How To Become A Flight Attendant In 2022

Young flight attendant standing in the aisle of an aircarft and smiling.

Are you contemplating kickstarting a career as a flight attendant? Or perhaps it’s just one of your options, but you wish to gain more insight before making a decision? Whichever the case is, it’s crucial to understand how to become a flight attendant before you take a major step. This will help you make an informed decision while avoiding any costly mistakes.

Getting a flight attendant position might appear like an easy job that pays well, given the free flights and the amount of time you spend traveling. However, as with every other job, this career path also comes with its initial training requirements.

In this guide, you’ll learn the skills you require to be a flight attendant, the application steps, the expectations you should have, and how to begin your journey precisely.

Requirements For Becoming A Flight Attendant

To become a flight attendant, there are several requirements for you to fulfill. First, you must be above 18 years of age without visible tattoos. The company will also conduct a drug test and background check on you. As you can imagine, flight attendants have a sensitive job. People fly every day, and flight companies are responsible for travelers’ safety while onboard. Aside from these basic requirements, the following are important things you need to possess as a potential flight attendant.

— Skills

The nature of every job presupposes that you possess certain skills. As a flight attendant, you’ll have to relate with people daily and personally. Below, we discuss the crucial skills you should have or learn as a flight attendant.

  • Great Communication Skills: At different times during a flight, an attendant will have to speak to and relate with passengers. As an attendant, you must understand the basic rules of engagement and the best ways to communicate with strangers. For this purpose, listening skills are crucial. This will help you understand passengers’ special needs and the best ways to address them. 
  • Customer Relations: In any business, employees have to treat customers with respect and great reception. As such, as a flight attendant, you have the task of being hospitable towards passengers. Operating with a great spirit of hospitality will allow you to get through to people easily. Additionally, you must also have the ability to remain patient all through your engagement with passengers.
  • Attention To Detail: Flights come with numerous routines and steps. There are steps before you get on board, and there are processes to complete before and after the flight. Consequently, flight attendants have to be meticulous. You must check the safety equipment and ensure that all passengers follow your instructions accordingly. Attention to detail will also help you to identify any passenger acting with suspicion.
  • High-Efficiency Level: You also need resilience as a flight attendant. Flights can span a long period, and attendants are often on their feet for most of it. Aside from that, being on the lookout and responding to passengers’ queries across numerous flights can be draining. Therefore, you’ll need a high energy level to succeed at this job.
  • A Sense Of Responsibility: Flight attendants are trained to be leaders. You must be ready to take charge of the situation at all times. All passengers look towards the flight crew for the next step during emergencies. As an attendant, you must show leadership skills and great courage to make quick decisions.

— Education

The minimum level of education expected of flight attendants is a high school diploma. You might also improve your chances with higher levels of education, such as a bachelor’s degree. Employers regard the education level of flight attendants, especially with international flights. 

Speaking of international flights, this might require understanding some foreign languages. After all, as earlier mentioned, flight attendants have to relate with people from different parts of the world. Therefore, to address their needs, it’s only right that companies make provisions for the diversity of languages. As such, you can improve your education by taking language classes.

— Training

Flight companies have standard training procedures for all attendants. Irrespective of the skills you might possess, the company will provide a structured training program as a part of your onboarding process. This training can span six weeks or might run for up to six months based on the company’s policy. 

The training will teach attendants different skill sets, especially concerning safety, first aid, and emergency procedures. Therefore, completing this training procedure is crucial to receiving the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certificate of demonstrated proficiency.

— Certifications

There are some notable certificates in the flight attendant space. To be qualified as a flight attendant, you must hold the FAA Certificate, which indicates completing the training program. Reputable flight institutes also offer numerous online training courses.

Average Salary & Benefits For A Flight Attendant

If you’re starting a career as a flight attendant, you can expect to earn between $30,000 and $59,000. This is based on 2020 data which placed the average salary of flight attendants at $59,050, while the lowest earners of the year took home about $30,000. In the same year, the earners at the top of the table earned over $80,000 in salary.

Additionally, numerous other benefits come with being a flight attendant. In fact, these benefits might be what makes it all worth it. For example, flight attendants generally get tickets at discounted rates. Also, airlines provide you with an allowance and accommodation when work takes you away from home. The airline also covers certain upkeep and maintenance expenses. 

When you consider all these alongside the salary, you might find it a considerable way to start your career. More importantly, as with other jobs, it gets better while you’re at it. Most American Airlines also have structures for promotions, bonuses, and other offers that keep companies running.

Steps For Applying To Become A Flight Attendant

To become a flight attendant takes months or years of preparation. For a successful application, you must ensure you tick all the right boxes to improve your chance. Here are the steps for applying to become a flight attendant.

— What You Will Need

You need to acquire an education to become a flight attendant. Therefore, you’ll have to present proof of college attendance. Your degree suffices for this purpose. You’ll also need to get your certifications intact, as they are crucial to your application process.

Additionally, work experience is crucial when applying to become a flight attendant. This doesn’t necessarily mean you must have worked as an attendant with an airline. Instead, you can seek to gain experience in the relevant skills to the industry, such as public relations and customer service skills. Therefore, you’ll need to itemize places you’ve garnered these skills.

— Find An Airline

Once you have these basic requirements in order, the next thing is to find a hiring airline. You can visit the airline’s website or look through platforms that post job openings. 

— Prepare An Application

After getting a job opening, read the job requirements in detail and leverage the information to prepare your application accordingly. Ensure you highlight your most important skills and experience.

— Send For Review

When applying for a flight attendant position, it’ll always help to look for someone in the industry to review your application. Such a person can offer you valuable insights. Once your application is reviewed, incorporate the feedback, and submit it.

Best Airlines To Work For

Numerous factors come into consideration when you are reviewing companies to start your flight attendant career as a new hire. Some of these factors include the fairness of company policy, structures for promotion, salary packages, whether there is PTO, and other benefits. 

This section looks at the best companies you can work for as a flight attendant.

— Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines has a great reputation for employee care. The airline offers different incentives to create a healthy work environment for its employees. The average attendant at the airline earns about $50,318 annually. 

Notably, salary structure is impacted by the number of work hours as well as the employee’s seniority level.

— Delta Airlines

With over 75,000 employees, Delta Airlines is one of the leading companies with a great culture for their flight attendants. The airline has been in operation since 1928 and currently serves over 300 destinations across 52 countries. This is one of the airlines to consider if you want to start a career as an international flight attendant. 

The salary of the average attendant at this airline is put at about $44,818.

— United Airlines

United Airlines is a top airline with high regard for inclusion and diversity. The company has over 230 domestic destinations and more than 110 international destinations, with more than 4900 flights per day.

The average salary for United Airlines flight attendants is about $45,827.

If you’re considering the best airlines worthy of contemplation, you can consider any of the three above. The major airlines have a great employee culture and integrate healthy values as part of their operations.

What to Expect After Applying To Become A Flight Attendant?

When you apply to become a flight attendant, you can expect a few things. Knowing these things will help you know whether you’ll proceed further. One of the most important things to note is that airlines tend to have physical requirements. As such, you’ll have to engage in some pushing, pulling, and bending tasks. 

The airline will also perform a drug and background check. Therefore, you should prepare yourself to go through these tests. There will also be numerous interviews following your application. Some of these interviews will come as preliminary stages to the final one-on-one interview, which quite likely will determine whether you get the job or otherwise.

For this purpose, you should understand the basic rules of the interview and how you should appear. Next, learn about the dress policy of the airline and let that inform your choice of formal dressing. Finally, prepare yourself to answer questions relating to the company, its policies, culture, values, and most importantly, why you would love to work there.

Ensure you prepare for and answer these questions beforehand. This will impact your preparation and confidence level. In addition, all that you learn during these stages will be relevant when you eventually get the job.

Bottom Line

Getting started as a flight attendant requires having all the necessary information you need. This will make your journey much more convenient and seamless. In this guide, we’ve discussed the requirements you need to become a flight attendant in 2022, how to apply, and the best airlines to work for. 

With the information in this guide, you can easily make an application for a flight attendant job position. On a lighter note, you should also get your valid passport ready if you want to get adventurous during your work leave.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to become a flight attendant?

Starting a career as a flight attendant might take some time. The first reason is that you need to acquire an education, whether a high school diploma, a college degree, or GED. Additionally, you’ll need to acquire experience from a related field. This is because most airlines prefer to hire people with relevant work experience. Therefore, to improve your chances of securing the job, you’ll want to garner some experience in communications, customer service, or any other essential field.

You’ll also need to hold the FAA certificate for proficiency. Additionally, it would help if you take relevant online courses that can improve your knowledge base. This is alongside getting physically fit to handle some of the tasks that require strength. These steps are crucial to having a seamless entry into the aviation space as a flight attendant. Once you possess all these and are above 18 years, you can apply to become a flight attendant.

Is it hard to become a flight attendant?

It can be challenging to become a flight attendant, especially because this is a high-demand job. Millions of people apply for flight attendant job openings. Unfortunately, this demand makes it difficult for many to get the job. This accounts for why many people consider getting help and using a guide before applying for a flight attendant job.

Additionally, even when your application is successful, the hiring process of airlines can take a long time. Some airlines even take up to six months before they fully onboard new flight attendants. This makes it a thorough process, which many might consider challenging. 

However, what ultimately matters when applying for a flight attendant job is interest. If you’re passionate about having a career in this space, there are ways to make your application process more convenient. One of such ways is by consulting a resource guide that discusses in detail all you need to know about flight attendant jobs in 2022.

How are flight attendants paid?

Generally, the payment of flight attendants is hourly, whether you’re working part-time or full-time. The payment starts to read once the aircraft door closes up until the point it reopens. This means that the rest of the time spent preflight does not count. Although most airlines pay their attendants if there’s any delay, the bulk of their salaries come from the hours during which the doors are closed. 

With the top airlines, the average hourly rate is estimated to be between $25-30. Of course, the amount you receive hourly increases with the number of years you spend with the airline. As you get promoted, you get to earn more. Top earners are estimated to receive between $55-60 hourly. However, it can take more than ten years to move from the beginning pay scale to the $60 mark. The policy of each company will determine the actual number of years.

The average pay scale for flight attendants is about $50,000. Most airlines also offer added benefits and packages.

Is being a flight attendant worth it?

The first thing that matters here is interest. If you love customer service, adventure, and the flight industry generally, you’ll find being a flight attendant worthy of consideration. In terms of pay, this career line is lucrative when paired with numerous other jobs. The average flight attendant payscale is more than 50% over the national average.

Again, the flight attendant’s job is not a regular one. It’s not a 9-5 job where you have a precise opening and closing hour. As a flight attendant, there will be days you’ll have to work at night. Nevertheless, the job remains one of the leading careers that provide you with access to meeting various high-class individuals, access to great healthcare packages, and benefits.

Additionally, you do not require technical skills to get started. In fact, most of the skills you need are easily transferable skills. For example, if you’ve worked as a customer service representative in a bank and you intend to become a flight attendant, the work customer service experience will be relevant.

How much does flight attendant training cost?

Acquiring flight attendant training is a crucial step if you’re considering becoming a flight attendant. The training provides you with the knowledge and expertise you need to begin a career in the industry. The cost of this training is between $1,000 and $5,000. There are different factors impacting the cost you’ll have to pay. Some of these include the programs offered, practice flights, and the quality of the training school.

Therefore, when you’re contemplating the school or institute to receive your training, you should factor in a few things, such as the length of the program, tuition fee, and courses available. Additionally, you should consider schools that offer some form of financing and assistance with securing jobs.

You might be curious as to the importance of flight attendant schools. No, it’s not a compulsory step. However, many enthusiasts consider these schools because of the skills they offer you. Additionally, most of these schools help with job placements, which ultimately matters.

What is the typical day of a flight attendant?

Flight attendants and crew members typically spend most of their days on airplanes. However, it’s not for fun or pleasure as you might think. As a flight attendant, prepare to spend between 60 and 90 hours on hair based on your seniority level and work hours. This is in addition to the numerous accumulated hours you spend outside the airplane. 

Typically, you’ll process passengers during the onboarding process and post-flight procedures. Flight attendants will also perform routine checks and read safety procedures to the passengers. Another typical activity in the daily life of flight attendants is responding to the needs of passengers. 

It also matters the nature of the airline’s flight. For short trips, you will complete them without layovers. However, flight attendants have layovers and return the following day for flights that span a long time. Overall, how your day goes as a flight attendant is significantly determined by the type of trip you’re on.

What is the work environment like for flight attendants?

The general work environment for flight attendants is decent. You should note that flight attendants work at night, on weekends, and even during holidays. However, there’s a certain number of hours for which you can work. Generally, attendants work for 12 hours, with exceptions for some to work 14 hours. In most cases, you have permission to work for more hours per the flight regulations.

Furthermore, the work environment is stable. Flight attendants already understand all the routine checks, such as preparing emergency equipment and ensuring every passenger uses their seat belts. Once you complete these checks, you know the next point that requires activity. The flight attendant job generally comprises structured tasks, making it convenient to execute. Nevertheless, attendants must always be ready for emergency cases, as they are the first point of contact.

Lead attendants also supervise other flight attendants to ensure they perform their job duties. So, essentially, the work environment is great. It even gets better if your airline has great regard for its flight attendants.