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Air Cabin Crew

The role

An Air Cabin Crew member, or flight attendant, works in an aeroplane to make a flight safe and comfortable for passengers of the airline they work for.

The duties of a flight attendant include attending a pre-flight briefing, ensuring that a plane is fully stocked before take-off and that safety equipment is working, and welcoming passengers onboard and showing them their seats. They will then demonstrate emergency procedures and the use of the lifejackets.

Once in the air, they serve food and drink at scheduled times, sell duty-free goods from a trolley, respond to passenger requests and make announcements on the plane. If caught up in an emergency, they look after passengers and ensure that everyone follows safety procedures.

They will then oversee passengers leaving the plane with their hand luggage, file a report of the flight, and record the food and drink orders and duty-free sales.


How to become an Air Cabin Crew member

Different airlines have different entry requirements. Physically, they often have height and weight requirements, alongside stamina, good eyesight, and no visible tattoos or piercings. Candidates must also be able to swim 25 metres.

Academically, grade requirements vary between companies again, although GCSEs are usually expected, including maths and English in grades A to C. A passport that allows worldwide travel is needed.

Flight attendants are also 18 or over.

Ability to speak a second language can be helpful, along with experience in customer service, tourism, hotels, catering or nursing.

While airlines provide all training for staff members once they’ve been recruited, there are a number of college courses that give some initial training and preparation for a career as a flight attendant, including the following:

  • BTEC Level 2 Certificate in Preparation for Air Cabin Crew Service
  • City & Guilds Level 2 Certificate/Diploma in Air Cabin Crew (New Entrants)
  • NCFE Level 2 Certificate for Airline Cabin Crew.
  • EMTA Awards (EAL) Certificate in Air Cabin Crewing Level 2


Jobs can be found online, in newspapers, or by direct contact with airlines.

Skills and knowledge required

  • Good people skills, including the capacity for teamwork and the ability to calm nervous or upset flyers
  • Stamina – work can be very demanding with a lot of time spent on your feet
  • Good communication skills and the ability to speak publicly
  • The ability to handle pressurised situations and emergencies
  • Maths skills for dealing with money in foreign currencies



Starting salaries can be around the £12,000 to £14,000 mark, which rises to between £15,000 and £21,000 a year with experience. Senior members of crew earn around £25,000 a year.

Salaries can be boosted through overtime and flight allowances.

The hours

The hours of a flight attendant are based on shift work that includes night shifts and working during weekends and bank holidays. Time can be spent away from home, depending on flight routes and the aircraft turnaround time.

Useful websites - International Air Transport Association - Royal Aeronautical Society - Edexcel - City and Guilds - NCFE - EMTA Awards Ltd

online magazines