So you want to be a Flight Attendant?
Never in my life have I ever thought about doing what I do. I think it hit me when I quit my job that I was working at for three years to go and study abroad. When I came back from studying/living in Italy, all I had was wanderlust: a strong desire to travel. I remember sitting on the couch after being jobless for two months and I was talking to my mom about what my next move was. I had just finished up my last semester of college and was graduating in the summer. My mom was asking me what I wanted to do with my life and my response was to travel, and she was like, "why not be a flight attendant?" and after earning a bachelor's degree I was like, "really, mom?" with that annoying attitude that us quarter-life crisis people have. Anyway, homegirl went upstairs to bed and I pulled out my laptop and looked up what being a flight attendant was like. I applied that night to an airline and was hired within the next week. I guess you could say it was meant to be. One year and seven months later, here I am. I'll tell you all about it.
This Isn't Your Normal Job
I'm starting off with this because I wish I knew what I was really getting myself into before I started. I'm going to break this down for you baby.
- When you're hired, you are given a "seniority number" based on the date that you got hired and your birthday/age in your class. Example) I got hired with a seniority number of 21,800. At my airline at the time there were 22,000 flight attendants. So that means I'm very junior and only senior to 200 other flight attendants. Seniority is a big deal because the lower the number, over time, you can hold certain trips, layovers, which airplanes you prefer to work on, days off, vacation, ect. When you're junior, your schedule kind of sucks because you can't always get the trips that you want or they're trips that no one wants. Don't worry, it's easy to swap or drop your trips or different trips! Sometimes you'll get the very best trip on your line and you'll have a senior mama ask you, "how'd you get this trip?" and you can respond with any sass you want.
- When you get hired they ask if you're willing to work all holiday's or get flown into your days off. Being junior means that you most likely will work every holiday there is unless you can move your trips around. I'm all about holiday pay "a dolla makes me holla honey boo boo child" so that really isn't a problem. My family knows I'm busy and I will always try and see them as soon as possible.
- You're going to get sick. Those first six months to a year you'll be introduced to so many germs, bacteria, and every kind of smell you haven't smelt yet. I know it's gross. Your immune system will catch up and get stronger. Advice: wash your hands with warm water and soap as throughly as possible, hold your breath for five seconds when someone sneezes or coughs, take vitamins, carry Emergen-C, and drink plenty of water!
- If you hold a line right after training, that's so awesome! It means you get a real schedule. If you don't it means you're always on call. Luckily for my airline we only have six on-call days a month where we need to be at the airport within two hours of being called in. Being on call can be great because sometimes you can get called into an international trip or work a trip that you preferenced. The downside, you're worrying throughout the day because you aren't sure whether or not they'll call you. You always have to be available and have your phone on. If you miss a call, you have 20 minutes to respond back.
- You choose how much you want to work and how much you don't. During the summer I like to fly high hours and make that money, honey. During the winter, I'll drop a lot of trip and relax at home more and take vacations whenever I can. It's great when you need to save for something or pay off something because you can always pick up an extra trip.
- Luggage can get expensive when you start out so don't be a cheap-o and settle for something you found at Marshall's. Get something that will last. Tumi and Brigg's and Riley are amazing luggage companies who make quality products at a luxury cost --but their warranties make up for it. Personally I use a LuggageWorks Stealth Air 22" , still expensive, but worth every penny and will last me a lifetime. Costco also has good deals in their travel section and if anything every happens to it, it's always replaceable or returnable.
- Crash pads are a place like a dorm or hostel, where there's bunkbeds and a place to sleep at if you aren't living at your base. These places are for people who commute to their work. Crash pads can vary from $100-350 a month for your bed; normally have washer/dryer, wifi, kitchens, fridges, ect. I hope you don't mind sharing your space. I don't know much else because I've never stayed in one. I was not about that commuting life. Hot Beds are similar to crash pads but that bed isn't yours; you share it with someone else and it's normally around $50 a night.
Disclaimer: Every airline is different so please take that into consideration. Also, for the security of my career I will not mention which airline I work at. I am in no way affiliating myself with my airline nor do I consider myself an ambassador.
If I remember correctly, for my airline, you apply as an inquiry or series of surveys and based on those results, the company will send you an application. Okay, now you're onto the real deal. Make sure your application is as accurate as possible. The background check is rigorous and they go through every detail --including contacting your references and previous employers. If you've cleared this step, holla at yo boy. Just kidding. Next, you'll most likely receive a phone call or email saying that your application has been processed and you're onto the video interview. This is an interview where you need to dress up from the top up. I wore a suit and tie and had on pajama bottoms. They'll ask you a series of questions just like any job interview. Look up how to answer in STAR format. This is essential. Now that you've passed the video interview, you'll have a phone interview. If you pass the phone interview they'll invite you to their headquarters for a group interview. Depending on your airline, they'll pay and book your flight for the interview but you must pay for your own hotel. I think mine was $75 for the night using the airline's discount. This is the "make it or break it" part. The group interview is intimidating because you're competing with 50+ people in your group for the position; it's an early morning and long day so make sure you have food in your stomach. Listen carefully at the questions that they are asking you. I cannot stress this enough. Example) Do you speak any other languages than English? If so, only state your fluency. People would say "I just speak English but a little bit of Spanish and French." I died inside listening to their answers. They specifically asked you not to say anything if you weren't fluent in that language. The key is to listen, because part of this job is being as detail oriented as possible. They want to know how well you can take directions or pay attention. Don't be afraid to ask questions, its good to be engaging or seem interested. When interviews are done they'll ask everyone to gather around and call names to those who have made it or those who haven't. I can't give all the secrets away, each interview is different and things change. If you get the job, congratulations! The job offer is still conditional until you pass through training. If you make it all the way through and earn your wings, I hope to see you in the sky one day.
Feel free to shoot me a message, comment below, or email me for further questions or inquires.