How Much Does The Average 6 Month Old Girl Weigh So You Want to Become a Flight Attendant!

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So You Want to Become a Flight Attendant!

So you want to become a flight attendant. Or, more specifically, you think you want to become a flight attendant. Most aspiring flight attendants are eager to jump straight into the application process without thoroughly researching the career. Here’s a look at what to expect.

then and now

United Airlines was the first commercial airline to hire a female flight attendant in 1930; her name was Ellen Church. She and seven other single women were the “original eight” hostesses. Its main function was to provide comfort to the traveling public. The minimum qualifications were such that applicants had to be single, registered nurses. Marriage, pregnancy or weight gain meant instant termination of employment and most hostesses were forced to leave the profession at age 32 due to “old age”.

Thanks in large part to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, airlines can no longer discriminate based on race, sex, age, or marital status. This legislation helped transform work from a short-term endeavor, strictly for single and young women, to a long-term career option for virtually anyone.

In the 1970s and 1980s, there was a large influx of men into the industry, creating the need for a non-gender specific term to describe the position. Hence, the term flight attendant was born.

Today, there are approximately 100,000 flight attendants in the United States; 70% are women and 30% are men (this gender gap is closing, however, and it’s not uncommon to see all-male crew on certain flights). The average age is 25 to 35 years and 50% are married. More than a third have a college degree (although only a high school diploma is required); Common majors include Communications, French, Spanish and Geography. Average pay is around $16,000 in the first year and up to $50,000 after 14 to 15 years. The turnover rate is high (especially among new hires), but job satisfaction is equally high among those who manage to survive the first year. The average seniority is 10 years.

Successful flight attendants are described as friendly, outgoing, patient, flexible, reliable and punctual (zero tolerance for lateness) and unsuccessful flight attendants as aggressive, temperamental, impatient and inflexible. Typical concerns include job security (“Is my airline going to downsize or go out of business?”), long hours, and low pay.

Perception versus reality

When you see a flight attendant walking through an airport terminal, what is your perception? Can you imagine someone who serves drinks, chats with friendly passengers and enjoys frequent layovers in exotic cities?

Historically, the public perception of the career has not matched the reality of the job. Today’s flight attendant is very different from the stereotypical flight attendant portrayed in movies and on television. To some extent, some of these myths were born from the “old days” when flight attendants were elegant nurses who worked on spacious planes with relatively few passengers. In 1978, however, airline deregulation changed everything. The government no longer controlled fares and route structures as it had in the past. This created bidding wars and turned airlines into cost-cutting machines. Today, it’s nothing more than a numbers game where more passengers equals more revenue. The result: planes are now overcrowded, creating cramped conditions and a hostile passenger culture. This leaves flight attendants in a rather unenviable position.

These are just some of the not-so-glamorous aspects of the job. As a flight attendant, you must:

  • It takes between 4-7 weeks of typically unpaid initial training, part of which takes place at nights and weekends.
  • Purchase a uniform costing approximately $1,000 (automatic bi-monthly payroll deductions are available to help ease this financial burden).
  • Pass a 6 to 12 month probationary period during which you will be under scrutiny and
  • required to report to work at any time.
  • Demonstrate remarkable strength and agility (eg, move a 200+ pound beverage cart through narrow aisles or lift heavy suitcases over the heads of passengers in tightly packed overhead compartments).
  • Be courteous and professional despite the sometimes abusive behavior of passengers.
  • React quickly to stressful in-flight medical emergencies.
  • Support from time to time violent air turbulence (sometimes without a seat belt if it helps the passengers).
  • Experience short periods away from home (usually 1-3 nights at a time).
  • Work long hours (up to 16 hours a day; no more than 8 hours in flight).
  • You work many weekends and holidays throughout your career when most of your friends and family have days off.
  • Attend the mandatory annual recurrent training.
  • Occasionally work in the presence of prisoners who are escorted by armed guards to court trials or prisons in other cities.

For kind, outgoing and patient people who can tolerate these negative aspects of the job, a flight attendant career can be very rewarding. Flight attendants work hard, but they also enjoy many great benefits. For example, as a flight attendant, you get:

  • A large amount of time off (13-17 days off per month; roughly 6 months off per year!), up to 10 days at a time.
  • Free or reduced-cost travel benefits for you and your immediate family, including air travel, lodging, car rentals, and cruises.
  • A lucrative benefits package, often including life and health insurance, credit union membership, employee stock options and a 401(k) retirement plan.
  • Unparalleled Variety – Forget the predictability of 9-5 cube life!
  • Maximum scheduling flexibility – don’t be limited to free weekends like the rest of the world!
  • The opportunity to see the world.
  • The opportunity to meet new people, including many celebrities.
  • independence
  • Responsibility
  • A sense of pride and accomplishment (especially when you help an unaccompanied minor or disabled passenger reach their destination safely).

The number 1 priority: passenger safety

Many people have lost sight of the fact that flight attendants are on board an airplane for one main reason: passenger safety. Did you know that every flight attendant crew in the US is capable of completing an entire passenger evacuation in less than 90 seconds? (every new hire must achieve this feat during initial training). In addition, flight attendants are required by law to be fully trained in safety for each type of aircraft in an airline’s fleet.

In fact, flight attendants are much more than waitresses in the sky. Flight attendants know how to manage and prepare hundreds of passengers and crew in the event of catastrophic events, such as hijackings and land or sea disasters. They know how to fight fires, operate and troubleshoot the oxygen system, open emergency exits, attend to the sick, detain unruly passengers, even administer first aid and administer CPR.

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