How to Become a Flight Attendant

While it sounds like a glamorous job, a person's decision to become a flight attendant should not be taken lightly. There's flight attendant training and schooling to consider, as well as the correct professional manner and experience.

A flight attendant's job is a specialized hospitality position. You will be required to provide food and beverage service, general information, and airline health and safety details to passengers. You will greet and farewell customers, make announcements and work both in a team and one-on-one with passengers. The standard of service provided by flight staff must be of the highest quality and efficiency, as flight attendants are the public face of the airline they represent.

Personal Requirements

  • You must be possessed of a polite, attentive and pleasant manner. Being friendly, efficient and a good listener are highly desirable traits in flight attendants. As the aircraft is a confined space, you must be able to work well in tight quarters. This also means you must be a team player. 

  • Know that presentation is of the utmost importance. You must be absolutely immaculate. 

  • You must be of reasonable physical fitness. This is not only due to a lack of space on the aircraft, but is in fact a safety requirement of most airlines.

Professional Requirements

  • Most airlines require you to hold a current passport. However, some employers will hire you without this, and allow you to acquire the correct documentation in the training phase. You must also hold an up-to-date First Aid certification.

  • Fluency in English is a must. The ability to speak a second language is also highly desirable, especially when you graduate to international flights.

  • You must be at least 18 years of age to work as a flight attendant. Some airlines will require you to be 21 years of age.

Experience and Education

Experience in the hospitality and customer service industries is highly sought after. Most airlines require at least two to three years of experience working in a customer service and/or hospitality capacity to gain employment.  You will need solid references which prove your competency in these positions. Successful candidates often have a number of years of experience in retail and/or hospitality before they are accepted to work on board flights. University qualifications may add to your desirability as an employee, as a degree represents diligence and perseverance in employers' minds. Over half of those who work in the industry possess university qualifications. Some airlines will even substitute a university degree for a lack of experience in customer service. You must also hold alcohol service certification.

The industry is highly competitive and around 90% of candidates do not obtain placement in the industry. To give applicants a better chance at success, you may consider attending a flight attendant school which trains potential candidates. Check the websites of the airlines at which you wish to work for further details on accredited schools.