After the big decision to pursue a career in aviation, comes a full list of requirements and assets you'll find in every company's website. It is a stressful process - it definitely was for me when, 10 years ago, I decided to become a flight attendant.
You'll need to be as qualified as you would in any other job - except that aviation requires certain skills and assets in order to succeed in this field; appearance, age, physical condition and training to name a few and some of the companies out there are quite strict regarding some of them.
On this post you'll find a detailed list with all necessary requirements, but you'll have to do your own research too, as they may vary in every company based on its own special needs. An airline in France, for instance, may require English and French - one in the UK just English and so on.
So, these are the most common requirements.
One of the most basic requirements is that of age in aviation. There's a minimum limit to join a career in this field - usually 18 or 21 years (in Emirates). As for corporate aviation - private jets - usually the minimum is 25 years. Maximum age isn't always clearly stated; are you energetic and physically strong to cope up with a stressful and tiring working environment? If you are, go for it!
You should have an arm reach of 212cm - that's the most common requirement and there's a logical explanation for it; you should comfortably move your hands between all overhead bins over the plane's seats. Those companies with smaller types of aircrafts aren't that strict with height requirement - there's a minimum of 150cm.
It isn't usually listed as a prerequisite, so there's only reasonable there's a confusion around it. It is left upon your judgement whether you feel physically able to compete in swimming, climbing on the lifeboat or jump off the slide - weight won't stand in your way in that case. You'll only have to be physically healthy and in a good medical shape.
Flight attendants are regular human beings - not supermodels. It's outdated to think of flight attendants as models on a uniform. Good news are that if you follow the company's general grooming guideline that requires an amount of standard stylization for all cabin crew - note that it might be a bit more conservative than your everyday life - then you'll easily adjust to the requirements. On the other hand, if you got pink hair for instance or you feel way too rock 'n' roll to live in a uniform or wear your hair up in a bun, then you better reconsider your choice.
#5. Tattoo & Piercing
If you got a tattoo in a visible part of your body - meaning that it can't be hidden underneath the uniform - you'll have a problem as it is strictly fobidden. Airlines like Emirates do check for tattoos, as they prohibit all cosmetic and bandage coverings. Same goes for piercing - you are allowed to have pierced ears but not more that one piercings. Note that you'll have to be honest about both tattoos and piercings at your interview.
#6. Physical condition
What's required by most airline companies is for you to be able to swim and physically fit to manage with a demanding work schedule and long flights. Be aware of the job's difficulties and demands (read more here), so you will be able to cope with them easily. As for swimming, it is an essential part of your training so consider it as a prerequisite.
A high school degree is required and a Bachelor or MBA degree is considered a huge asset. If you have a degree in tourism, customer servise, culinary art or even nursery, it will be more than welcome. Make sure to mention your education/training at the corresponding field in your CV - follow my 6 steps and prepare the perfect resume.
A fluency in both spoken and written English is mandatory in all airline companies. Any other languages will be considered an asset. Companies based in countries where English isn't official language, often require knowledge of the national language ( e.g Air France or Norwegian). As I mentioned before, you'll have to be honest; do not list a language you barely know in your CV.
A few of the basic qualities in order to make it as a flight attendant are; sociability, flexibility, ability to adapt, kindness, diplomacy, punctuality,confidence, positive attitude and the ability in problem solving, working on a team and making decisions. It is quite a long list and it is ok to feel intimidated by it - we all were. During your interview you won't be able to prove any of that, except of the fact that you're open to new challenges and you easily adapt to changes. Dedication is everything; you'll be able to prove yourself and grow through the course of your career.
There are certain qualities which are necessary in order to make it in this job and you won't find them listed under certain qualifications or assets on any company. Multi-tasking is one of them. You'll desperately need it from day 1 - there's no "I'll deal with that later" while on board. You'll have to multi-task, cope with more than one things at the same time - so many, you'll be surprised by yourself!
***Cover photo: Virgin Atlantic's girls were voted as World's Most Attractive 2011 - Daily Mail
Who does not remember this awesome commercial for the 25 years of Virgin: 25 Still Red Hot?!
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