The main job of a flight attendant is to ensure passengers follow security regulations and keep everyone safe. They make flights enjoyable and comfortable for passengers. However, the most important responsibility of a flight attendant is to help passengers in case of an emergency. This ranges from performing first aid to dealing with unruly or rude passengers, directing evacuations and fighting fires. Flight attendants also attend to patients with special needs, answer questions about the flight and help anyone else who needs assistance.
How can you become a flight attendant?
Although flight attendants usually receive training from their employers, they must be certified by FAA (Federal Aviation Administration). Here are the steps you should follow in order to become a successful flight attendant:
1. Get the necessary education
Flight attendants must have at least a GED (general Educational development), high school diploma or equivalent. Some airlines prefer college graduates or applicants with previous work experience especially in customer service. Most employers prefer applicants with degrees in tourism and hospitality, communications, business or public relations. Flight attendants who are required to work on international flights must be fluent in foreign languages.
2. Work experience in related occupations
Some airlines may prefer applicants who have one or two years work experience in any relevant service occupation. This includes customer service in resorts, hotels or restaurants. Experience in a position that focuses on service to customers will be quite helpful in developing the skills needed to be a flight attendant.
Once flight attendants are hired, the airline provides initial training which generally ranges from 4 to 6 weeks. The training is required in order to obtain FAA certification. Trainees usually learn various emergency procedures such as operating emergency equipment, administering fast aid and evacuating aircraft. They also receive guidelines and instruction on job duties, company operations and flight regulations. Students go on several practice flights toward the end of training. The attendants receive a Certificate of Demonstrated Proficiency from FAA after passing the initial training. Flight attendants are certified for particular types of aircraft and they must take new training whenever they want to work for a different aircraft. They must also undergo annual recurrent training ff they are to maintain the certification.
- Communication skills: A flight attendant should listen keenly, speak clearly and interact comfortably and easily with passengers and crew members.
- Attentiveness: It is very important to be aware of different passengers’ needs in order to ensure an enjoyable travel experience. Flight attendants must also be aware of safety and security risks.
- Physical stamina: In most cases, flight attendants walk and stand for long periods and may even need to lift baggage. They need to conform to height requirements (between 5.1 and 6.3 ft) and pass a medical evaluation.
- Customer service skills: Besides meeting passengers’ needs, flight attendants must have the resourcefulness, poise and tact to deal with various stressful situations.
- Decision making skills: Thy need to be able to act fast, carefully and decisively especially in emergency situations.
It is vital for flight attendants to present a highly professional appearance. They should therefore not have any visible tattoos or unusual body piercings, makeup and hairstyle.