How to Become a Flight Attendant in South Africa

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South Africa operates many major airlines and is always in need of highly qualified flight attendants, or cabin attendants as they're commonly called. What you need to do to become a flight attendant is straightforward: apply to the airline that interests you, make sure you fulfill their basic requirements, and score an interview to start training. Once you've been admitted to a program, only half of your application process is done, because you have to pass a 4 to 6 week rigorous training program to become a licensed flight attendant.

Do research on the major airlines that hire flight attendants from South Africa. Decide whether you want to be based in South Africa, in which case you'd want to research flight attendant careers for South African based airlines. If you want to be overseas, research airlines that hire South African flight attendants, such as Emirates and Qatar airlines.

Go to your airline's website to learn the basic screening requirements for flight attendants. The South Africa-based Comair Limited, for example, requires that flight attendants be no taller than 1,6 m (5'11''), have South African nationality, and are at least 20 years old.

Note the educational and experience-related requirements for flight attendants in South Africa. For example, Conair requires its flight attendants to have at least two years of customer-service experience, as well as a grade 12 certificate (also called a matric).

Attend your job interview, if you have been selected for an interview. Expect to attend an interview session with as many as 200 other applicants. During your interview, you will complete not only an one-to-one interview with a recruiter but a group interview, during which you are evaluated for your interaction skills.

Wait for notification that you have been accepted into a flight attendant training program. If so, be proud of yourself because fewer than 10% of applicants are accepted into South African flight-attendant programs. Prepare to travel to your airline's flight training center to begin flight-attendant training.

Complete a rigorous, 4 to 6 week paid training program (known as a Safety & Emergencies Procedures program) at your airline's training center. Throughout this program, you will complete written exams as well as train on flights with a supervisor. You will be evaluated on your customer-service skills, first-aid skills, fire-fighting skills, swimming ability, and evacuation skills.

Receive your Civil Aviation Authorites (CAA) license after completing your program. You are now a licensed flight attendant and can start your career, albeit on a probationary basis (a 6 to 8 week period during which you will be evaluated by senior cabin-crew members).

Tip

If you haven't fulfilled the educational/experience-related prerequisites for flight attendants, work on attaining them before applying as a flight attendant. Flight-attendant jobs are highly competitive, and your chances of landing one are small if you don't have either a college education or customer-service experience. Your chances of becoming a flight attendant in South Africa are doubled if you have second-language, and even third-language, skills. In fact, it is extremely difficult for a South African applicant to become a flight attendant without conversation-level fluency in a second language.

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