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How To Become A Flight Attend In America. Photo KnowInsiders

The flight attendant benefits are one of the top reasons why people choose this type of job. Specific benefits are different for each airline and may be different depending on how long a flight attendant has worked for their airline. Check out how to become a flight attendant in the US.

What Are the Job Responsibilities for a Flight Attendant?

Job responsibilities for flight attendants are myriad, and require a unique set of multi-tasking skills.

For starters, be prepared for work in bursts, and expect to work on short notice as schedules shift, flights are rescheduled and canceled, and airports close down temporarily in heavy weather.

Be in good physical shape. Since you'll be up and moving before, during and after flights, expect the flight attendant work experience to exact a physical and mental toll. After all, it's no picnic serving the public in a tube moving at 200 miles per hour thousands of feet in the air - always with a smile on your face, and always ready to respond to emergencies. Again, this takes a unique skill set to accomplish on a regular basis.

More specifically, expect to handle these job responsibilities as a flight attendant:

Meet with flight staff, including the pilots, to go over the flight blueprint and discuss any service and logistical details (i.e., possible rough weather or flight delays, length of the flight, and travel route.)

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Photo Shutterstock

Execute any inspections of equipment regularly used by flight attendants, including galley equipment, seating and overhead bins, and security and safety devices on the aircraft.

Demonstrate the correct usage of aircraft safety equipment to passengers before taking off, and potentially helping them use those safety devices in an emergency.

Steer heavy carts loaded with food and drink to sell and service to the flying public.

Make sure that passengers remain seated when required by the flight crew, and that their seat belts are securely fastened on takeoff, landing and in turbulent flight periods.

Be prepared to aid special needs and older passengers board and de-board the flight.

Apply first aid to passengers in need and be prepared to administer emergency medical care, when needed, and to prep an ailing passenger for the transition to EMTs when landing. Flight attendants also need to direct passengers when evacuating the aircraft in an emergency.

Simple Steps to Take to be a Flight Attendant

-Learn the Requirements

-Assess Your Skills

-When You Have No Experience: Complete our Flight Attendant Training Program

-Search for jobs

-Get the job offer

-Complete employer certification

-Get Certificate of Demonstrated Proficiency

1.What are the requirements for becoming a flight attendant in the US?

Photo live and let's fly
Photo live and let's fly

Vision: You will need to be able to pass a vision test and demonstrate 20/20 or close to it (contacts or glasses are fine).

Age: You’ll need to be at least 18 year old to work at any major airline, though many of them, like United Airlines, have minimums of up to 21. However! That’s all calculated based off what your age will be when you complete training, so you might still be able to apply and enroll even if you’re not quite old enough yet -- as long as you will be by graduation day. There is, thankfully, no longer any maximum age cutoff.

Height: There are height requirements -- both minimum and maximum -- but they differ by individual airline. For the most part, the bottom line here is whether you can reach everything you need to and move about the cabin efficiently. Broadly speaking, if you’re between 5’2” or above 6’2” you’re probably in the clear; outside that range, it varies.

Weight: Indeed, there used to be weight requirements. No longer. If you can do your job, you can do your job.

2.Assess Your Personal Skills and Experience

Airlines hire those with flight attendant training or experience first. Airlines prefer to hire people who have lived a travel lifestyle. Some school In The US provide the training you need to get hired and offers crew quarter accommodations to simulate life on the road. Training, age, experience, maturity, personality, education, location and foreign language skills are all factors in the hiring decision.

3.No experience? Complete Flight Attendant Training Program

If you don’t have any prior experience, then a flight attendant training program can help you get a foot in the door. Flight attendants do so much more than just serving food and beverage. Flight attendants are trained to handle emergencies and keep passengers safe. You need to be skilled in first aid, security, evacuation methods, and aircraft safety procedures. Having training or experience with a flight attendant training school gives you a serious advantage over your competition and shows airlines that you’re committed to your career path.

4.Search and Apply for Flight Attendant Jobs

This step may not be as easy as it sounds. Thousands of applicants without training never land an interview with an airline. Moreover, once you enter the interviewing process, the competition is fierce.

The Application Process:

Delta receives 270,000 applications for only 2,000 positions, only the most qualified candidates even make it to an in-person interview.

Many airlines use a computer screening process to reject a large number of candidates solely based on their résumé.

The application process for most airlines is intense. It can take 1-2 hours to complete a single application and questions may feel confusing or intimidating. Always provide a cover letter and résumé with your application. Since airlines receive thousands of applications, cover letters, and résumés, yours really needs to stand out.

5.Getting the Offer

Once you pass the pre-employment screening, the airline will require you to go through orientation and be trained on their own aircraft under their own FAA approved policies.

Many first-time flight attendants aren’t aware that, when you’re hired with an airline, the offer may be temporary until permanent. It is still possible to be fired at this stage. About 30% to 50% of new flight attendants never make it on an airplane. The most common reasons are tardiness, attitude, lack of flight attendant training or aircraft knowledge.

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Is there a background check?

Yes. Most will look into the past 10 years, potentially more. Unfortunately, a felony conviction will still prevent you from being hired. Misdemeanors aren’t necessarily disqualifying; it’ll just depend on the circumstances.

Do I need a college degree?

Nope! You will, however, need a high-school diploma or GED. Being multilingual will almost always give your resume an edge. Customer-service experience, particularly in the travel industry -- cruise lines, etc. -- definitely doesn’t hurt.

Okay! I’m ready to apply. What now?

You start your application online, on the website of the airline to which you’re applying. For instance, you can apply to United Airlines here or JetBlue Airlines here. This website tracks airlines that are currently hiring.

You’ll need a polished resume and a classy headshot. Yes, you can apply to multiple airlines. When one is interested, they’ll contact you for a one-way video interview -- questions will appear and you’ll answer them verbally, but you won’t actually be speaking to a real human person. The questions will probably follow something along the lines of the STAR format: Situation, Task, Action, Result, i.e. asking how you’d handle different scenarios. If you’re not selected the first time around, don’t be discouraged -- you’re allowed to keep applying, and it’s extremely common to do so.

If things go well, this will be followed by an invitation for in-person interviews at headquarters. Politely confirm with your interviewer that the airline will be covering your travel costs for this; you can expect that most will do so, but it’s not a given. If that interview goes well, you’ll be given study materials and enter their training course, which will usually take a month or two to complete. There will be exams both written and oral, plus physical drills. You’ll learn security protocols, First Aid, evacuation procedures, how to use in-flight equipment, how to prepare the food and drink carts, how to interact with passengers. There will be a final exam and a test flight, and only then, after you are certified, can you hope to be formally offered the job.

The whole process could be completed within just a couple of days or last as long as a year. Most likely, it’ll take three or four months.

READ MORE: Top 10 Most Attractive Stewardess in The World

How much control does my employer have over my appearance?

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Photo Aerotime

There will be preflight appearance checks, so you need to either have the constitution of someone who always looks put together or be able to fake it without running out of steam. Visible tattoos and piercings will be an issue, and some of you might be required to wear heels, but many of the discriminatory or unsustainable standards have been relaxed in recent years. You can have facial hair, so long as it’s short. Makeup is no longer required for women, but might not be permitted on men.

“This is a job that has traditionally been thought of as a woman’s job, and frankly that’s what’s kept pay and benefits low and what we’ve had to fight through,“ Nelson said. “Overall, we’re still experiencing discrimination based on gender, and identity, and frankly race.” Airline industry management is still heavily male and white, and bias against Black flight attendants with natural hair is still about as common as you’d expect. But these days, you don’t have to face it on your own.

Southwest Airlines has banned a woman seen on video punching a flight attendant:

How much money will I make?

The first thing to ask yourself before we can talk salary is whether you’re willing to relocate for this job. If not, you’re looking for either your regional airlines, or national airlines that have a crew base in the city nearest you. Most flight attendants are based in the West Coast, Midwest, or Northeast, with other hubs including Colorado, Texas, and Florida.

For the most part, flight attendants at the mainline US airlines -- that’d be United, Delta, American, Alaska, and Hawaii -- make approximately 45% more than their counterparts at regional airlines. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average US flight attendant salary in 2018 was around $56,000.

At the mainline carriers, the common starting salary today is around $24,000 or $25,000 per year -- meaning it doesn’t hit the $15/hour rate, or anything close to a living wage for lots of people. “You do step up fairly quickly in the scale, and you also have the ability to work more under some contracts,” Nelson said. “We’re in the middle of a big fight right now because a regional airline, Air Wisconsin, those [first-year] flight attendants make as little as $15,000 and change a year.”

Payment is based on flight hours, i.e. you’re only getting paid when the cabin doors are closed. You might spend 14 hours on the job, but have your hourly rate only reflect six of those. Different airline union contracts help protect their respective flight attendants by guaranteeing them a certain number of flight hours per shift, or guaranteeing at least one paid flight hour for every two hours you’re on duty.

READ MORE: Top 20 Best Airlines in the World

How to become a flight attendent for American Airlines

Photo live and let's fly
Photo live and let's fly
American Airlines is one of the largest airlines in the world. Their fleet is currently almost 1000 aircraft strong. Along with their subsidiaries, they fly over 5400 flights per day. They currently have over 128,000 employees including over 27,000 flight attendants. Their headquarters is in Fort Worth, Texas and they have hubs in 10 other metropolitan areas.

American Airlines and it’s associated companies have been in business for over 90 years and has annual revenues of over $44 billion.

In order to become a flight attendant with American Airlines, you’ll first have to meet the basic requirements of a flight attendant. Although some of the requirements are set by the FAA for all flight attendants, there are also some that are specific to American.

Here is a list of the requirements for American Airlines according to their website:

-Must be 20 years of age

-Must be fluent in English

-High school diploma or GED

-The ability to legally work in the United States

-Ability to fly both domestic and international routes

-Flexible schedule (flights are 24/7/365)

-Ability to pass a background check and drug test

-Vision correctable to 20/40

Meet physical requirements of the job (reach overhead bins, stand for long periods of time, etc)

Although these are the requirements to be considered, American Airlines considers the best candidates to also have these qualifications:

-A college degree

-2 year or more experience working in customer service or guest care

If this is the first time you are applying to be a flight attendant, make sure to read through our article written specifically to help people without previous experience. It’s a guide to help you become a flight attendant with no experience.

American Airlines Flight Attendant Salary

The pay for flight attendants at American Airlines is very competitive.

The starting pay range for a beginning flight attendant is in the range of $27/hour (according to Glassdoor) and $28 /hour according to Payscale. These are based on flight attendants who work there now reporting their income.

As you progress in your career, you can expect to earn quite a bit more. Experienced flight attendants with over 5 years of seniority can expect to make more than $35/hour.

Once you’ve earned more experience and seniority, you can expect to earn much more. The top 10% of flight attendants at American Airlines make over $68/hour.

American Airlines Flight Attendant Training Program

American Airlines offers an in-person training for all new flight attendants (called Flight Attendant trainees) in Fort Worth, Texas. The training program is unpaid, but the airlines does pay for your room and board in addition to providing you with 3 meals per day.

American’s training program for flight attendant trainees takes 6 1/2 weeks to complete. It includes training on topics like customer service, passenger safety, emergency medical services, aircraft specific training, American’s culture, and a lot more.

Their training program typically includes around 150 trainees that are expected to train 5-6 days per week for the entirety of the 6 1/2 week program. Upon completion, new flight attendants are assigned to one American’s hubs to begin work.

Is American Airlines a Great Place to Work?

There are several large employment sites that allow employees (current and former) to rate what it was like working at American Airlines as a flight attendant.

Here is a listing of those scores. The average scores for the largest airlines are as follows:

American Airlines 4.0/5.0

Delta Airlines – 4.1/5.0

United Airlines – 4.0/5.0

Southwest Airlines – 4.3/5.0

Jet Blue – 4.1/5.0

US Flight Attendant Benefits

Travelling for Free

The flight attendant benefits are one of the top reasons why people choose this type of job. Specific benefits are different for each airline and may be different depending on how long a flight attendant has worked for their airline.

The most popular benefit for flight attendants is just the job itself. Many flight attendants use their layover time between flights to explore a new city or country. There are times when a flight attendant job allows for a several day layover, which provides plenty of time to watch the sun rise or set over the ocean, explore historical places, or just sit and sip a cup of coffee on a cobblestone sidewalk.

Working as a flight attendant presents many opportunities to travel the world for free, and in overnight cases, get free hotel and meals. Build lasting relationships and develop valuable client service and life-saving skills. Use our handy guide below to learn what you’ll need to do to start your flight attendant career.

Other benefits

-Your job takes you to other cities – can explore on overnight trips

-Family and sometimes friends can fly for free

-Do not need a college degree

-Many advancement opportunities

-Schedule can be flexible

-Ability to pickup extra flights to increase hours

-Opportunity to meet new people

-Per Diem – extra compensation to cover your meal costs (add: $1.70 – $2.15 per flight hour)

-Medical, dental, and life insurance

-401(K) retirement plan

-Long-term disability coverage

-Performance-based bonuses

-Paid vacation and holidays

-Discounts on cruises, car rentals, hotels, and other hospitality services

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