I have been very interested in becoming a flight attendant for a long time, but I am not sure I have the minimum flight attendant requirements. Can you please list the minimum qualifications necessary to become a flight attendant?
In this blog, we continue with Part 2 of our three-part series covering flight attendant minimum requirements the airlines will be looking for before they hire you. Last week, we discussed the issues of Age and Height. This week, we address Weight, Health, Education and Customer Service minimum qualifications.
Weight has always been a controversial subject with the airlines. Many years ago, airlines had very strict guidelines for weight vs. height. The charts were unreasonable and because of that, they were a subject of some lawsuits against the airlines for weight discrimination. Those days are long gone and now, except for some of the foreign airlines, there are no specific weight requirements. All the recruiters want is that your height and weight be somewhat proportional.
Nowadays, it is more important to be in relatively good shape than to look like a marathon runner or weightlifter. The airlines are looking for people who can handle the everyday duties of a flight attendant. They should have the strength to be able to open and close heavy doors, lift bags into the overhead or carry suitcases down the aisle for elderly passengers. They also need to have the stamina to be able get through long days, sometimes as long as 16 hours. A person who is out of shape or in poor health may not be able to cope in these conditions. So, a word to the wise is that you should strive to be in the best physical shape possible before your interview. Get out of the house and go to the gym! It could make a difference of getting the job or not.
Although it may not be clear to you, health is another important requirement the airlines look for in their applicants. Why do they want healthy people? Because flying around in an airplane all day with recycled air makes you very susceptible to contracting an illness. You must have a strong immune system to be able to protect your body from catching a bug that may be passed on to you from a sick passenger during a very tiring four-day trip. Remember, you will be in contact with several hundred people a day both at the terminal and in the cramped airplane quarters so the chances of picking up somebody else’s virus is high. Chronic medical problems, poor family medical history or drug/alcohol abuse may be indicators that you will have a problem as a flight attendant.
Once you are conditionally accepted by an airline, there is one more hurdle before you are officially a new-hire. That is the physical exam. Every airline will require you to undergo a comprehensive physical exam administered either by the company doctor or at a third part clinic. The most important aspect of the physical is that you are drug and alcohol free and are in good health. If you do not pass the physical, you will not get hired.
Your eyes will be tested during the physical. Most airlines require that you have either 20/20 vision or have eyesight correctable to 20/20 with corrective lenses. Please be sure to bring your eyeglasses or contacts to the physical.
More on the company physical next week.
The minimum education requirement at most airlines is that you have a high school degree or G.E.D. (Government Equivalency Diploma). If you never finished high school and didn’t earn your G.E.D., you probably won’t get hired as a flight attendant. If you would like to pursue earning your G.E.D. or need more details about it, click here.
Remember that the minimum requirements posted on the airline websites are just that. They are minimum requirements. So, if you exceed a minimum requirement, that is even better. If you have a four-year college degree, don’t think that is wasted because you are pursuing a flight attendant career. There are many opportunities within the airline for advancement and those with degrees usually fare better than those without. One half of all flight attendants hired have at least one year of college and about a third have earned their Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree. Some people hired have even earned their Master’s or Doctorate’s degree. These individuals are prime candidates for moving up the management ranks.
The other advantage of pursuing college studies is that many airlines will substitute a certain number of years of college for customer service. If you don’t have any customer service experience, your years of college may count.
Customer Service Experience
In the eyes of an airline, you are representing the company in every interaction you have with customers. So, customer service experience is very important, although not necessarily required. As I said earlier, more is better. If two candidates interview and one has customer service experience and one does not, guess which one will probably get hired? Right! The one with the customer service experience. Airlines always like to see someone who is comfortable working with the public, especially since many of your duties will require it. From greeting passengers, to making PA announcements to resolving customer problems with seating, luggage or connections, you will be working directly with the public and representing the company in every way.
So, what is customer service experience? You may be surprised to know that any job dealing with people is considered customer service. From working telemarketing or telephone customer service, waiting tables, working in a retail store, or a fast-food drive-thru window, it all counts.
If you don’t have any customer experience in your resume, you should still apply. Many applicants who were strong in other areas, but had no customer service experience, were still hired. And as I mentioned, most airlines will substitute two years of college in place of customer service.
Next Week: Flight Attendant Requirements – Part III: Language Skills, Citizenship, Relocation,
Appearance, Company Physical and Background Check.
Please email your Ask the Recruiter questions to: [email protected]