Air Cabin Crew

    If you are wondering how to become air cabin crew, below are tips and advice on training for and beginning careers in this area of the catering, hospitality and travel industry, as well as job prospects in the UK.

    The Job Description
    As a member of an air cabin crew, also known as flight attendant, you would be responsible for making sure air passengers have a comfortable, safe and pleasant flight.

    Typical responsibilities:

    Before a flight you would:

    attend a briefing on the flight and schedule
    find out if any passengers have special requirements
    check the aircraft to make sure it is clean and tidy
    make sure that there are enough supplies and that emergency equipment is in place and in working order
    greet passengers and direct them to their seats
    make sure luggage is safely stowed away
    demonstrate emergency equipment and procedures, making sure passengers listen to the safety demonstration.

    During a flight you would:

    help passengers, including giving first aid when necessary
    make announcements for the pilot
    serve food and drinks sell duty-free goods
    reassure passengers if there is an emergency, such as a cabin fire, and make sure that they follow safety procedures.

    At the end of a flight you would:

    circulate and collect customs and immigration documents
    make sure passengers leave the plane safely
    fill in a written flight report recording any unusual incidents
    take records of food and drink orders and duty-free sales.
    You would typically work as part of a larger on board team, which would be different on each flight.

    Person Specification
    The key personal attributes of flight attendants include:

    be tactful but assertive, with the ability to deal with difficult situations politely but firmly
    have a clear speaking voice
    enjoy team work
    be calm under pressure and in emergencies
    be confident, friendly and good with people
    be sensitive and reassuring towards people who are anxious or upset
    be able to work quickly and efficiently
    be confident with money, including foreign currency.

    How to become a flight attendant
    You will need a good standard of education, many airlines ask for four or five GCSEs (grades A to C)/S grades (1 to 3), or the equivalent, including maths and English. Entry requirements vary, so you should check with the airline.

    You should also:
    be physically fit, with normal colour vision and good eyesight
    be able to swim at least 25 metres
    be smart and well-groomed
    not have tattoos or body piercings that can be seen
    hold a valid passport which allows you to travel anywhere in the world.
    You should speak English well. Some airlines want staff who can speak more than one language. Previous experience in customer service is also desirable, and nursing, or hotel and catering experience may be particularly useful.

    You must be over 18 to work as a member of an air cabin crew (some airlines set the minimum entry age at 21). The upper age limit varies between airlines, but with many companies you will have to retire at 50 or 55. Height and weight requirements also vary between airlines, so you should check with them.

    There are several nationally-recognised qualifications which can help you develop the skills you need to work as a member of an air cabin crew. These are:
    EMTA Awards Ltd (EAL) NVQ Level 2 & 3 in Aviation Operations in the Air – Cabin Crew
    City and Guilds NVQ Level 2 in Aviation Operations in the Air – Cabin Crew
    Edexcel BTEC Level 2 Certificate in Preparation for Air Cabin Crew Service
    EMTA Awards Ltd (EAL) Intermediate Level 2 Certificate in Air Cabin Crewing
    NCFE Level 2 Certificate in Airline Cabin Crew.

    Training and Development
    Airlines provide their own training programme for new entrants. This usually lasts for four to six weeks and covers:

    safety and emergency procedures
    first aid
    customs and immigration regulations
    customer relations and passenger care
    currency exchange
    galley management
    food preparation and service
    personal grooming.
    After basic training most airlines have a probationary period of three to six months, during which performance is monitored by trainers or senior crew. You will have to pass regular examinations to test your knowledge of safety and emergency procedures, and to make sure you meet official first aid requirements.

    The Pay (a rough guide)
    As a new recruit you will earn about £12,000 a year.
    When you have more experience you could earn £14,000 to £18,000 a year.
    Salaries for senior crew can be up to £22,000 a year.
    You may also get a flying allowance which can be up to £4,500 a year when you first start work.

    Job Prospects
    There is a lot of competition for places with airlines. You will usually have to live near the airport where you are based. You could be based overseas as international cabin crew with a British airline.

    Once you have some experience, you can gain promotion to senior cabin crew. You may also be able to transfer to ground-based employment with an airline.

    Useful hospitality, catering and travel industry resources:
    Royal Aeronautical Society
    4 Hamilton Place
    W1J 7BQ
    Tel: 020 7670 4300

    Recent Articles


    Related Stories

    Stay on op - Ge the daily news in your inbox