Those who are new to this occupation work reserve status, which means they are on call and can be called to work at any time. Fortunately, more regular schedules come with seniority.
Your formal training will prepare you for your job, but you need specific soft skillspersonal characteristicsin order to be successful. You must be attentive to peoples' needs. Excellent communication will allow you to interact well with passengers. Strong customer service skills will help you during stressful situations. You will also need good listening skills to help you understand passengers' needs.
Use the Salary Wizard at Salary.com to find out how much flight attendants currently earn in your city.
A Day in a Flight Attendant's Life:
On a typical day a flight attendant will:
- get briefed by the captain on emergency evacuation procedures, coordination of the crew, the length of the flight, expected weather conditions, and special issues having to do with passengers
- make sure that first-aid kits and other emergency equipment are aboard and in working order
- assess the passenger cabin to make sure there are adequate supplies of food, beverages, and blankets
- greet passengers as they enter the plane, check their tickets, and tell them where to store their coats and carry-on bags
- instruct passengers in the use of emergency equipment
- check to see that passengers' seat belts are fastened, seats are in the upright position, and bags are properly stowed prior to takeoff
- help passengers in the event of an emergency
- reassure passengers in the event of turbulence
- direct passengers if they must evacuate the plane if there is an emergency landing
- answer questions about the flight
- distribute blankets, pillows, and reading material
- distribute beverages, snacks, and sometimes heat and serve meals
- help those needing assistance, e.g. small children, or elderly or disabled passengers
- administer first aid to ill patients
- take inventory of headsets, alcoholic beverages, and money collected prior to landing
- report passengers' medical problems, lost and found articles, and condition of cabin equipment
- sometimes, if in a supervisory position, oversee the work of the other attendants aboard the aircraft
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, US Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, Flight Attendants, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Transportation-and-Material-Moving/Flight-attendants.htm (visited July 22, 2013).
Employment and Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, O*NET Online, Flight Attendants, on the Internet at http://www.onetonline.org/link/details/53-2031.00 (visited July 22, 2013).