Being a flight attendant goes much deeper than simply greeting flight passengers when they board the plane and serving them drinks and snacks during the flight.
As a key member of the cabin crew, your main role will be to manage the safety and security of all passengers on the plane. You will also be tasked with making sure your passengers are kept calm and comfortable during their flight.
What does it take to be a good flight attendant?
You will need to have good communication skills, a friendly personality and plenty of patience. You will also need an eye for detail and be able to read people’s moods to sense when they are unhappy, uncomfortable or maybe feeling stressed or under the weather.
It isn’t easy to land a job as a flight attendant – there is plenty of competition out there for these coveted roles with hundreds of applications being submitted for each newly advertised role.
The reason why flight attendant jobs are so popular is that the role comes with plenty of benefits. These can include free flights, free hotel accommodation and meals, and a flexible work schedule that involves no more than working 95 hours per month as mandated by the Association of Flight Attendants.
You would be well matched for this career if:
- You adapt easily to changing circumstances
- You can keep your cool during stressful situations
- You enjoy working as part of a team
- You love to travel
- You are attentive to the needs of others
- You are empathetic and caring
Training to be a flight attendant
Don’t worry about seeking out any official flight attendant training before you apply for a job. Once you are hired by an airline, they will manage all of the professional, certified training you need and will help you gain valuable experience that you can use in your role.
Your training will be pretty intense and will cover health and safety aspects such as first aid training, keeping your passengers calm during an emergency and how to safely evacuate an aircraft.
Following your training, you will serve around a year as a reserve or trainee to gain experience. You will be asked to serve alongside experienced crews to learn from and also stand in for absent attendants when needed.
Once you have officially passed your training and gained experience, you will be able to have more control over your working schedule and preferences for flying on international, domestic, long-haul, or short trips.
What salary does a flight attendant earn?
A US-based flight attendant will usually earn in the region of $50,500 a year. This figure is an average rate, so this could vary depending on your level of experience, training and the hours you commit to fly.
What are the educational requirements for a flight attendant’s job?
In the US, to become a flight attendant, a High School Diploma is usually required or GED at the very least but a Bachelor’s degree is preferred.
You will stand a better chance of landing a flight attendant’s job should you carry a degree in communications, hospitality, social science, or public relations. You will also increase your chances by already carrying First Aid and CPR Certification.
If you are convinced that a career as a flight attendant is for you, then here are some top tips to help you apply and land your chosen job:
1. A well-crafted resume
Being accepted by an airline to train as a flight attendant in most cases boils down to you being able to present a very strong and well-crafted resume and cover letter as part of your job application.
Your resume should really highlight your strongest interpersonal skills that you know airline hiring managers will be looking for.
2. Use a stylish resume template
When creating your resume, it can help you greatly by choosing a very high-quality resume template from our range to make your job application stand out from the crowd.
Remember that flight attendant jobs are highly competitive so there will be lots of potential candidates applying for the role. That means that the airline recruitment officer will be sifting through potentially hundreds of resumes.
3. Choose a head-shot resume
Make your application stand out by using a resume template that features a head-shot and a smart layout that is not only easy on the eye but delivers a positive taste of your personality before the airline has even met you.
An example would be our Simple Snapshot Complete Resume Pack that features a two-page resume in a striking, yet clean-cut style that looks professional but carries a sense of warmth and friendliness than a more formal style of resume offers.
4. Tailoring your resume
Remember to emphasize your strongest communication skills and ability to cope under pressure. Here are some examples of the skills that airline hiring managers are looking for in a strong candidate:
- A good eye for detail
- Active listening skills
- Conflict resolution skills
- Excellent time management
- First Aid / CPR training (if applicable)
- Highly conscientious with a caring personality
- Smart, professional appearance
- Strong interpersonal skills
- Strong verbal communication skills
5. Highlight useful work experience
If you have previously held a job where you gained a lot of experience dealing with people or the general public, this experience is well worth highlighting.
So, for example, if you have previously worked in customer services or the hospitality industry, this is a valuable experience of people management that you can bring to the role.
If you don’t have much work experience, then you can mention any part-time jobs you held or volunteering activities you have taken part in that involved helping people.
Any previous military training or experience will also show the airline recruitment officer that you are disciplined and used to working as part of a team.
6. List any special skills that you have
You may be carrying extra special skills that could be of great value to the airline, such as being able to speak different languages, you hold a duel or international passport, or you previously worked as a paramedic or have other valuable medical training.
7. Check the job description for clues
If you are fresh out of college and don’t have any previous work experience that is relevant to the role, then you should carefully read the job description for clues about what skills the airline is looking for within a candidate.
Quite often the airline will advertise a flight attendant job opportunity and will include a list of the key qualities they want from an applicant. This can give you a serious insight into their requirements and the more skills you can tick off on their list and demonstrate that you have, the better your chances will be.
You may be in a position where you feel you lack the necessary experience needed for a flight attendant’s role. In this case, it may be worth delaying your plans for a year while you get some relevant work experience by working in a hotel or resort, or a restaurant.
8. Preparing for an interview for a flight attendant position
Should you land an opportunity for an interview, then it will pay you to be prepared! The most common question asked is usually ‘why do you want to work for our airline?’
Take some time to think about why you want to be a flight attendant and how much the job would mean to you. Make a list of the key reasons why you want this career.
You can use your reasons to explain to your interviewer why you are so passionate about this opportunity and what you can bring to the role.
9. Be ready for some tricky interview questions
Your interviewer will most likely want you to give them an example of how you handle stressful situations such as calming down an over-anxious passenger that may be afraid of flying.
Think back to a time where you helped to calm someone down and remember how you responded and acted and what techniques you used. Keep this event in mind should you need to recall it during your interview.
Be prepared to stand up and present a short mock in-flight announcement during your interview. Practice at home in a mirror – remembering to speak clearly while being brief and very polite.
You may be asked some tricky or thoughtful interview questions that you need to be able to answer clearly. These may include questions such as:
- Are you flexible about being on call for more than a year?
- What would you do if you accidentally spilled a drink on a passenger?
Make time to gain more useful tips to prepare and use at your interview. You can find plenty of sound interview advice and tips on the Freesumes blog that you can read.