Hello everybody! If this is your first post that you are reading on my website, you might not know me very well yet. Let’s change that! I am so glad you are here, my name is Justyna and I have been a flight attendant aka cabin crew for 2 years now. Actually, not sure if we should count 2020 as my travelling year, as from March 2020 till February 2021 I have been on furlough from obvious reasons. Not that if I would be at work, I’d fly much, as number of flights have been significantly reduced…Anyway! I am super happy to be back at work. Previous year was exhausting mentally, because if you are travel addicted, and your job is very much so connected to it – you will feel lack of it even more.
Now I am up and running again, and therefore I’d like to answer some of your questions about my job and my lifestyle. I selected 10 questions that were repeatedly asked by you, so here we go!
What are the requirements to become a flight attendant?
One could write a book about it all! I’ll try to be as thorough but quick in explaining as much as possible.
So firstly, to get to the point where the company will be ‘choosing you’ amongst other candidates, you need to usually undergo an online assessment.
***At this point actually I will do a disclaimer, that every single airline has different ways of recruiting potential candidates, and it’s impossible to write one guide for all. It’s just not one size fits all kind of things. What I am going to do is, I am going to describe how my airline recruits. End of announcement:) ***
Online assessment I remember consisted of mathematical, language and understanding chapters, and if successful you were contacted via email by recruitment team who invited you for real life assessment in person in their headquarters.
You are one of those lucky people who got invited. Now what? What are the criteria that you need to meet? You obviously have to be at least 18, and have height of minimum 1.57 metres. And actually I have never known that there is also maximum height, only found out about it couple weeks ago when I’ve heard a story from my friend! Who was too tall to be offered cabin crew role. She was I believe 1.90 metres high.
Moreover you have to be able to reach up to 2.01 metres above (safety reasons but also to be able to shut the overhead lockers!).
If you are applying for job in United Kingdom, and working for any British Airline, you obviously have to speak excellent English and also write in this language too. Something obvious, but now after Brexit, even more important is to have a right to live and work in country that you are applying for job in.
My employer wishes to see grades as well. For British people it’s GCSE (minimum that you need to have) from 3 subjects at level C. I didn’t have GCSE – I had Polish equivalent of A-Levels. It was accepted too, but I had to translate it and had both original and translated copy with me on the Real Assessment day. (Yes they were checking it).
Important thing that will literally make your job possible is having a passport. It has to be valid for at least 12 months when applying, plus you have to be able to apply for US Visa (it is mandatory).
And you need to provide your future employer with satisfactory checks (your past employment) plus criminal record check, all for the past 5 years. To not get you discouraged, but letting you know how does that work in reality, company that was hired to do my past checks, they absolutely weren’t in rush. It took them 8 months to complete it. 8 MONTHS! From the moment I was told I got the job to the moment I actually started working it passed 8 months. It just takes time. For every person it might be different, but expect to wait, and don’t quit your previous job as soon as you will be accepted as cabin crew. Because it’s not as easy as other jobs. You need to be cleared, so you can get airport pass which gives you access to sensitive areas.
What is cabin crew training about?
If I had one task – to describe my most stressful time in my life, I would definitely write about my first month as a cabin crew. Well, even before that! Because to become a licensed flight attendant you need to graduate intense, 3 or 4 weeks training. Yes, you can fail! It’s not given they will allow you to take exams multiple times. Actually you have just 3 possibilities of not passing the exam/task/exercise. In order to be successful you need at least 80% correct answers.
Now you know the structure of the training, let’s focus now on what are you going to be educated on by instructors. Obviously there are going to be introductions to all the subjects you are going to partake on, but surely you will start from learning all about the aircrafts you are going to be operating on. And for each aircraft there is going to be separate exam. Also, you will have day dedicated just to customer service, and service in general (the flow, do’s and don’ts).
Flight attendants are not there just for your comfort but mostly because we care for your safety. We get rigorous training on how to deliver a baby, first aid, how to recognize diseases or symptoms, and how to help you. Moreover we are your firemen, knowing all about fires, their types and how to stop them. We are trained on how to act and go through with evacuations, both planned and unplanned. We are there for you.
Oh! I almost forgot! To be completely honest with you I am not entirely sure which week of training (or maybe it was even before training) we had to undergo swimming test. You have to pass that too, in order to be able to even start proper airline training.
What kind of experience I had to have in order to be chosen for cabin crew role?
In the job description it doesn’t say what you should do or what roles you are supposed to take, in order to become a successful flight attendant. Company does say (and probably any other airline too), that customer service and knowledge of how to deal with many situations and people – is essential in this job. I fully agree.
To give you an idea, during real life assessment day, I had interview with 2 company representatives. They have asked me multiple questions, however the ones connected to experience and previous jobs were the most important. For example like:
-Did you have stressful confrontation with customer/passenger, what was it and how did you deal with it?
-Tell us a time when you had worked with your team and you all achieved common goal?
-Please tell us about the time when you did go ‘the extra mile’ for customer
and many many more…
Maybe you don’t need to have a customer service experience. Not sure. However you need to be able to answer questions, and show the recruiters that you are a people person, dealt with stress and can be held accountable and part of the team. Because that’s it in the end of the day – you and your fellow crew on a flight are family with common goal.
Why did I apply to be cabin crew?
My answer to this question might be your cheat sheet for your interview, as you can be 100% sure that the recruiters are going to ask you exactly same question!
The most obvious answer you can tell is that you love travelling. But who doesn’t?! You can say that though of course. I said it. Travel is written in my veins. I’ve watched thousands of travel documentaries, movies…read travel books and hey, even guides! Sometimes I even took a walk on google maps of the places that you could see with street view. If you haven’t tried it – do it, because it’s an amazing experience! It’s certainly not the real thing, but in 2021 you gotta work with what you have!
The natural consequence of travelling is meeting and getting to know new cultures, traditions and people. People are the best part of my job. I mean it. They can ‘make or break’ your trip. They are there to support you, as much as you are there for them. Don’t take it for granted.
I suppose this answer wasn’t much different to all the people who have been asked the same. What I did underline though, that I didn’t have much opportunities in travel when I was younger. In fact, my first flight was to UK when I was 21 and moving here. Not so long ago! I do appreciate being able to travel this way, and how far (but close at the same time) is my family that is back in Poland.
Do cabin crew have to pay for the hotels?
No, we do not have to pay for the hotels. Stay in the hotels when on duty is included in your contract. The only thing you need to take into consideration is food, because company doesn’t cover it for you. Therefore I am taking famous crew porridge all around the world as my breakfast 😀
We do get ‘allowance’ pay, but that’s usually £10 for the night you are abroad somewhere. Of course it won’t cover breakfast, lunch and dinner during 3 day trip to New York – so we have to plan and pack food accordingly.
Do you eat the same food as passengers?
It’s actually very interesting question I must admit! If I wasn’t flight attendant myself, I’d be interested to know it too.
The answer is YES. We sometimes eat the same meals as passengers. Planes should also be loaded with crew meals for us. But you know what? To be honest with you, lots of routes have the same meals, so if you are doing same hours) aka day/night flights – you get similar options. If you are vegetarian or vegan, options are limited so you always have to have your own meal. And that’s what I usually do, I am taking my own food with me. Even though I have a possibility of eating onboard. I just like knowing what I eat, and have a little bit of variety.
Do you get lonely on layovers?
Cute question actually. Maybe to make my answer more understandable I will start from saying I am an happy introvert. Therefore being alone for me is not a problem. I enjoy some time alone, and layovers are not usually that long (between 24-48 hours). That’s perfect amount of time to get enough sleep, take care of yourself (exercises, running, yoga etc.), and do some walk around or sightseeing whenever possible.
Plus you are not alone alone. You are there with your crew, who usually is up and doing something. If you need somebody to talk to – just send them a message! Depending on time away from home and needs of the crew – usually we are creating WhatsApp groups so everybody can feel free to message, ask or tell about their plans.
How do you deal with flying and having a puppy?
Somehow haha. I wouldn’t get Pancho, my puppy, if I was living alone and working full time as flight attendant that’s for sure. Last year, I have been furloughed since April, and the decision about getting a puppy was easier, because I was home all the time. We got him in June, and till this February, he always had somebody with him, which is good and bad I suppose. He got used to people’s company, and only now, he is staying home alone more than usual (when I am away), but still under the care of my second half. I miss him so much anyways!, whenever I am flying! It’s such a beautiful moment when I am coming back, and our puppy just loves greeting and welcoming me. That is pure happiness for me! 🥺💕
Do you have to speak another language to be a cabin crew?
Short answer – no. But if you want to stand out, and increase your chances of being offered flight attendant job, it is beneficial to know other languages. Probably most of the airlines have their employees name badges showcasing what language they’re speaking. It shows as flags, so my name badge has Polish flag, as this is my first language. English is a given of course, you have to speak it so name badge doesn’t show English. If you for example would like French or Spanish or Italian flag, you need to speak those countries language fluent enough, so you could translate and take part in medical action (in that language translating).
What is my favorite destination?
There are couple that are in my heart. I love them so much, and I just can’t pick one that is on TOP. But 3 the best, most beautiful destinations for me are: Cape Town (South Africa), Singapore and Chile.
Cape Town is and always will be in my heart. Period. I love it because it has everything one might fancy: Beaches? ✅ Mountains? ✅ Vineyards? ✅ Harbour? ✅ Penguins? ✅ It ticks all of my boxes! Plus it’s so warm there even in winter.
Singapore. 12-13 hours flight from London. It’s quite exhausting journey, but so worth it! I had a pleasure/lack/privilege to be there 3 times. Every time we were going Singapore it was trip connected with going to Sydney and back (it took 9 days in total). I have always ventured out to see the city (sometimes even by myself, if other people didn’t want to go sightseeing). It’s always hot (33 degrees) but I feel like that’s my kind of temperature level – that I enjoy.
Chile. I actually wrote a full post about thing you can see or do when you are in Santiago – CLICK HERE TO READ. Again, I love the temperature, although it was early Spring, it was quite warm (as you can tell by the image down below). You can spend the day in the city, but also you can venture out (I strongly recommend getting a tour guide if you’d like to do so). There are so many things to choose from (have a bath in hot springs, go riding horses, try some local wines..etc.)
That’s all my dear readers! 10 most asked questions about my cabin crew job! Of course if you would like to know more, please do ask me via email or on my Instagram!
Thank you so much for your time and see you soon!