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Flight Attendant Jobs

Find information on flight attendant jobs, such as training and requirements.

Flight attendant jobs require customer service skills. [©Jupiter Images, 2009]
©Jupiter Images, 2009
Flight attendant jobs require customer service skills.

Flight attendant jobs are a popular career path for people who like to travel. Flight attendants often greet passengers boarding an aircraft, present safety demonstrations, provide food and drinks to passengers, and help with international paperwork like customs documents.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the first job of an attendant is safety, although they also are charged with making the flight comfortable and enjoyable for passengers. There were close to 100,000 people employed as flight attendants in 2006.

How to Get a Flight Attendant Job

In order to be considered for employment as a flight attendant, one must have a high school diploma. The minimum age differs depending on airlines; for example, the minimum age for being a flight attendant for Delta Airlines is 20, while the minimum age for SkyWest is 21.

Applicants with experience in customer service and who complete flight attendant courses will have an advantage over other applicants. Airlines also prefer to hire people who can remain calm even in emergencies or stressful situations, and who have a courteous, enthusiastic and hospitable persona.

Highly desirable areas of major and degree concentration for those considering a flight attendant career include disciplines that focus on human relations, such as communications, sociology, psychology, anthropology, nursing, travel/tourism, police or fire science or hospitality, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For international airlines, flight attendant applicants also benefit from international studies, including foreign languages.

Ultimately, all flight attendants must have FAA certification in order to be employed. Candidates for employment as a flight attendant are often required to go through several weeks of training before officially being considered a certified employee of the airline.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, training involves discussion of what to do in emergencies, incidents with unruly passengers or terrorists and hijackers, along with the logistics needed to help out passengers. These areas include training in first aid, flight regulations, airline policies, and passport and customs information. The required test score averages are quite high; Delta, for example, requires that prospective flight attendants uphold at least a 90 percent average to continue through the training program.

Other Job Requirements

Height restrictions are considered for flight attendant positions, given that the confined space on an airplane makes it uncomfortable long-term for taller individuals, and shorter individuals may have difficulty with the overhead compartments. Typically, those who are between 5 feet, 2 inches and 6 feet are considered.

Some airlines may have limitations on those with visual difficulties, and all airlines require physical examinations of flight attendants. One must be in excellent health and able to withstand the job requirements, such as moving heavy food carts, irregular sleeping hours, the stress of working with others in close quarters, and even the air and space in the confines of an airplane.

Security Clearance for Flight Attendant Jobs

The same types of security clearances and background checks given to other airline personnel (like pilots and luggage screeners) is likely going to be required when applying to become a flight attendant. Fingerprints are taken (in accordance with the FBI's requirements), and this practice is enforced by the FAA.

The best places to check for specific requirements are within the job advertisements through the particular airline one wishes to work for, and the government Web sites for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

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