What Do Flight Attendants Do?
Thousands of commercial airline flights take off and land across the United States every day. While pilots operate the aircraft, each flight’s team of flight attendants sees to the comfort and safety of the passengers. A flight attendant’s role may include checking tickets and demonstrating safety procedures in addition to serving food and drinks.There are projected be about 1,400 flight attendant job openings each year. This is in spite of the fact that there is an overall downward trend in the number of positions nationwide. Of course, the rates of growth or decline vary from state to state and from airline to airline.
Flight Attendants Skills and Abilities
Although customer service skills are very important to have in this career, they are not the only requirement. Other qualities and skills that are needed for this job include:
- Knowledge of public safety procedures and equipment
- A measure of physical fitness
- A good command of the English language
- Public speaking ability and oral communication skills
- The ability to maintain composure when dealing with ever-changing circumstances or unruly passengers
Flight Attendants Duties
Flight attendants’ duties range from keeping passengers and inventory organized to assisting in emergency procedures. Specifically, duties may include:
- Doing safety checks before each flight
- Cross-checking the work of other flight attendants
- Taking inventory of food, beverages and comfort items and restocking as needed
- Expediting the boarding process by directing passengers to seat assignments and announcing available overhead storage bins
- Making announcements regarding boarding, takeoff and landing procedures
- Taking passenger orders and serving refreshments
- Processing onboard payments
- Operating audio and video equipment, especially on longer flights
- Demonstrating the use of safety equipment
- Assisting passengers during actual emergencies
- Reassuring and comforting passengers
- Inspecting the cabin and the seating area before, during and after each flight
- Keeping written records and preparing reports
- Communicating positively and accurately with flight crew and passengers
- Receiving specific directions and working with others as part of a team
Flight Attendants Tools and Technology
Some tools that you will have to become familiar with as a flight attendant are emergency exit and evacuation systems, oxygen equipment and emergency life preservers. You will also need to learn to correctly use food storage containers, including refrigeration units, in order to keep food and beverages at safe handling temperatures. You may need to use scheduling software, a handheld point-of-sale (POS) system and career training software.
Education and Training for Flight Attendants
Under most circumstances, you will only need a high school diploma to start a career as a flight attendant, and there is a moderate amount of on-the-job training. Each airline has its own intensive learning program, typically lasting between one and two months. This training will prepare you for your daily tasks, as well as teach you how to handle emergency situations.
Flight Attendants Salary
Most flight attendants working in the United States earn between $28,800 and $72,600. The median wage is $42,300, meaning that half of flight attendants earn more than this figure and half earn less. Exact salary depends on the airline you work for and your level of experience.
Flight Attendants Jobs by Geography
Flight attendants in Florida, Indiana, Georgia and Texas report the highest median annual wage, with a total of eight states reporting median wages over $40,000. California, Illinois, New York, Georgia and Texas have the highest number of people employed as flight attendants, while Colorado, Texas and Hawaii are predicting the highest percentage of increase in this field (between 22 and 33 percent over a 10-year period). When you’re searching for a job as a flight attendant, think in terms of which cities and states have the largest, busiest airports. Then find out which airlines have hubs in those airports, and start filling out applications.