A Flight Attendant Talks About Her Job

Marianne Moore is a flight attendant with US Air. She has had more than 16 years of service as a flight attendant.

"Very intensive training is necessary to become a flight attendant. First of all, over the years, it's become a lot more popular job, and the airline companies go through a big screening process in selecting the applicants who will go through training school.

"Different airlines have different educational requirements. Their physical requirements are not as strict as they used to be, mostly due to legal battles and union representation. We now have mothers who can fly, and weight restrictions are much more lenient.

"The training schools are run by the airlines according to FAA requirements. You spend most of your time studying, learning the Federal Aviation Regulations inside and out. You must know the aircraft that you're going to be flying. You have to know how to evacuate an airplane under many different conditions, and you go through all the scenarios that might be countered in an emergency. We are taught first aid.

"Once a year we have to go through recurrent training and learn anything new that's come out. It's sad to say, but every time an airplane crashes we learn a lot from it. Also, we have to practice emergency procedures, including a mock exercise in evacuating an airplane. You get into the simulator and go to your exit and sometimes the exit will be blocked by fire and you have to know what to do in that situation.

"After the TWA incident in Beirut, we were required to go through eight hours of hijack training because the government and the airlines felt the crews needed more background in that area.

"In order to make an informed choice as to an airline career, I would most definitely research the airline that I was giving my application to. The airlines can be selective, but you can be selective, too. Contact the FAA or the Department of Transportation and try to find out if the airline of your choice is financially stable and has a good operating record.

"Apply to several airlines; don't put all your eggs into one basket. I think it's very important to realize that it's a transient job, especially with mergers and acquisitions and the way that the airline industry is growing. But you have to be flexible. That's the name of the game. You might be told one day-or you might just pick up a newspaper and find out-that your airline was bought by somebody else, which more than likely means you'll have a move on your hands. You have to go to where the flying is.

"You have to realize that it's not all a glamour job. You do get to work with the public and you can get a lot of fulfillment by the things you do for your passengers, but it's hard and tedious work, and it's very uncertain these days."

The History of Flight Attendants

Ron Akana may be the nations longest-serving flight attendant

This is a great story about Flight Attendant Ron Akana.

Mr. Akana has held the No. 1 spot at United for the past five years, since Iris Peterson retired after 60 years of service at the age of 85.

While many of his older colleagues are still flying because they have to, Mr. Akana said he does not work for the paycheck alone. At one time, just after he turned 70, Mr. Akana was among the highest-paid flight attendants at the airline, earning $106,000 a year through a combination of pay, pension and Social Security — a situation that has earned him a “triple dipper” label by younger colleagues and airline bookkeepers.

Decades ago, hiring policies ensured that the ranks of flight attendants remained young. Stewardesses faced mandatory retirement by 32. If they married or became pregnant, they were out. In 1966, a New York Times classified ad for stewardesses at Eastern Airlines listed these requirements: “A high school graduate, single (widows and divorcees with no children considered), 20 years of age (girls 19 1/2 may apply for future consideration). 5’2” but no more than 5’9,” weight 105 to 135 in proportion to height and have at least 20/40 vision without glasses.”

Over the years Mr. Akana has taken his wife and two children all over the world free, including vacations to Australia, New Zealand, Europe and Hong Kong. There were also weekend jaunts to Chicago so the children could try deep-dish pizza.

Read the whole article at the New York Times.


Flight Attendant Job Interviews

Flight Attendant Job Interviews

In addition to performing flight duties, flight attendants sometimes attend or even conduct open house and interview sessions. You just might be interviewed by a flight attendant you will be working with in the future.

Excellent language and communication skills are essential. Applicants must use good grammar and speak clearly with a pleasant voice. Often during the interview process, applicants are asked to demonstrate basic abilities. Languages spoken will vary depending on the company. US airlines require that you speak English fluently. Languages include but are not limited to: English, French, German, Spanish, Cantonese, Hindi, Chinese, and Japanese. Applicants who desire to fly internationally generally must be fluent in a foreign language such as French, Spanish, German or Japanese. Bilingual applicants are desired and, may help increase chances of initial employment with domestic carriers, and may be required by some airlines.

Possible Interview Questions
Some of the questions you may be asked in a flight interview include but are not limited to:

  • When were you last through emergency and first aid/defibrillator training? (bring copies of all training certificates.)
  • Are you experienced on our type aircraft?
  • Do you have culinary skills and are you good with food presentation?
  • Do you know how much this job pays? What are your salary requirements?
  • How do you feel about being away from home for extended periods of time?
  • Do you have a current passport?
  • Are your immunizations current for specific travel?
  • Do you carry a paging device/cellular telephone?
  • Do you have a current aviation ID card, such as Universal, Air Routing, or IBAC?
  • Do you have reliable transportation to and from the airport or our facility?
  • Have you ever worked as a Flight Attendant before?
  • Do you speak a foreign language (if applicable to the company's operation)?
  • Do you have a credit card for travel expenses until reimbursement?

Other requests or discussion topics during an interview include:

  • What do you think the flight attendants primary responsibility is as a crewmember?
  • You may be asked to perform a mock emergency briefing, pointing out the operation and usage of all emergency equipment, doors, window exits, etc. (this is normally to gauge the quality of your voice and self confidence)
  • Do you have three to four references from past employers.
  • How do you feel about a dress code and professional standards?

The Avjobs Applicant Portal has an "Online Practice Interview"
Spending 30 minutes a week practicing your interview skills is critical. The staff at Avjobs along with other industry wide personnel offices agree, the interview can make or break an applicant regardless of experience or training. It has been the experience of Avjobs and its employees that there is a "best" preparatory procedure for interviews.

The Avjobs "Online Practice Interview" section describes this preparatory process and provides tools and tips for you to be at your best. The "Online Practice Interview" includes audio, video and hundreds of sample questions. So turn up your sound and practice those interview skills.

Packing Tips For Flight Attendants

Packing Tips For Flight Attendants

Packing Tips For Flight Attendants

Pack Light!

  • Choosing a wardrobe of basics for your layover will help you deal with space limitations. Select clothes that will coordinate with each other.
  • Try to stick to one color scheme (black/brown/navy) or select clothes that can be mixed and matched.
  • Bring clothing that requires little care … wrinkle-resistant, quick drying fabrics.
  • Check seasonal weather conditions where you will be traveling and be prepared.
  • To save space and weight, prepare a kit of miniature toiletries in small plastic bottles. Don't fill bottles to the top, because the pressure may cause contents to expand. Pack bottles in plastic bags should there be leakage.
  • As an alternative, many stores sell travel size toiletries, which are small and do not use up excessive space.

Pack Tight!

  • Pack tightly. Packing loosely wastes precious space and causes clothes to wrinkle.
  • Pack heavy items on the bottom of the suitcase to avoid wrinkles.
  • You may also want to stuff any packed shoes with underwear or socks to save space, or prevent them from being crushed during your travels.
  • Roll pajamas, nightgowns, sweaters and other casual wear to fill small spaces, when possible, BUT don't cram your suitcase full. If you have to force your luggage closed, remove a few items to prevent broken hinges or zippers along the way.
  • Try the "interweaving method" of packing for your next trip. Drape longer garments such as dresses and pants across the suitcase with the ends hanging over the sides. Then, fold shorter items such as jackets, shirts and blouses around the longer garments so that they cushion each other.

Identification Reminder!

  • Be sure to include your name and domicile on a tag fastened securely to the outside of your luggage. You may also want to identify your luggage on the inside with your name, address, telephone number and domicile.


Airline Flight Attendant Career Overview

In Flight - Flight Attendant  Airline Flight Attendant

General Information
A flight attendants first and foremost responsibility is the safety of the aircraft cabin and its passengers. Flight attendants must comply with Federal Aviation Regulations. FAR's require flight attendants to be on aircraft for the sole purpose of performing safety-related duties. However, duties also include a wide range of passenger service functions. Flight attendants must be prepared for the unexpected and able to change from their passenger service role to their critical safety role at a moments notice.

Position Description
The flight attendant is the most highly visible employee to passengers of an aircraft. Flight attendants spend more time with passengers than any other airline employee, and tend to a wide variety of needs and requests. The flight attendant must offer the most personalized service possible to each and every passenger for the duration of flights. more >>

Federal Regulations Require Rest

Federal Regulations Require Rest Between Training and ID
The Federal Aviation Administration "FAA" recently provided United with a clarification of FAR 121.467, which governs required rest prior to flight assignments. In order to ensure compliance with the regulation, United has modified the process by which Flight Attendant training assignments are scheduled. Our Contract Section 15.J.1. provides that legal rest requirements and maximum duty periods can be waived at the Flight Attendant's option when scheduled for training. In compliance with the FAR, training will not be assigned immediately preceding an ID since legal rest may not be waived below the minimum of 9 hours. When a lineholder bids to waive legal rest after a training assignment, the legal rest may be waived down to a minimum of nine "9" hours between the release time of the training assignment and the report time of the next ID.