What qualifications do I need to be a Flight Attendant?

Working as a flight attendant can be rewarding and exciting. Depending on the airline you are working for you could be travelling to far flung places and visiting exotic cities.

On the downside, you will be working long and unsociable hours. You may spend little time in the places you visit and really only see the inside of your hotel room. You may also be asked to work shifts at very short notice.

You will be undertaking the following kind of work:
• Pre-flight safety checks
• Ensuring passenger comfort and safety during flight
• Distributing food and drinks
• Dealing with paperwork
You may also have to deal with some unusual events, such as;
• Ill passengers,
• Very nervous passengers
• Difficult children
• Drunk or unruly passengers
• Emergency situations

If you are still interested be prepared for a gruelling interview process as there is so much competition for places.

Pros
• An exciting and varied career
• A good salary with paid expenses (although this is being squeezed)
• Days off between flights (especially on long haul)
• Reduced price flights

Cons
• Less glamorous than it may seem
• Long and unsociable hours including working weekends and public holidays eg. Christmas Day
• Dealing with difficult and rude passengers

GCSEs
Most airlines ask for a minimum of four GCSEs grade A to C including English and Maths. If you can speak a foreign language that will be an advantage.

A-levels
These are not essential.

Degree
A degree is not essential.

Other requirements
You wil need to be aged 18 or over, in good health and able to swim well. You will also need to hold a valid EU or UK passport. Different airlines will have added requirements such as:

• Your weight must be in proportion to your height (there may also be a minimum and maximum height)
• Good vision (contact lenses acceptable)
• No visible tattoos when wearing a uniform

How long will it take to get qualified?
Once your application has been accepted the airline will generally send you on a training course which lasts around four or five weeks.

One the course you will study subjects such as:
• Safety equipment and procedures
• First aid
• Aviation security and dangerous goods
• Customer service
• Food preparation
• Cabin service and uniform standards
Although the course is quite short it is very intense and you need to pass ALL the units to qualify as a flight attendant.

Typical salary
As a newly-qualified flight attendant you can expect to earn around £14k. More experienced staff will earn between £16k and £22k and really senior flight attendants can earn up to £25k per year.

Airlines cover hotel costs and expenses if you need to stay away from home overnight.

Click here to read the typical 'Day in the Life of a Flight Attendant!'

Useful websites
British Airways jobs www.britishairwaysjobs.com
Virgin Atlantic jobs www.virgin-atlantic.com
Easy Jet jobs www.easyjetcareers.com
Flybe jobs www.flybe.com/careers/