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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, guide by

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.

To begin with, be ready for sporadic work and anticipate working on short notice as schedules change, flights are rescheduled and canceled, and airports briefly close inclement weather.

Physique in good condition. Expect to take a physical and mental toll as a flight attendant because you'll be on your feet before, during, and after flights. Serving the public in a tube traveling at 200 mph thousands of feet in the air while maintaining a positive attitude and being prepared to act in an emergency is not exactly a walk in the park. Again, to consistently accomplish this requires a special set of skills.

More specifically, as a flight attendant, be prepared to manage the following duties:

Review the flight plan with the flight crew, including the pilots, and go over any service or logistical details (i.e., possible rough weather or flight delays, length of the flight, and travel route.)

Photo Shutterstock
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.

Before takeoff, show passengers how to properly use the safety equipment on board, and you could even assist them in using it in case of an emergency.

Drive hefty carts filled with food and drink to sell to and serve customers in the air.

Make sure that passengers buckle up to their seat belts during takeoff, landing, and turbulence and remain seated when the flight crew requests it.

Be ready to assist older and special needs passengers with boarding and disembarking the aircraft.

Apply first aid to passengers who need it, be ready to provide emergency medical care if necessary, and get sick passengers ready to be handed off to EMTs when the plane lands. In an emergency, flight attendants must also direct passengers as they exit the aircraft.

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

You must be able to pass a vision test and exhibit 20/20 vision or close to it (contacts or glasses are fine).

Age: All major airlines require applicants to be at least 18 years old, though many, like United Airlines, have minimums as high as 21. However! You might still be able to apply and enroll even if you aren't quite old enough, as long as you will be by graduation day. That's because everything is calculated based on what your age will be when you finish training. Fortunately, there is no longer a cutoff age.

Height: Although there are minimum and maximum height requirements, they vary by airline. The main factor to consider is whether you can efficiently move around the cabin and reach everything you need to. In general, you're probably okay if you're between 5'2" and above 6'2; outside of that range, it varies.

Weight: There were once restrictions on weight. not anymore. You are capable of performing your job if you can.

2.Assess Your Personal Skills and Experience

Airlines prioritize hiring candidates with experience or training as flight attendants. Airlines favor hiring candidates with prior travel experience. Some schools in the US offer the instruction required to land a job as well as crew quarters to replicate life on the road. The hiring decision is influenced by a variety of factors, including education, location, experience, maturity, age, maturity, personality, and language proficiency.

3.No experience? Complete Flight Attendant Training Program

A flight attendant training program might help you get a foot in the door if you don't have any prior experience. The duties of a flight attendant go much beyond providing food and drinks. Emergency situations are handled by flight attendants in a safe manner. You must be knowledgeable about first aid, security, evacuation techniques, and aviation safety regulations. Having training or experience with a flight attendant training school gives you a significant competitive edge and demonstrates to airlines your dedication to your chosen career path.

4.Search and Apply for Flight Attendant Jobs

This process might not be as simple as it seems. Numerous applicants who lack training never have a chance to speak with an airline. Also, the competition is strong once you start the interviewing process.

The Application Process:

Only the most qualified applicants, out of the 270,000 that apply, are ever selected for an in-person interview at Delta, which has 2,000 open positions.

Many airlines utilize a computer screening method to eliminate many applicants only on the basis of their resumes.

Most airlines have a rigorous application process. One application may take 1-2 hours to complete, and some of the questions may seem difficult or daunting. A cover letter and resume should always be submitted with your application. Airlines get tens of thousands of applications, cover letters, and resumes each year; therefore, yours must really 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?

Photo Aerotime
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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