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Flight attendants are employed by airlines to carry out a range of duties such as pre-flight safety demonstrations, conducting safety checks, attending to the needs of customers and enforcing safety regulations. Although the job of a flight attendant is often portrayed as glamorous occupation, there are both pros and cons to the job. Unsociable hours, plenty of travel and no set routine make it a dream job for some and unsuitable for others. Undertake a little research before submitting a job application to ensure it is the right career for you.
One of the biggest attractions for a life as a flight attendant is the opportunity to travel. This varies between different airlines depending upon the destinations they fly to and size of the airline. Flight attendants who work for large airlines such as American or Delta could expect to fly internationally with the chance to stop-over in foreign countries, with free time to explore. Smaller regional airlines such as Comair or ASA provide fewer opportunities to do so because of the destinations they cover. However, beginning work at a smaller airline initially may provide the skills and experience that larger airlines seek, improving your chances of securing work with an airline of choice in the future.
There is no standard working day in the life of a flight attendant. Flight attendants can start late at night or very early in the morning to reflect flight times. Part of the job also involves being “on call” or “standby,” where you may be called into work at any time over the course of a day or night. For those who like to spend several days away from home and then have several work-free days, the job of a flight attendant may be for you. It is not a suitable job for those who prefer a set routine with confirmed working hours.
Flight attendants are required to work in many varied working environments. With the role also comes a degree of responsibility and pressure. Flight attendants are the first point of call in an emergency, which could be anything from an extremely anxious passenger, a security issue on board the aircraft or a first aid scenario. Those who enjoy working under pressure and like no two days to be the same will revel in the job role.
There are rewards that come with working as a flight attendant, although these vary between airlines. Free air travel on standby flights or heavily subsidized airfare is commonplace at many airlines. In addition, discounts for family and friends, paid vacation days and health benefits often form part of an employee's terms of employment.
Based in Manchester, U.K., Natalie Baker has been a freelance beauty and fashion writer since 2009. Her work appears in the beauty pages of "The Detour Magazine" and online at Just Makeup Artists. Baker is experienced in both television and print journalism, and holds a Bachelor of Arts broadcast journalism from Salford University.