and interact with a diverse group of people on a daily basis, which can be a fun and rewarding experience.
- Flexible schedule: Flight attendants often have a flexible schedule, which can be beneficial for those who wish to have a more varied and dynamic lifestyle.
- Good pay and benefits: Flight attendants can earn a good salary and often have access to benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, and paid time off. Some airlines also provide additional compensation for international flights, overnight layovers, and other types of flights.
- Irregular working hours: Flight attendants often have to work irregular hours, including evenings, weekends, and holidays, which can be challenging for those who prefer a more traditional 9-to-5 schedule.
- Time away from home: Flight attendants may be away from home for extended periods of time, which can be difficult for those who have families or other commitments.
- Stressful situations: Flight attendants may have to deal with difficult passengers and stressful situations, such as medical emergencies or evacuations.
- Physical demands: The physical demands of being a flight attendant can be challenging, including being able to reach overhead and lift up to 50 pounds, and standing for long periods of time.
- Jet lag and fatigue: Flight attendants are constantly adjusting to different time zones, which can cause jet lag and fatigue.
- Economic instability: The career prospects of a flight attendant also depend on the state of the airline industry, which can be affected by economic downturns, and other external factors that could lead to layoffs or reduction in the number of flights.
Overall, being a flight attendant can be a challenging and rewarding career that offers a unique opportunity to travel, meet new people, and work in a fast-paced and dynamic environment. However, it also comes with its share of challenges, including irregular working hours, time away from home, and stressful situations. It’s important to weigh the pros and cons before deciding if a career as a flight attendant is the right fit for you.
Flight Attendant Career Prospects
The career prospects for a flight attendant can vary depending on the airline and the current state of the industry. However, in general, flight attendants have opportunities for advancement within the airline industry.
One potential career path for flight attendants is to move into a supervisory role, such as a lead or chief flight attendant. These roles involve additional responsibilities such as scheduling and training of flight attendants, and may also come with a higher salary.
Another potential career path is to move into a ground-based role within the airline, such as a customer service representative, a gate agent, or a flight dispatch agent. These roles involve working with passengers on the ground, rather than in the air, and can provide a change of pace from the fast-paced environment of flight attendant work.
For flight attendants with exceptional skills, experience, and knowledge, there may be opportunities to move into management or executive positions within the airline.
Additionally, some flight attendants choose to take on additional roles such as becoming an instructor or an evaluator for flight attendant training programs, or even becoming a consultant for aviation safety and customer service.
It’s worth noting that the growth of the airline industry will also play a role in the career prospects of flight attendants. During periods of economic growth, the demand for air travel increases and airlines are more likely to hire and promote flight attendants. However, during periods of economic downturn or industry disruption, the demand for air travel may decrease, and the number of job opportunities for flight attendants may also decrease.
Flight Attendant Interview Questions
Question: Why do you want to become a flight attendant?
Answer: I am passionate about the aviation industry and have always been fascinated by the opportunity to travel and meet new people. I believe that being a flight attendant would be a challenging and rewarding career that would allow me to use my customer service skills to make a positive impact on the travel experience of passengers. I am also excited about the opportunity to learn and grow within the industry and take on new responsibilities.
Question: What qualifications do you have that would make you a good fit for the role of a flight attendant?
Answer: I have a high school diploma, and I am fluent in English. I have excellent customer service skills, and I am able to remain calm under pressure. I am a quick learner, and I am able to adapt to new situations quickly. I also have experience working in a team environment. Additionally, I am able to meet the physical demands of the job, including being able to reach overhead and lift up to 50 pounds, and I have passed a background check and pre-employment drug test.
Question: How would you handle a difficult passenger?
Answer: I would handle a difficult passenger by remaining calm and professional at all times. I would listen to the passenger’s concerns and try to understand their point of view. I would then provide them with clear and accurate information, and do my best to resolve any issues or concerns they may have. If the situation escalates, I would follow the airline’s procedures for dealing with difficult passengers, and if necessary, I would involve a supervisor or other members of the crew.
Question: How do you handle stress?
Answer: I handle stress by staying organized and prioritizing tasks. I also take time to take breaks and clear my mind when necessary. I also have good time management skills and I can stay focused under pressure. I also have experience dealing with difficult situations and I can remain calm under pressure. If I feel overwhelmed, I know when to ask for help or to take a step back.
Question: Why should we hire you as a flight attendant?
Answer: You should hire me as a flight attendant because I have the qualifications, skills, and experience needed to excel in this role. I have excellent customer service skills, I am able to remain calm under pressure, and I am able to adapt to new situations quickly. I am also passionate about the aviation industry, and I am excited about the opportunity to make a positive impact on the travel experience of passengers. I am also eager to learn and grow within the industry and take on new responsibilities.Regen