Have you ever dreamed of flying to exotic places or foreign cities? Or perhaps have a desire to see more of the USA?
For the first time since 9/11, nearly all airlines are actively hiring Flight Attendants.
Interested? Then you should consider the career as an airline flight attendant. There are over eighty scheduled, regional and charter airlines in the US and Canada, and they are in need of qualified applicants the year round.
But the Majors are only 10% of the airlines operating in the US and Canada. The other 90% include the mid-size airlines, regional and commuter carriers and charter airlines. These airlines continue to need and hire flight attendants on their flights.
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In addition, the fastest growing sector of aviation is the corporate or executive jet Flight Attendant employment opportunities. These luxurious private and corporate aircraft cater to a high-end clientele, and require professionally trained flight attendants as well.
If you think you must be a young fashion-model type to be considered for this much sought-after job, you would be mistaken. So says Tim Kirkwood, author of the best-selling career book, THE FLIGHT ATTENDANT CAREER GUIDE. Airlines today are looking for women and men between the ages of eighteen to sixty, who have the desire to travel and work with people. This broader acceptance of applicants opens the career up to persons who had never considered themselves qualified. It also, therefore, increases the competition for potential applicants. Every airline has a different set of requirements, and some will even look for the characteristics of the region in which they fly.
A high-school diploma or GED is a must, so if you're in school now, STAY IN SCHOOL. If you have quit or dropped out, it's never too late to go back and get your diploma. For all airlines, it is a requirement for employment. Additional schooling, which can improve your chances of acceptance, includes sociology, psychology, history, geography, and foreign languages. Nearly all airlines will train you as a part of the hiring process, even if you've worked for another airline, or attended one of the expensive airline "schools". I recommend you look for an inexpensive local community college or adult education course that offers class in Travel & Tourism, or an introduction to the Flight Attendant Career.
Most airlines set height requirements to correspond with the size of the aircraft they operate. Too tall, and you're bumping your head on the ceiling. Too short, and you may not be able to reach the overhead compartments. If you're between 5' and 6', you'll be within the range the airlines are looking for.
Weight restrictions have come under fire lately, brought on by lawsuits against the impossibly strict standards set decades ago. The phrase you will hear now is "weight must be in proportion to height". Being in good physical condition is important, as the job can be physically demanding. Combine unusual hours, time zone changes, strange hotel rooms and the dry atmosphere of the airplane, and you have the making of physical exhaustion. Applicants are tested for drug use when hired and then randomly after that for the rest of their career. Even if you are using illegal drugs on a sporadic or "recreational" basis, you must quit now. You can also be alcohol tested throughout your career, as drinking is not permitted at anytime while on duty or in uniform.
The traveling public has the general impression that flight attendants are on board the airplane simply to serve food and coffee. The Federal Aviation Administration, a government organization that oversees aviation safety, sees it completely different. Their role is to ensure that the flying public is safe when they fly, and requires flight attendants on board to provide assistance in flight, and to get the passengers out of the aircraft in an emergency. You will learn basic first-aid, CPR, fire-fighting techniques as part of your training. In fact, the majority of training you will receive will have more to do with safety, than how to pour a glass of wine.
What is it then, which makes this job one of the most sought-after in America?
Flexibility, variety, and travel are the top three reasons.
Well, to begin with, the hours can be long and irregular. The work can be tiring, the passengers demanding or even abusive. The atmosphere in the aircraft at altitude is extremely drying. Snowstorms, labor disputes, or mechanical breakdowns can disrupt schedules. Perhaps your plans to attend your friends' wedding will be spoiled by a storm that traps you in Des Moines. And there is the constant fear of a crash, although statistics say you have a better chance of being hit by lightening than experiencing a plane crash. This is more than a career choice. This is a lifestyle change to which you must give careful thought.
And what do the airline recruiters look for? Once again the big word is flexibility. If you are able to be flexible in your attitude and lifestyle, and work well both alone, and with a group of people, then you have the basic building blocks to pursue your career in the skies.
The best source of information on the career of an airline or corporate flight attendant is THE FLIGHT ATTENDANT CAREER GUIDE, now in it's third printing, with updated information on the requirements of the job, including:
Plus up-to-date listings of the hiring requirements of all 80 US and Canada airlines, including:
Using this book, you can make the most informed and intelligent decisions on which airline to work for. When you have chosen the airlines that match your career criteria, you will know how to contact them and request an application. Then, START PACKING!
Best of Success to all of You!
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TIM KIRKWOOD, currently in his 38th year as an airline flight attendant, is the author of THE FLIGHT ATTENDANT CAREER GUIDE - the career guide for Flight Attendant applicants for over 20 years.
Now in it's fourth edition, the e-book of the Flight Attendant Career Guide continues to offer the best information on over 70 US and Canadian airlines.
Order your Kindle copy today.