Flight Attendant Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

A Flight Attendant, or Cabin Attendant, ensures passengers are safe and comfortable during a flight. Their main duties include performing safety checks before flights take off, offering food and beverages to passengers and demonstrating emergency procedures like putting on oxygen masks, buckling seat belts and using exit doors.

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Flight Attendant duties and responsibilities

Flight Attendants are primarily responsible for keeping all passengers safe and ensuring that the cabin crew is capable of performing their duties properly. They must also try to make flights as comfortable and stress-free as possible for passengers in order to promote a positive image of the airline. Flight Attendant responsibilities include:

  • Demonstrating the use of emergency and safety equipment
  • Serving beverages, meals and snacks
  • Providing additional assistance to passengers with special needs
  • Reassuring passengers during aircraft turbulence
  • Administering first aid and medical care if required in the case of an emergency
  • Providing instruction, including emergency evacuation procedures, to passengers

What does a Flight Attendant do?

Flight Attendants work on commercial and private airlines tending to passengers’ needs and answering any questions they have throughout the flight. They help passengers find their seats and conduct pre-flight checks to ensure the cabin is ready for takeoff. During the flight, they’ll monitor the plane for suspicious behaviors and will deescalate any disruptive situations. 

They’re highly trained to respond to emergency situations and will direct passengers to evacuation areas and perform CPR or First Aid practices if needed. If any medical or safety issues occur on the flight, the Flight Attendant will report this to their supervisor.

Flight Attendant skills and qualifications

Flight Attendant applicants need to be at least 18 years old, have a valid passport and be eligible to work in the U.S. They may need to conform to height and vision requirements set by the airline. Flight Attendants may also have to pass a medical evaluation as well as complete a background and drug test. A job description for a Flight Attendant should contain the following skills and qualifications:

  • Attentiveness: In addition to being attentive to passenger needs, a Flight Attendant needs to be aware of any safety or security risks during the flight.
  • Communication skills: A Flight Attendant needs to be an excellent communicator and an attentive listener.
  • Customer-service skills: A Flight Attendant needs to be able to handle stressful situations with tact and resourcefulness.
  • Decision-making skills: A Flight Attendant must be able to make important decisions quickly in case of emergencies.
  • Physical stamina: A Flight Attendant needs to be able to carry, push and pull service items, open and close overhead bins and walk and stand for significant periods of time.

Flight Attendant salary expectations

Salary expectations for a Flight Attendant can range from $7.25 to $41.65 per hour with an average salary of $16.88 per hour. This information is based on 258 anonymously submitted salaries to Indeed from employees and users along with past and present Flight Attendant job postings on Indeed within the last 36 months.

Flight Attendant education and training requirements

Flight Attendants typically need at least one to two years of experience working in the service industry before obtaining employment as a Flight Attendant. This experience may include consumer-facing positions in restaurants, hotels, resorts and sales.

Airlines provide initial training to new Flight Attendants, and this training period can range from three to six weeks. Flight Attendant training, which is required for FAA certification, typically occurs at the airline’s flight training center. Once a new Flight Attendant successfully completes the initial training, they receive the FAA Certificate of Demonstrated Proficiency. Additional training may be required by the employer.

Flight Attendant experience requirements

Career advancement for Flight Attendants is based on seniority. Senior Flight Attendants may be promoted to management positions, and they are typically responsible for scheduling, instructing and recruiting new Flight Attendants.

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Frequently asked questions about Flight Attendants

 

Who does a Flight Attendant report to?

Flight Attendants usually have a Flight Attendant Coordinator who supervises their entire team and ensures the employees are following the proper flight guidelines and policies. If Flight Attendants have any comments or concerns about their role, they’ll speak with the Flight Attendant Coordinator, who will work to resolve the issue. During the flight, the Flight Attendant must report to and follow instructions from the Pilot to ensure a safe and comfortable flight for everyone.  

 

What makes a good Flight Attendant?

A good Flight Attendant must be a quick critical thinker and problem solver, as unexpected occurrences regularly happen on flights, so they must be fast at making logical decisions. They should also have great customer service and communication skills to regularly collaborate with other crew members and passengers. An impressive candidate is fluent in multiple languages, especially if they plan to work on any international airlines. 

 

What settings do Flight Attendants typically work in?

Flight Attendants often spend the entirety of their job on an airplane traveling to various regions, states or even countries. If a Flight Attendant works domestically, they’ll often travel to different states around the country and should be willing to work non-traditional hours during both night and daytime shifts, along with holidays or weekends. Flight Attendants who serve on international airlines may work over 12 hours at a time since they remain on duty throughout the entire flight. 

 

What types of airlines can Flight Attendants work for?

The two main types of airlines Flight Attendants may work for are commercial and private airlines. Commercial Flight Attendants work on larger airlines providing assistance to coach, economy plus and sometimes first-class passengers all at once. They often perform common Flight Attendant duties, like assisting with stowing carry-on luggage, ensuring all passengers are safe and comfortable during the flight and responding to any immediate medical or safety issues that happen on a flight. 

Corporate or Private Flight Attendants work primarily in first-class or on private jets, usually serving a smaller amount of people than on commercial flights. They work to provide a five-star quality service for passengers by ordering catering and preparing menus for guests, decorating the cabin with floral arrangements and other visually appealing decor and stocking the cabin with unique amenities.

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