“Some people say it’s easier to get into Harvard than to become a flight attendant.”
Have you ever thought about becoming a flight attendant?
Between the free flights and the opportunity to travel and see the world, being a flight attendant is very appealing. Some would even call it a dream job.
However, becoming a flight attendant isn’t the easiest, and if you get the job, you’ll find out that though rewarding, it is not for everybody.
I recently spoke with three flight attendants and they gave me the scoop on the things they wish they knew before becoming a flight attendant. If you are thinking about being a flight attendant, you should read what they have to say first.
1. The interview process is a long one
It’s rare that there are openings for a flight attendant job and when there is one, thousands and thousands of people apply at one time. Once selected to interview, you may be required to do 3-4 interviews (and that depends on the airlines and recruiters). For most airlines, the on-site interview will be about 8 hours long. Once you apply and if you are not selected, you have to wait another 6 months until you can interview again.
2. You cannot listen to everyone before your interview
There is a flight attendant group on Facebook called Flight Attendant Career Connections. On this private group’s page, you can get interview and training tips (plus more). While it is insanely cool to have this type of resource at your fingertips, you should not solely rely on that page for all of your sage advice. Even if you join the group, still do your own research on flight attending. Research the company and flight attendant information online, practice basic interview questions. Also, if you happen to know someone that’s a flight attendant, talk to them.
3. Always have more than one source of income, especially when you are new to the job
If you are quitting your current job to be a flight attendant, leave on a good note, and try to still work part-time for them if you can. When you first start out as a flight attendant, you may not get as many hours as you want so it’ll be good to have a second set of income. First year flight attendants have it rough. During your first year, you won’t make much money so it’ll be helpful to have a second or third gig.
4. Training will be the hardest thing in life
Training is hard. Many people say it’s the hardest thing they’ve ever done. One flight attendant felt that training is like the game of survivor, rushing a sorority with a touch of boot camp. Training moves so fast and you have to pass every test with a 90% or higher. Anything below is failing. You can only fail two tests and if you fail three times you’ll be sent home and you can’t apply again until 6 months later. Training is also 7 weeks long and you don’t get paid (remember the importance of a second source of income?).
5. Being a flight attendant can make you home/family/friend sick in the beginning
If you become a flight attendant, more than likely you will have to relocate to a new city. It can be rather difficult if you don’t have a support system in place to help you through your transitions during your first year. Living with family, if possible, during your first year is ideal.
6. In the beginning, it can be hard to date or maintain your relationships
You’re always traveling and at the start of your career, you are only home for a few days a month. This can sometimes make it hard to maintain relationships, especially if they are long distance.
7. Sometimes you will be “on call” and it’ll have its ups and downs
As a flight attendant, you’re “on call” like most other jobs and the airline will call you if you’re needed. It’s great because you may have extra days off to relax. On the other hand, however, you’re very limited to the things you can do for the day in case you’re needed for work. For example, sometimes flight attendants miss a lot of family events (i.e. holidays, graduations, summer vacations, etc.) because they are required to work during those times.
8. The comfort/service animal has no limitations
Emotional support animals, or comfort/service animals are animals that have been deemed as able to fly with their owners in-cabin. A letter from a licensed medical professional is usually needed, but these animals help flyers who suffer from anxiety, mental health disabilities, and are used to support the overall physical, mental, and/or cognitive condition of the passenger. What you might not know is that any animal can be considered a comfort animal, even pigs. When you are a flight attendant, you will see some of the most random animals on the plane.
9. It’ll be rare to work with the same people
Every flight attendant that I spoke with agreed that this was one of their favorite aspects of being a flight attendant. As a flight attendant, you will have the opportunity to increase your network at your company because on almost every flight you will work with someone you’ve never met or worked with before.
10. Your entire life will change.
As a flight attendant, you’ll have the opportunity to see the world. Maybe that means you are flying to Paris for two days for free or fly to Chicago for lunch just to come back home afterwards, or go to Miami for a few hours to lay out on the beach. The possibilities are limitless. Also, keep in mind the flight benefits are the best! You’ll be able to fly free (some locations aren’t free but the discount will ALWAYS be amazing).
Still interested? You can apply for flight attendant jobs below:
Are you a flight attendant? What are some things you wish you would’ve known? Drop a comment below and share your thoughts!