What Does a Flight Attendant Do? Salary, Certifications, Skills

What does a flight attendant do? What is a flight attendant? Private and commercial airlines hire flight attendants to keep passengers safe and comfortable. They assist passengers in securing their seats, teach how to use the plane's safety systems, and serve food, drink, and other amenities.

what does a flight attendant do

What is a flight attendant?

Flight attendants are in charge of an aircraft's cabin and are responsible for the passengers' safety and comfort. They spend more time with passengers than any other airline employee, and they strive to provide the most customized service to each and every passenger during the trip.

Flight attendants can work in either first-class or economy class, providing more extensive service to a smaller number of passengers. Service entails attending to a wide range of requirements and requests, and flight attendants are only given a limited amount of time throughout the trip to provide the most customized service to each and every customer.

What does a flight attendant do?

The captain briefs the flight attendants about an hour before each trip. The weather, potential turbulence, flight duration, and other aspects that can impact the forthcoming flight are all covered in depth. They are also given information about the aircraft's safety features and emergency kit supplies. A passenger list is checked, and flight attendants are alerted if any special needs passengers, young children, or VIPs will be on board.

Flight attendants help passengers with the boarding procedure once they have been summoned to board. They assist any passengers with special needs, minors, or VIPs to ensure that they are properly cared for when boarding. Tickets and seating placements are checked for correctness as well as suspected counterfeit or stolen tickets by attendants. They also assist passengers with loading carry-on luggage, ensuring that it complies with the aircraft or airline's size and weight regulations.

Safety demonstrations

In a safety demonstration, flight attendants are also responsible for informing passengers on specific aircraft safety regulations. Passengers are taught how to find the nearest emergency exit, how to correctly fasten their seat belts, what to do if there is turbulence, how to utilize safety vests or flotation equipment, and how to use the drop-down oxygen masks. Passengers can be shown a brief film covering this information while the flight attendant keeps an eye on them.

what does a flight attendant do

Preparing for flight

Following the safety demonstration, attendants secure the cabin by turning off electronic devices and mobile phones, properly stowing carry-ons, ensuring that seats are in an upright posture, and stowing tray tables. Pre-take-off service refers to the complete process, from boarding to takeoff.

Flight attendants inspect passenger comfort once the jet is safely in the air. Passengers who want headphones or cushions are given them, and food or drinks are served. Flight attendants must do frequent safety checks and listen for odd noises in addition to serving passengers. Before completing a final safety check, attendants must confirm that all garbage has been removed from the cabin and that all seats are in their proper placements. After the plane has landed, attendants help passengers in securely exiting the plane.

Sample flight attendant job description

"Our business airline is looking for an experienced flight attendant to join our devoted staff. The flight attendant will be in charge of doing normal safety checks, helping passengers, and ensuring that each passenger has a pleasant and enjoyable flight experience. We're seeking for someone who can provide excellent customer service, enjoys traveling, and can work on a flexible schedule and on short notice. In addition to outstanding communication abilities, the ideal applicant will be able to make good judgments in a fast-paced workplace. Flight attendants must have at least three years of experience before being recruited and will undergo on-the-job training."

what does a flight attendant do

Flight attendant job duties and responsibilities

Flight attendants spend most of their time working in the cabin of the aircraft. Flight attendants greet passengers and assist them with their in-flight experience. The following job duties and responsibilities are in addition to those core functions:

  • Pre-flight briefings are attended to review flight information, weather, and service plans.
  • Conducts pre-flight safety inspections.
  • Between flights, prepares the aircraft by ensuring that the cabin spaces are clean.
  • Ensures that there is enough food, drinks, and other supplies on board.
  • Greets customers, aids with seat assignment promptness, and ensures that all carry-on bags and personal belongings are correctly stored in overhead or under-seat storage.
  • Provides safety and emergency procedures education, as well as demonstrations of the appropriate use of seat belts, oxygen masks, and flotation equipment.
  • Delivers and collects money for in-flight food and beverage services.
  • Answers queries from passengers regarding flight specifics (time, service, aircraft details, weather, delays, etc.)
  • Responds to any in-flight crises by assisting passengers as needed, including giving emergency first aid and filing injury or incident reports.
  • Assists passengers in exiting the plane safely and efficiently.
  • Prepares flight reports for clients.
  • Maintains current knowledge and understanding of established aviation safety and security requirements.
  • As needed, does additional relevant tasks.
  • Test emergency equipment.
  • Train new flight attendants.
  • Prepare travelers for international flights.

Flight attendant average salary

There is always a demand for skilled individuals because all airlines must hire flight attendants. Flight attendants with college degrees and years of airline experience can be able to command a higher hourly salary than those with fewer experience or qualifications.

  • In the United States, the average hourly wage is $25.61.
  • Salary ranges from $7.25 to $42.80 per hour in some cases.

what does a flight attendant do

Average flight attendant salary by state

  • Arizona: $60,981 per year.
  • California: $53,860 per year.
  • Colorado: $48,640 per year.
  • Florida: $58,780 per year.
  • Georgia: $46,860 per year.
  • Illinois: $45,112 per year.
  • Indiana: $63,860 per year.
  • Massachusetts: $57,560 per year.
  • Michigan: $55,400 per year.
  • Minnesota: $50,870 per year.
  • North Carolina: $60,950 per year.
  • Nevada: $58,760 per year.
  • New York: $46,570 per year.
  • Ohio: $58,230 per year.
  • Oregon: $70,850 per year.
  • Pennsylvania: $62,031 per year.
  • Puerto Rico: $18,270 per year.
  • Texas: $66,120 per year.
  • Utah: $47,320 per year.
  • Virginia: $45,220 per year.
  • Washington: $65,030 per year.

Flight attendant requirements

You must be at least 18 years old, have a valid passport, have 20/40 eyesight, and pass a drug test and background check to be employed as a flight attendant. You can also be required to pass a medical exam and fulfill the height criteria of the airline. Flight attendants should present themselves professionally and provide good customer service.

Education

Flight attendants must have a high school diploma and, ideally, a bachelor's or associate's degree. Rather than attending college, some people participate in flight attendant training. You can need to take foreign language lessons if you wish to work on overseas planes.

what does a flight attendant do

Training

To develop customer service abilities, most flight attendants require a year or two of job experience. Once employed as a flight attendant, they must complete three to six weeks of airline-provided training, with some cases lasting up to six months. Flight attendants study safety and emergency procedures, first aid, flight rules, and job tasks throughout this training time. They practice flying as well.

To be qualified by the Federal Aviation Administration, all flight attendants must finish this basic training (FAA). Depending on the airline, they can be required to complete extra work training. Working knowledge of all safety equipment is provided in the employer's initial training program.

what does a flight attendant do

Certifications

Flight attendants must have one of the following certifications:

FAA Certificate of Demonstrated Proficiency

This is a required credential that flight attendants obtain after finishing their on-the-job training and passing a test. Each type of aircraft that flight attendants operate on requires training and certification. They must also continue to get training each year in order to maintain their certification.

Flight Attendant Certificate Courses

The Inflight Institute, for example, offers certification programs based on the kind of airline: charter, regional, national, or international. Before being recruited, their partner airlines need flight attendants to complete these online courses, which include topics such as aviation vocabulary, safety procedures, and passenger handling.

Pro tip: Use Glassdoor, Indeed, or other job search sites to find available flight attendant positions.

Skills required

Flight attendants are generally people-oriented and have excellent customer service abilities. They also enjoy traveling and visiting new locations, and they are willing to work long or odd hours.

what does a flight attendant do

The following are some of the skills that flight attendants require to be successful:

  • Detail-oriented: Flight attendants must pay close attention to passengers for any issues or suspicious actions. They must also be thorough while inspecting equipment and individuals for safety.
  • Communication: When providing safety demonstrations and engaging with passengers and crew, flight attendants should be able to communicate clearly and convincingly. They should be polite and have strong listening abilities as well.
  • Customer service: Customer service is an important aspect of a flight attendant's work. When delivering services, they should be polite and patient in order to guarantee that passengers have a pleasant and enjoyable flight.
  • Stamina: Flight attendants frequently work long shifts, deal with difficult passengers, and transport heavy objects like baggage and service carts. They are also frequently on their feet.
  • Efficiency: To ensure an on-time departure, flight attendants must execute pre-flight activities swiftly and effectively. They must also provide in-flight services in the period allotted for them to be in the air.

Flight attendants must take command in the event of an emergency and make rapid choices to escort passengers to safety.

Work environment

Part-time or full-time flight attendants are available. They might work for a commercial airline, a corporate airline, a regional airline, or an international airline. Because airlines operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, year-round, on holidays and weekends, they work unusual hours and schedules. Most airlines limit flight attendants to 12 hours of work each day, although foreign flights can necessitate longer shifts. Flight attendants must take at least nine hours off between shifts, according to the FAA. They frequently stay in motels in between flights and can be gone for days at a time.

what does a flight attendant do

Flight attendants work part of the day in the air and half of the day on the ground, preparing for or waiting for the next flight. When flying, they collaborate with other members of the flight crew in the plane's cabin. The job of a flight attendant can be stressful at times since they must deal with unpleasant or nervous customers, respond to crises and air turbulence, and stand for extended periods of time.

Before flight attendants can select their schedule and location, they must generally earn years of experience and seniority. Many flight attendants prefer to reside near their base airport so that they can get to work quickly, especially if they are called in unexpectedly.

what does a flight attendant do

How to become a flight attendant

To work as a flight attendant, you must undergo training and certification to show that you are capable of looking after the safety and comfort of passengers. The processes to becoming a flight attendant are quite simple and involve the following:

Get a high school diploma.

Obtain a diploma from a high school. A high school diploma is the minimal educational qualification for flight attendants.

Earn a college degree.

Obtain a college diploma. While most airlines will recruit flight attendants without a degree, a bachelor's degree in a subject like public relations can make you more appealing to employers.

Build customer service skills.

Improve your customer service abilities. Work in a hotel or service position for a year or two to hone your customer service abilities. When looking for flight attendant employment, this experience will appear excellent on your resume/CV. You might work at a restaurant, a hotel, or any other position that demands you to interact with people.

Apply for a job.

You can apply for flight attendant employment with numerous airlines if you are over the age of 18 and have good health and vision.

Get training.

If you are hired by an airline, you will spend several weeks or months preparing for FAA certification. Safety, first aid, dealing with difficult flight or passenger circumstances, evacuation, putting out fires, survival skills, self-defense, and personal health are among the topics covered in training.

what does a flight attendant do

Obtain certification.

To become qualified and legally permitted to operate as a flight attendant, you must pass the FAA exam after completing initial training.

Complete reserve status.

Reserve status is assigned to new flight attendants. You must be available to fill in for other flight attendants or extra flights during this period. This reserve period is usually one-year long.

Advance in your career.

As a flight attendant, you will most likely have the authority to pick your base, routes, and schedule after gaining years of experience. You can also be asked to advise, recruit, teach, or manage other flight attendants, as well as assist with responsibilities like scheduling.

what does a flight attendant do

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author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), NCDA Certified Career Counselor (CCC), and general career expert. Patrick has completed the NACE Coaching Certification Program (CCP). And has been published as a career expert on Forbes, Glassdoor, Dice.com, WorkWise, American Express, Reader's Digest, LiveCareer, Zety, Yahoo, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, SHRM.org, Process.st, FairyGodBoss, HRCI.org, St. Edwards University, NC State University, IBTimes.com, Thrive Global, TMCnet.com, Work It Daily, Workology, Career Guide, MyPerfectResume, College Career Life, The HR Digest, WorkWise, Career Cast, Elite Staffing, Women in HR, All About Careers, Upstart HR, The Street, Monster, The Ladders, Introvert Whisperer, and many more. Find him on LinkedIn.

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