How to become a flight attendant?
The life of a flight attendant is exciting for many reasons: you get to travel the world whilst getting paid for it, you'll stay in exclusive hotels, receive discounts on flights and you are the center of attention at every airport.
But if it is such a great lifestyle, then why doesn't everyone do it? How hard is it to become a flight attendant?
This article will inform you about the recruitment process and the requirements involved.
You usually don't need to bring any skills along other than being a people's person. Some airlines may require you to obtain a first aid certificate before you attend the interview.
What recruiters are looking for is a sociable, sophisticated and approachable person, with good English skills. A second language is beneficial, but it is not always required.
There is the common perception that a flight attendant has to be extremely attractive. While some of them are, it is not a recruitment requirement. Weight plays a role, but as long as you are not morbidly obese anyone can give it a go. Tattoos and piercings have to be covered/removed and grooming standards are extremely strict. Most airlines have a minimum height requirement, which varies, but usually revolves around 165cms. The more conservative you look for your interview the better.
The process varies with each airline, but they are all trying to achieve the same thing: To find the most suitable candidates out of thousands of applicants. In order to filter through the less qualified ones, certain strategies are applied. Most recruitment processes start with an online application form. Once the form is processed you may be invited to a recruitment day or an interview.
The recruitment day usually involves an information session about the job itself. Questions are encouraged and you make a good first impression if you ask a couple of valid questions.
Then the group will go through various rounds of tasks.
Tasks include group discussions about a certain subjects. The recruiters will look how well you interact with others and how well you participate in the conversation. The ideal balance lies between contributing and letting others speak, whilst acknowledging their statements.
Other tasks may include a team building exercise, where each team is given a specific problem to solve. Problem solving skills are important to being a flight attendant. Once again most recruiters would like to see a balance between taking the lead, without disregarding other member's input and opinions. Dominance is discouraged and a flexible attitude towards leading and being led is beneficial.
The job may be a little less glamorous than you think. Yes you will stay in amazing hotels, yes you will get great discounts with other airlines and hotels, but this comes at a price.
The price is that you will have to clean up other people's dirty meal trays, you will be yelled at by passengers and sometimes fellow staff, and after each flight you'll surely have a story to tell, good or bad ones.
The discounted flights are certainly a bonus, however, a seat is never guaranteed and if it is a busy flight you will be left stranded at the airport. Thus if you wish to travel somewhere, which involves a stopover, you might get stuck where you didn't plan on going. Once again, that is not such a big deal if it is London or Paris, but if it is Johannesburg on your way to the Maldives for example, then you'd probably think that you should have paid the full fare, so you won't get stuck somewhere unsafe all by yourself.
This has happened to me personally and it is frightening when there is no certainty about your date of departure.
All in all, working as a flight attendant was a great experience that I will never regret and I can encourage anyone to try it for themselves.