Everyone loves to travel, experience a new massage style, or just try out the new Fusion restaurant in a foreign city. These are the things that make life exciting and interesting. So, who wouldn't want free flights and discounted airfares? And what could be better than working in the airline industry?
We all know that this industry requires a lot of dealing with customers from all over the world. So, it is also understandable that they have limits and restrictions as to the physical requirements are concerned. Not everyone is fit to become a flight attendant. You cannot become a flight attendant if you do not like interacting with people. This is also not the job for you if you are not willing to relocate or you feel sick every time you travel for long hours.
When it comes to selecting attendants, airline companies tend to be very particular about it. Mostly, they require flight attendants to be attractive, neat and have an overall pleasing personality. On top of that, airline attendants must be approachable, wise and know how to perform duties effectively while being able to provide a comfortable and satisfying flight experience to all passengers. Plus, flight attendants who are able to communicate in more than one language is a big advantage.
How to Become a Flight Attendant
1. Have a minimum of a High School education
- You have to be at least a High school graduate or with a Government Equivalency Degree or what is commonly known as GED. While both are enough to be qualified, most airline companies require their employees to have at least a degree.
2. Sign up for training
- Enroll in an associate degree that includes an airline attendant training program. With these trainings, you will learn the skills needed to effectively work as a flight attendant. Programs cover topics like emergency rescue, firefighting, and security procedures combined with more lectures on hospitality, customer service, tourism and communication.
3. Determine specific requirements for each airline
- After getting a degree, you could seek employment in any airline company within the US. Companies have different sets of requirements so it is best to drop by and check if you qualify. Most have specifics regarding health, physical attributes like height, weight and personal appearance and psychological history.
4. Go through company training
- Once hired, companies offer training to entry-level employees on their first 2-3 weeks on the job. This training will enhance and review the skills needed in the job. Training will focus on emergency operation procedures, first aid, safe evacuation of passengers, and the use of the emergency equipment inside the aircraft. Employees who are in the training stage do not receive a full-time salary. Most of the time, they are provided with allowance, accommodations and training materials.
5. Get certified
- Finishing the training program will allow you to be certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). This will serve as your license to apply to any airline company within the US.
6. Don't expect a full-time position immediately
- Expect to work as an on-call or reserve flight attendant on your first year in the job. The airline industry is very competitive and the number of jobs has become quite limited in the past few years. Since 2009, there have been a lot of issues regarding airline companies shutting down, employees going on strike and disabling normal operation of flights. These factors plus the uncontrollable increase in fuel costs are affecting the airline industry in the present and will continue do so in the years to come.
7. Continue your training and education
- Join training classes and programs on first aid, customer service, task delegation, and effective peer communication. You can list them as additional skills on your resume when applying for jobs in the future.
- Make sure to add to your educational background. In this industry, the more credentials, the better. A 4-year degree or higher could be a huge advantage since this would allow you to apply for higher positions in the administrative or supervisory departments.
Becoming a flight attendant is fairly easy. The educational requirements are minimal and the trainings do not take years to accomplish. However, there are a lot of things the industry requires that not everyone can be qualified. For example, not everyone is willing to spend long hours standing up, or be traveling 90% of the time and generally, not everyone possesses the skill set needed to become flight attendants.
As of 2010, the employment level of flight attendants is stable. However, with the recent problems in the industry, a lot of labor unions have reacted, went on rallies and protests against airline companies. Most of these union activities result to paralyzing normal airline operations and inconvenience to passengers. The most common unions in the United States are the Association of Flight Attendants, Transport Workers Union of America and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
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