Here's How to Become a Flight Attendant (Professional Guide)

Here's how to become 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.

how to become a flight attendant

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.

how to become a flight attendant

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.

how to become a flight attendant

Flight attendant job duties and responsibilities

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.

how to become a flight attendant

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.

how to become a flight attendant

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 (FAA), 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.

how to become a flight attendant

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.

how to become a flight attendant

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 experience 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.

Pro tip: Senior flight attendants can have more influence over their schedules as they advance in rank. Some senior flight attendants, for example, can elect to reside outside of their home base and travel to work.

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.

how to become a flight attendant

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.

how to become a flight attendant

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 and earn a college degree.

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

Flight attendants typically hold a high school diploma and college degree.

Become a candidate.

To become a flight attendant, you must first apply for a job with an airline. You must fulfill the airline's educational and experience criteria. Applicants for airline jobs must have a high school diploma or a GED equivalent. Many employers, on the other hand, will only hire those who have attended college coursework or have a bachelor's or associate's degree. Hospitality, communication, tourism, and public relations are among the degrees that will best prepare you.

In addition, flight attendants must fulfill certain physical standards. Minimum and maximum heights are usually set by airlines. They also require attendants to be able to sit on a seat and do a variety of physical activities with appropriate accommodations, such as pushing, pulling, bending, and lifting.

You'll also have to pass a background check and a drug test before being hired. Tattoos that are visible are usually not allowed unless they can be covered up with cosmetics.

Prepare to participate in numerous interviews. For example, before continuing to a one-on-one interview, the airline can do a phone screening or a group interview. Prepare to convey why you would be a great option to represent the airline by dressing professionally.

The technical parts of your job as a flight attendant will be prepared by what you learn throughout your training, but your soft skills are just as essential. Because you'll be engaging with passengers and other members of your flight crew a lot, you'll need good communication skills.

Strong customer service and problem-solving abilities are required in stressful situations. You'll be able to comprehend and satisfy the demands of your consumers if you have good listening abilities.

Complete the air-line provided flight attendant training program

Once you've been hired by an airline, you'll receive official training at the company's flight training center. Expect to get classroom education on flying laws, work tasks, and corporate operations throughout your three to six weeks there.

The airline will usually provide for housing and transportation to the training site, but meals can be on your own. Depending on the airline, training can be compensated or unpaid. 

You'll learn how to manage crises alongside the other new workers, including how to evacuate an airplane and use emergency equipment like evacuation slides, oxygen masks, and flotation gear. You will take practice flights as you reach the completion of your classroom training and will be graded on your abilities.

how to become a flight attendant

Get certification and proficiency

After you complete the employer-sponsored training, the airline's director of operations will apply to the FAA for your Certificate of Demonstrated Proficiency.

The Vision 100-Century of Aviation Reauthorization Act (source), which entered into force in December 2004, outlined the procedure for flight attendants. This certificate, however, is only given to flight attendants who satisfy the Act's requirements:

A flight attendant is defined by the Act as a person who works in the cabin of an aircraft with 20 or more seats that is utilized to provide air transportation by a part 121 or part 135 air carrier.

Because all regional and large airlines in the United States are part 121 carriers, the majority of flight attendants will fall under this category.

The FAA will verify your record once you apply for the certificate. After that, you'll be able to work on a flight.

Apply for flight attendant jobs, start your flight attendant career

New flight attendants generally spend at least one year on reserve status, however, certain airlines or cities can demand up to five years of reserve status, or "on-call," for new flight attendants. You'll need to keep your overnight bag packed since you'll have to go to work at a moment's notice to cover extra flights or replace missing crew members.

Once you've been hired by an airline, you'll receive official training at the company's flight training center. Expect to get classroom education on flight regulations, work tasks, and corporate operations throughout your three to six weeks there. The airline will usually provide for housing and transportation to the training site, but meals can be on your own. Depending on the airline, training can be compensated or unpaid.

how to become a flight attendant

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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, 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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