Flight attendant

Before we begin looking at some of the English requirements that flight attendants need, let’s first look at some of the roles and responsibilities that are required whilst keeping your cool at 35,000ft

Nature of the work

Flight attendants usually arrive one hour before thier flight and receive a briefing by the captain.

The captain’s briefing will normally include

  • Emergency evacuation procedures
  • Crew coordination
  • Expected flight times
  • Expected weather conditions
  • Passengers with special requirements

Flight attendants make sure that first-aid kits and other emergency equipment are on board and in working order and that the passenger cabin is in order, with adequate supplies of food, beverages, and blankets.

Flight attendants greet passengers as they board, check tickets (to make sure that the passenger is on the correct flight!) and help the passengers to store their coats and carry-on items.

Before take off, the flight attendants have perform a vital safety briefing and checks that include the following:

  • Use of emergency equipment
  • use of seat belts
  • use of floatation devices
  • Use of oxygen masks
  • Check that trays are stowed
  • Check that check that seats are upright
  • Check that all carry-on Items are properly stowed

In the air, the most important repsonsibility of the cabin crew is to help passengers in the event of an emergency

Whilst airborne, the flight attendants will also distribute reading material, blankets, food and beverages and generally help passengers that are requiring assistance

Before landing, the cabin crew will count headsets, alcoholic beverages, and other items and also count how much money has been collected on the flight and then remind the passengers of the safety information prior to landing, and make sure that the cabin is secure.

The flight attendants are managed by the Lead, or first, flight attendants, sometimes known as pursers, who oversee the work of the other attendants aboard the aircraft, while performing most of the same duties.

Major airlines are required by law to provide flight attendants for the safety of the traveling public.

Working conditions

Airlines operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, all flight attendants will have to work nights, holidays and weekends up to a total number of daily and monthly hours stated by ANAC and agreed between the airline and the employees union

On duty time is usually limited to 12 hours a day, though the maximum at times can be 14.  In a given month, attendants spend aproximately 80 hours in the air and have an additional 50 hours of work whilst on the ground.  This ground time can be spent waiting for connecting flights, cleaning and preparing the aircraft and completing written reports of the previous flight.

Because of the nature of the work, Crew can spend quite a lot of time away from home, the airlines will provide an allowance for hotels and for food whilst away.

The combination of free time and discount airfares provides flight attendants the opportunity to travel and see new places. However, the work can be strenuous and trying. Flight attendants stand during much of the flight and must remain pleasant and efficient, regardless of how tired they are or how demanding passengers may be. Occasionally, flight attendants must deal with disruptive passengers. Flight attendants are susceptible to injuries because of the job demands in a moving aircraft. In addition, medical problems can arise from irregular sleeping and eating patterns, dealing with stressful passengers, working in a pressurized environment, and breathing recycled air.

Training, other qualifications and advancement

  • Airlines prefer to hire poised, tactful, and resourceful people who can interact comfortably with strangers and remain calm under duress.
  • Applicants usually must be at least 18 to 21 years old.
  • Flight attendants must have excellent health and the ability to speak clearly.
  • Applicants must be high school graduates, and those with several years of college and experience in dealing with the public are preferred.
  • Flight attendants for international airlines generally must speak one or more foreign languages fluently.
  • Once hired, all candidates must undergo a period of formal training which can last between 3 to 8 weeks, depending on the size and type of carrier. Training takes place at the airline’s flight training center.
  • In addition, airlines usually have physical and appearance requirements. There are height requirements for the purposes of reaching overhead bins, and most airlines want candidates with weight proportionate to height. Vision is required to be correctable to 20/30 or better with glasses or contact lenses (uncorrected no worse than 20/200). Men must have their hair cut above the collar and be clean shaven. Airlines prefer applicants with no visible tattoos, body piercing, or unusual hairstyles or makeup.
  • Some flight attendants become supervisors or take on additional duties such as recruiting and instructing. Their experience also may qualify them for numerous airline-related jobs involving contact with the public, such as reservation ticket agent or public-relations specialist.