With how they neatly dress, how they are poised in walking the aisle of the airplane, how calm they speak to passengers, anyone can surely tell that being a flight attendant is tantamount to what beauty pageant ladies do. However being a flight attendant is not all about glitz and glamour. They too, have to undergo extensive training, have to deal with irregular sleeping hours and even encounter unruly passengers.
To become a flight attendant, aspirants need to be 18 years old and above and will only be required to have at least a high school diploma. But most employers would prefer to hire aspirants with college degrees. Moreover, a candidate who has undergone flight attendant training courses will have the bigger chance of being hired.
In addition to educational requirements, airline companies are as well scrupulous when it comes to physical appearance. Job candidates must have a weight that is in proportion to their height, good vision (other employers accept those that wear contact lenses), no tattoos, fair complexion, good set of teeth.
Once a jobseeker has been hired, Fas will then undergo four to five weeks of extensive training which covers different course topics like: Safety Equipment and Procedures, Aviation Security, First Aid, Food Preparation, Customer Service and Cabin Service and Uniform Standards.
Once the training is completed, new FAs will then bear a Reserve Status. This means that they will be called to replace or fill in an absent flight attendant or Fas that are vacationing. They will also be called should there be a need for more FAs for extra flights. The Reserve Status of a new FA will remain for at least a year or run for five to ten years.
What Does A Flight Attendant Do?
Basically, a flight attendant’s job is to make sure that the safety regulations set by the aviation law as well as the protocols of the airline company is properly observed. Moreover, they are also tasked to make passengers comfortable during the entire duration of their flight. Here’s a brief discussion of what a flight attendant usually does.
Flight attendants will be briefed by the airplane’s captain or the pilot in command an hour before the flight. The briefing usually include topics such as the emergency evacuation protocol, synchronization among the crews, the entire duration of the flight, the possible weather conditions and some special concerns related to the welfare of the passengers on board. Flight attendants also check the first-aid kits and other emergency equipment inside the plane. They test these equipment if they are working and that the cabin area is organized, including the foods, supplies and the goodies that the plane usually provide their passengers. When everything has all been set and that passengers will be told to board the plane, the Flight Attendants will be waiting at the plane’s doorstep to greet them, check their tickets, usher them to their assigned seats and assist them on placing their carry-on baggage.
Prior to departure with passengers properly seated, the flight attendants will then demonstrate the proper use of emergency equipment within the airplane, show passengers on how to lock and unlock their seatbelts, how they are supposed to be seated (upright position, especially during take-off) and the proper placing of carry-on items. When the plane has already taken off and is already on air, the flight attendants duty is to keep their passengers safe and comfortable. They will be helping the first people who will help passengers should there be any emergency. Some of their safety actions include calming their passengers if the captain calls that there’s a rough weather ahead and that they need to do an emergency landing. Flight attendants also attend to their passenger’s query regarding the flight; give them reading materials, provide them with pillows and blankets.
They also aid small children, elderly, disabled or other people that needs assistance. In addition to securing and providing their passengers with a good flight experience, Flight Attendants are also qualified to perform first aid should situations call for it. Some airlines provide their passengers with free meals while others will have them paid. Whatever the airline’s policies are, the flight attendants are responsible in serving beverages and other kinds of refreshments. They also serve passengers with precooked meals or snacks. Before the plane lands, flight attendants will perform the inventory of the plane’s headsets, the beverages as well as the money they had collected. They also make reports should there be any medical problems passengers may have experienced during the flight, lost and found items as well as the total condition of the cabin.
The Good and the Bad of Being a Flight Attendant
As said earlier, being a flight attendant is not all about glitz and glamour, not even about having a good life while on board. Here’s a discussion on how flight attendants go about their tasks as flight attendants.
Airlines don’t take breaks and they don’t take holidays per se. Because airlines run 24 hours a day every year, flight attendants will then have to work during the night, on holidays and even on weekends. Most of the time, the scheduled on-time duty for a flight attendant is only 12 hours maximum per day shift, while other companies require as long as 14 hours with greater number of hours for international flights. All in all, flight attendants usually spend 65 to 90 hours working every month with 50 hours more on ground works. Moreover, they are susceptible to injuries because of their need to stand while the plane is moving. During the entire period that flight attendants are away from their homes, they will be given with appropriate hotel accommodations and meal allowances.
The perk of becoming a flight attendant is that they have better chances of exploring different places. Although flight attendants don’t have a fixed schedule, they have the privilege to take long rests. By that it means, they can have as much as five days of break. With such long break and their privilege for discount fares, flight attendants have the advantage to travel and explore new places.