What Does It Take To Succeed As A Flight Attendant?

"I went to my first ever flight attendant interview for a local airline last week and was fortunate enough to be accepted as a trainee. I really plan to pass this training with flying colors so I can achieve my dream to finally become a flight stewardess. Since I see being a flight attendant as a career I can grow old in, I’d like to ask: What does it take to succeed as a flight attendant?"

asked by Paula N. from New York, NY

You’re definitely moving forward in achieving your dream. Your desire to actually succeed in the profession works to your advantage. When you don’t consider being a flight attendant as a mere job but a career, your passion and dedication will definitely propel you to success.

That being said, you will need more than genuine love for the job to become a successful flight attendant. First of all, you need to be physically prepared for the rigors of training—and ultimately, of the job itself. Although classroom instruction will be part of training, a greater part will be devoted to the actual activities that will be a regular part of your job such as lifting heavy bags and standing for long periods of time. For obvious reasons, you should not be prone to motion sickness and must be able to keep your balance even in unsteady situations. There will be times when you’ll be doing something on your feet, such as serving food to the passengers, when the plane will suddenly hit turbulence which will require your ability to maintain your balance.

You need to develop the habit of constant awareness of everything happening in your surroundings. You’ll need to be alert in addressing the needs of the passengers so that they will have a good and safe flight. In addition, you should also develop the ability to think quickly on your feet, especially during emergency situations.

Having good communication skills is essential. You’ll need to develop the habit of speaking clearly since a good part of your job will entail giving instructions and answering passengers’ queries. More importantly, developing the habit of listening is essential so you can get the instructions of the flight captain especially during emergencies.

Poise under pressure may be a necessity when you are in a beauty contest but this must be a mantra you need to live by when you are a flight attendant. There will be demanding passengers and scared children who won’t stop crying. Encountering bad weather in the sky or technical problems with the plane can be very stressful. Yet throughout all these situations, a flight attendant is expected to not lose her cool.

Finally, you will need to be flexible even when you already have a job. When you are still a neophyte flight attendant, you will not have any control over your schedule. You’ll be on reserve status which means that you’ll need to be available any time the airline calls you to serve on extra flights or take the place of a flight attendant who happens to be absent. You won’t have any say on the route you’ll be assigned, either. Things will stay this way anywhere for one year to several years. You’ll only be able to have a say on your schedules and routes as you gain seniority. Thus, for the first few years on the job, you’ll need to choose a place close to the airport so that you can easily report to work any time you’re called.

Career Spotlight: Flight Attendant

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