14 Essential Airline Cabin Crew Skills for Career Success
Updated December 2, 2022
When passengers on an airline feel comfortable and safe, that's largely due to the cabin crew and the skills they bring to their job every day. It may seem that they simply show passengers to their seats and provide refreshments, but there's more to being part of the cabin crew than customer service. There are also a number of specialized skills you need to be successful in this career.
In this article, we explore what these skills are, how you can develop them and how you can highlight them in your resume and interview.
Related: Learn About Being a Flight Attendant
What are airline cabin crew skills?
Airline cabin crew skills are the abilities or proficiencies you may need for a successful career as a member of an airline cabin crew. You might acquire these skills through training, experience or a combination of both. If you are interested in a career as an airline cabin crew member, you might need to include these skills on your resume since employers may require them. The more of these skills you have or can develop, the more you increase your chances of being offered work as part of an airline cabin crew.
Essential airline cabin crew skills
If you are interested in pursuing a career as a member of an airline cabin crew, these are some of the skills you may need:
Making sure airline passengers are comfortable and relaxed on a flight is one of the key responsibilities of the airline cabin crew. Your ability to present a friendly, amiable personality can help put passengers at ease. It may also help you appear approachable, such that passengers are more willing to ask you questions or let you know of needs they may have.
Assertiveness is the confidence to take control of a situation when necessary. You can use your assertiveness to manage challenging situations by making sure all passengers are compliant with the airline's standards of conduct. Appropriate use of assertiveness can also help other passengers feel safe by showing leadership and concern for everyone's well-being.
If you are to work effectively with the other members of your cabin crew, you need to have good communication skills. This includes being able to deliver timely and accurate information to your colleagues as well as present clear, factual information to the passengers when necessary. Having good communication skills also enables you to give good, understandable answers to passengers' questions and concerns.
4. Customer service
Customer service involves greeting customers, trying to meet their needs and doing what you can to make their experience enjoyable. When providing customer service as a member of an airline cabin crew, this may include answering passengers' questions, providing safety instruction to passengers and serving refreshments. Your ability to do this well not only helps create a good experience for the passengers, but also presents a favorable image of the airline to the passengers.
Working as part of an airline cabin crew, unexpected situations may arise before or during a flight. Changing weather conditions can mean a change of plans, from delaying the refreshments to altering the flight path. You might be working with a different cabin crew each flight, or you may work at the last minute to cover for a sick crew member. Being flexible and working with each situation as it occurs can help keep things running smoothly for both the cabin crew and the passengers.
6. Numerical ability
Your job may require you to perform some basic mathematics. This could include checking the number of passengers on the flight or managing financial transactions if passengers make in-flight purchases. You may also need to have an understanding of how to use exchange rates for calculating currency conversions.
7. Physical fitness
Being part of an airline cabin crew can be physically demanding. You are on your feet most of the day, tending to the needs of the passengers and performing other duties. You may need to help passengers stow their luggage in overhead compartments or assist with carrying baggage. It is important, therefore, that you are in good physical condition.
You may encounter new situations for which you are not prepared that require you to think quickly and come up with a solution. Good problem-solving skills can help you determine the best approach to managing each situation in a way that works well for everyone.
9. Relational ability
Good people skills are very important for airline cabin crew members. You are around people all day, whether passengers or fellow crew members. On each flight, there may be a variety of personalities to whom you need to communicate and make sure they are comfortable and their needs are met. It's also important that you relate well to the other cabin crew members.
Airlines often offer passengers in-flight products in the form of food and drink or duty-free items. It's normally the responsibility of the cabin crew to inform the passengers of these offerings and assist them with their purchases.
11. Stress management skills
As an airline cabin crew member, you have multiple responsibilities that often need your attention within a short period of time. You also need to be attentive to the passengers who can sometimes be uncooperative or demanding. If an emergency situation should arise, this may add to the stress you already feel. Your ability to stay calm and remain thoughtful and rational when you're under stress can not only help you do your job well, but also help you maintain good mental health.
12. Tact and diplomacy
There may be times when you have to manage difficult or sensitive situations with passengers. To maintain peace and order during the flight, you might have to use tact and diplomacy to negotiate these situations and bring the parties involved to a satisfactory resolution.
An airline cabin crew must work together as a team to accomplish all that needs to be done during the course of a flight. You should be willing to do your job as well as you can, communicate effectively and offer assistance to your coworkers when necessary. Doing this can help to keep everything running smoothly and maximize the passengers' enjoyment of the flight.
14. Time management
As an airline cabin crew member, it's important that you arrive at work on time so you can attend pre-flight briefings and be sure that the aircraft can depart according to schedule. There are also other time-sensitive aspects of your work that depend upon your ability to manage your schedule, such as delivering meals and preparing the aircraft for landing.
How to improve airline cabin crew skills
These are some ways you can improve your airline cabin crew skills:
1. Gain experience in customer service
A good way to learn or improve your customer service skills is to spend time working at a job that requires you to interact with and serve people. Examples of jobs like this include most retail positions, food service or at a reception desk, perhaps in a hotel.
2. Take classes in applicable skill areas
While you may not need a college degree to become an airline cabin crew member, there are classes you can take that can teach you the skills you need and enhance the skills you have. Your local community college or university might offer classes in communications, leadership, diplomacy, time management or a foreign language, for example.
3. Attend cabin crew training
You may be able to find training or apprenticeships specifically geared toward people wanting to work as part of an airline cabin crew. For example, the International Air Transport Association offers such training, teaching you about the profession and about the different types of aircraft in which you might work. You can also learn how to manage various situations with passengers along with safety and emergency procedures. Individual airlines may offer similar programs.
Airline cabin crew skills in the workplace
The following are some tips for using your airline cabin crew skills in the workplace:
Be a team player. Look for opportunities to help your coworkers after you have completed your assigned tasks. Your cooperation may help your coworkers do their work quicker and more efficiently and create a more pleasant and enjoyable work atmosphere for all of you.
Be the voice of reason. Your work environment can become stressful, especially if things happen that are unexpected. If you can remain calm and try to help everyone work through the situation, you might be able to prevent something that is merely annoying or inconvenient from escalating into a crisis.
Be on time. Keeping to a schedule can be a very useful skill, particularly when others depend upon you. This means arriving for your shift at the designated time, going to meetings you are expected to attend and completing your assigned tasks in a timely manner.
Be friendly. You can contribute to a healthy, enjoyable work environment by keeping a positive attitude and being pleasant to both your coworkers and your customers. Often, a friendly smile and a warm approach can encourage a similar response from others.
How to highlight airline cabin crew skills
Here are some ways you can highlight your airline cabin crew skills:
For cover letter and resume
When composing your cover letter and resume for an airline cabin crew position, consider work experience you may have that highlights your ability to communicate, work well with others and serve customers. You can use your cover letter and resume to give your potential employer the impression that you are neat and organized by the way you present and arrange your information. A well-written cover letter can also demonstrate your ability to communicate.
For job interview
As with any job interview, you should make a point of getting a good night's sleep the day before and arriving at the interview 10 to 15 minutes early. This demonstrates good time management and respect for schedules. During the interview, smile and make eye contact with the interviewer, answering questions as you might if you were addressing a passenger, demonstrating your customer service skills. If you are nervous or surprised by a question, try not to show it but maintain a calm and controlled demeanor. At the end of the interview, thank the interviewer and, if appropriate, shake hands firmly.
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