Career Scoop: Working as Cabin Crew (Flight Attendant)

Career Scoop file, on what it's like to work as Cabin CrewCareer Insight:  Cabin Crew

In a nutshell, what do you do? 

As Cabin Crew our main responsibility is for the safety and security of the passengers and the aircraft. We have to be able to fight fires, apply first aid (including delivering babies and CPR), deal with hostage situations, do security searches and be able to evacuate people safely if necessary. These skills we use rarely. And don’t worry….the airline usually teaches you these skills.

The job we do the most is customer service and providing meals on board in each cabin. The importance of this varies from airline to airline

Why did you choose this career? 

I love working with people and I love to travel. This was the best combination of both of those things.

What path did you take into it?

Most airlines have a “careers” page on the internet. I simply posted my CV online and was contacted by the airline when they were hiring. Other airlines post the vacancies and you can only apply for them when they are posted. Most airlines require you to be able to swim (tread water for 1 minute) and depending on the airline you should be a certain age and a normal BMI

What, in your opinion, is the best bit of being cabin crew?

Seeing new destinations, shopping all over the world and meeting interesting people. And being able to travel cheaply on my off time – most airlines off discounted tickets to their staff

Every job has its downsides. What do you think are the worst bits?

The job looks a whole lot more glamorous than it is. You work very long hours and you have to be self motivated – you often deal with a lot more complaints and grumpy people than with compliments.

It can also be a very lonely job. Your friends all have normal lives while you work crazy hours and weekends – you end up missing out on a lot of fun times

Is it what you expected when you first started out?

No. I often spend most of my time in the hotel room catching up on sleep and jet lag. So you have to drink a lot of coffee if you want to sightsee!

What do the public least understand – or mistake – about what you do?

Most people think we are there to serve lunch and tea & coffee. Our main job is actually for their safety.

What kind of people tend to do well in this kind of career?

I have met crew with all types of personalities in this job. But the main thing is that you need to have a lot of patience and love working with people.

Finally, any advice you’d offer to people looking to get into this line of work?

If you’re young and single (i.e. unmarried, no children etc.) then this job is still a great way to see the world. Most airlines work on a contract basis so if its not for you then you can move on.

The easiest way to get into the job is to send your CV to as many airlines as possible and keep trying. If you’re prepared to leave home and live in the Middle East then apply for the airlines there – they hire frequently.

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