Over 180,000 applicants were trying to fill about 1,800 spots when I was wanting to become a flight attendant, so what did I do? I did my research. I dove right into a sea of blogs, articles, and videos to find advice on how to set my 21 year-old self apart from the other 99% of applicants. And guess what I found, disappointment. Numerous people who seemed highly qualified shared their experiences with the interview process and reported that it took them years and multiple attempts before they were hired to become a flight attendant.
Still, I continued the process myself and after I was hired I thought about all the things that I wish someone had told me, and all the things that I wish I would have avoided reading during my preparations for this interview. If anyone is interested in applying for this job, I want to share a few tips that I think are going to be beneficial and hopefully encourage you to pursue this career.
1. Know what you are getting yourself into.
Before applying, understand that this job is not all about smiling and looking pretty…during my final interview a flight attendant even came up to remind me of that, as if I looked naive and under qualified…anyways, know that the number 1 priority in this position is safety. That will definitely be a question you are asked during the interview, so do not say customer service. Although that is important, it will always come second to safety. On top of safety and customer service, this job is all about being flexible.
Know that you are more than likely going to have to move for this job, so ask yourself if you are really ready to commit to that. You are going to start spending your holidays, nights and weekends with your crew members instead of your friends and family and you need to be okay with that before you apply for this job. With that being said, understand that you will be spending your holidays in beautiful places with new friends and you will make memories that you will cherish forever. It wont be the same as what you are used to, but don’t let people scare you! You will be able to travel (for free might I add) on your days off to wherever you choose and it is easier than people will lead you to believe to see your friends and family on your days off. So yeah, you might celebrate Christmas day in Paris with coworkers you just met, but you can celebrate with your friends and family a few days before or after.
2. You don’t have to be a college graduate to get this job.
This doesn’t mean that you do not need to be qualified for this position. Much of the negative feedback I read about the interviews was coming from people who were not qualified and still expected to get the job. I myself did not finish my college degree and got this job on my first try at 21 years old. During my interview, I was hired over people in their 30′s who had finished college and had come from years in a respected career, but were still not qualified for this job. So what qualifications do you need for this job?
You need to be personable, patient, level-headed, and most of all you need to have a backbone; there is no crying in flight attending. You are dealing with people in this job and you better believe that all 300 passengers you encounter during the day are not going to be nice to you. Smile and don’t take things personally. Show the interviewers that you care about people even if they don’t care about you in return. The interviewers will ask you how you will deal with angry passengers so let them know that you understand how stressful traveling can be and that you wont take things personally. Your uniform is like a bulletproof vest and at the end of the day you are going to take it off and enjoy your layover wherever it may be. This is not a stressful job, so don’t make it one. This is one of the few jobs where you will not bring your work home with you, and that isn’t just because you aren’t usually going home at the end of your day.
3. It gets better.
You will read negative comments about what new hire flight attendants go through and why they hate this job, but I am hear to tell you that is something you need to ignore. I came in expecting to have awful trips, short layovers, and more on-call days than I could imagine. The things that I read all had a discouraging connotation to them and even though this job is all about seniority, being at the bottom of the list isn’t all that bad. After reading these things I thought that I was going to have to endure the worst before I could start enjoying the job. THAT IS NOT TRUE! The salary is different for different airlines, but my introductory salary was more than substantial so don’t be scared. My trips were more often great trips than they were bad trips, and I didn’t have to put in 10 years before I went internationally, really it was only a month. I saw a weekend off here and there and I was able to hold certain things in my schedule that I never would have expected as a new hire. This job is what you make it, so just have an open mind, be flexible and keep a positive attitude.
I may never know why I was chosen over the other 99% of people who applied, but I do know that this is not just a job, this is a lifestyle and if you are prepared to take it on, it will be the best thing you ever do.