Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Air Cabin Crew

An air cabin crew team help to make sure that airline passengers have a comfortable, safe and pleasant flight. As an air cabin crew member, you need to be flexible to people’s individual needs and cultures, and have a polite but firm approach with customers.
You will need excellent communication and organisational skills for this role. Being able to work well in a team is also really important. If you like meeting different people every day, and you enjoy travelling, this job could be ideal for you.
You will usually need to have a good standard of maths and English for this role. Experience in a customer service role can also be useful. Entry requirements can vary between airlines, so check with them directly.

Work activities
As part of the air cabin crew, you will meet new passengers every day who are travelling for business or leisure. You day-to-day work will vary, but there will be some tasks that you will always be responsible for.
Before a flight you will:
  • Go to a meeting about the flight and its schedule so that you know where it’s going, when it’s leaving and who’s on it
  • Check that there are enough supplies on the plane and that emergency equipment is working properly
  • Greet passengers and direct them to their seats
  • demonstrate emergency equipment and procedures to passengers.
During a flight you will:
  • make sure that passengers are comfortable and deal with any requests
  • serve food and drinks, and sell duty-free items
  • make announcements on behalf of the pilot
  • reassure passengers in the event of an emergency, and make sure that they follow safety procedures.
At the end of a flight you will:
  • make sure that passengers leave the plane safely and with all their hand luggage
  • write a flight report, including about any unusual incidents
  • add up and record food and drink orders, and duty-free sales.
Between flights, you may have some spare time to relax and explore the destination you have flown to. ​

Working hours and environment
You will work shifts that include weekends, nights and public holidays. The amount of time you will spend away from home will depend on the flight routes that you choose to work on.
Some airlines will expect you to live within one hour’s travelling time of their base. You will be expected to be neat and smart, and your airline will provide you with a uniform.
The work can be physically demanding, as you will spend a lot of time on your feet and work in small spaces like the kitchen galley.
You will need to be comfortable flying in all weather, as bad weather could make it uncomfortable in the aircraft, and passengers will be looking to you to reassure them.

Entry Requirements
To get started in this role, you will usually need a good standard of education, including GCSEs (grades A-C) in maths and English, or equivalent qualifications. Previous experience in a customer service role will also be useful.
Entry requirements will vary between airlines, so check with the airline you want to work for first, but as a general guide you will usually also need:
  • a good level of fitness and colour-normal vision
  • a smart appearance
  • the ability to swim well
  • a valid passport with no restrictions for the countries the airline travels to.
You must be over 18 to work as an air cabin crew member, although some airlines set the minimum entry age at 21. There are also rules around height and weight, although this will vary between airlines, so check with them. As a general guide, many look for people between 5ft2in (157cm) and 6ft2in (188cm).
Airlines do not usually want their cabin crew to have any visible tattoos or body piercings.
Some airlines look for air cabin crew who can speak a second language and this is usually essential if you want to be based in an overseas location.
Airlines often use a mixture of group and individual tests and interviews for recruiting staff.

Training and development
Once you start work, you would be given basic training lasting between three and seven weeks. You will usually cover:
  • security, customs and immigration regulations
  • safety and emergency procedures
  • first aid
  • customer relations and passenger care
  • currency exchange
  • food preparation and service, and galley management
  • uniform standards (appearance).
After this you would normally have a trial period of three to six months. During this time your performance would be checked by trainers or senior crew members. You would have to pass regular exams to test your knowledge of safety and emergency procedures, and to make sure you meet official first aid requirements.
You may also be encouraged to work towards a qualification, for example:
  • Level 1 Certificate for Air Cabin Crew
  • Level 2 Certificate in Senior Cabin Crew
  • Level 3 Diploma in Aviation Operations.
Skills, interests and qualities
To become an air cabin crew member, you will need:
excellent communication skills
a confident and friendly manner
a clear speaking voice
tact and discretion
a polite but firm approach when dealing with difficult customers
good team-working skills
the ability to be calm under pressure and decisive in emergencies
sensitivity towards people who are anxious or upset
good maths skills for handling cash, including foreign currency.

There can be a lot of competition for a place with an airline, but once you’re part of the team there is often the chance for promotion with training and experience. You might be able to move to a cabin crew supervisor or senior air cabin crew role. Or you may decide that you want to work in ground-based role such as cabin crew training, or recruitment or passenger services..
For practical reasons you will usually need to live within an hour's travelling time of the airport where you are based..