Careers: Air Cabin Crew

The ultimate responsibility of Air Cabin Crew is to ensure the safety, comfort and satisfaction of passengers during long- or short-haul flights.  Prior to the embarkation of the passengers, they are required to clean the cabin and ensure that all safety equipment is fully operational.  They then meet and greet the passengers as they board the plane and direct them to their seats, including assisting any passenger with special requirements and helping with storage of luggage if necessary.  They will then provide a presentation of the procedures and equipment required in the event of an emergency.

For the duration of the flight, Air Cabin Crew serve food and drink, sell duty free products and resolve any problems or queries that may arise.  They also provide an appropriate response to any emergency situations including reassuring passengers, coping with cabin fires and administering first aid.  On landing, the Air Cabin Crew is involved in the completion of flight reports including details of any incidents that may have occurred.

The nature of the role means that Air Cabin Crew may be away from home for significant periods of time depending on whether they are employed on long- or short-haul flights.  Hours worked can be unsociable and, due to the schedule being dictated by the weather, often unpredictable.  It is a highly customer-focused role requiring the ability to remain calm under pressure and to deal tactfully with people in what can be a stressful and demanding environment. 

Entry requirements

A good standard of secondary education is sufficient for entry as Air Cabin Crew and most airlines provide a comprehensive training programme that may last up to six weeks.  It is also common to have to take regular training on updated safety and emergency procedures.  Knowledge of a foreign language is a desirable, and often essential, requirement of some airlines.  Personal appearance is important for employment as Air Cabin Crew as is physical fitness and the ability to swim.  Many airlines also do not accept visible tattoos or body piercings. 

Progression opportunities

Vacancies for Air Cabin Crew are fiercely contested particularly for the major airlines including British Airways, Virgin, British Midland, easyJet and Ryanair.  Salary is relatively poor even at senior level and there is little opportunity for progression, although it may be possible to transfer to a land-based role within the airline. 

Many people are attracted to employment as Air Cabin Crew by the opportunity to travel and experience new countries.  However, it is important to remember that the work involved can actually be extremely pressurised and demanding and that only on long-haul flights do you get any significant exposure to the countries you travel to.

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