What the Recruiter won’t tell you about Flight Attendant Job?

There are many guidelines out there nowadays to instruct the flight attendant candidate in how to apply for an airline job. But few will tell you some of the underlying truths about why some do not get hired.

Many variables enter into the recruitment equation. It is not only a matter of how well you answer questions or how classy the clothes you wear to the interview. True professionalism requires forethought, planning and basic common sense. In order to project a refined appearance, it is important to remember the “little things” that can keep you apart from the rest and hold you back in your pursuit of your goal.

Aside from the usual requirements, there are things that you need to know about flight attendant interviews that no one will tell you. It is acceptable to apply if you have less than perfect vision or a little bit of an overbite, but if your teeth are exceptionally crooked, yellow or out of alignment, this is may be looked upon unfavorably.

Airlines consider the flight attendant to be along the front lines in conveying the corporate image. There is nothing that is more of a turn-off than someone who is very obviously in need of dental care, and it is imperative to choose people who possess a healthy and polished image.

Have your teeth cleaned prior to going to the interview and consult your dentist about any necessary cosmetic dentistry you may need, such as repairing any noticeable gaps or missing teeth. If you need your teeth capped or bonded and have been putting it off, now is the time to do it.

Another item that is often overlooked is the scar. If you have a small but noticeable scar on your face, hands or arms, it is not necessary to worry – few of us have baby-perfect skin. But if you have a larger or more obvious one, a cosmetic course of action may be in order. Try applying Dermablend to the scar. This product is what beauty pageant contestants use to cover imperfections, as it is an excellent concealer, and can be purchased at any major department store. If the scar is distractingly obvious, you may want to invest in some cosmetic surgery to improve your look. This is particularly important if you are interested in a flight attendant or any other customer service type of position where you are in the limelight.

Many people speak with an accent, whether it is a southern, northern, western  eastern or a foreign one, and many times there are cultural differences in how we express ourselves. This, in itself, usually poses no problem. But the incorrect pronunciation of words or use of poor grammar will detract you’re your professional image and lessen your chances of consideration for employment as a flight attendant.

No matter how impeccably a flight attendant candidate is dressed, it can make a recruiter’s skin crawl to hear double negatives, slang words, cursing, mispronounced words or other such undignified grammatical errors. This is the business world, and such indiscretions are not acceptable. Brush up on your speaking skills – take a class in public speaking or ask a teacher or an articulate friend to help you if you have trouble.

Many airlines require flight attendant applicants to read a boarding card during the interview, to ensure that they have adequate verbal skills, so make it a habit to practice using correct speech in your daily life. If you have an obvious speech defect or a shrill, weak, monotone or otherwise annoying voice, this will also distract from your presentation.

Work with a speech therapist will improve a voice problem or speech defect and help you to overcome the problem. All these things can interfere with your professional life in the workplace. An unprofessional resume with obvious gaps or one that indicates an excess of “job-hopping” will not win you points with recruiters. Do your homework. If you don’t know how to construct a resume, get help from a professional. It’s not brain surgery, but there are things you need to include and certain ways to best showcase your experience.

If your hair needs coloring, do it before the interview! Brassy, unnatural colors and roots that are showing are also bad news. Consult a colorist if you have difficulty managing your hairstyle or color. There is no excuse for telltale roots or a bad hairdo ruining your looks, especially since it is so easily fixed. If you leave something like this undone, it says to the interviewer that you don’t care enough to bother. Big problem, easy solution. ‘Nuff said!

Check yourself in a mirror before you go into an interview. There is no reason why you would enter this type of situation with food between your teeth, a mascara smudge on your cheek, a slip that shows or lipstick on your teeth, so take a quick peek in the mirror first.

Airlines really do consider how their image is perceived to the flying public. If an employee’s persona detracts from that company’s image, the company will not be interested in having that person represent them to the public. Doing what it takes to get ahead in the business world will not only land you the job of a lifetime, but will give you a more confident and self- assured outlook on the future.

The Perks of being a Flight Attendant

At the heart of air hostess job lies the sweetness provided by the fruits of labor. Amid the frustration of crazy schedules, rude passengers, bad weather and difficult co-workers, the flight attendant job provides perks like no other. Many times this wonderful lifestyle is downplayed, in order to ensure that the job applicant is made aware of the difficulty experienced in the beginning.

If you are able to withstand the irregularities of the position for the first few months, the benefits far outweigh the challenges. After the probationary period is over, as an airline employee you will receive space-available air travel for a minimal charge, or in some cases complimentary, on your own airline.

In addition this, you will be provided with a plethora of travel discounts on other carriers, anywhere from a 50% discount to 90%. Some even offer an annual “freebie”, on a space-available basis! I remember flying to England and Ireland once on another carrier for the humongous fare of $40! We enjoyed seeing castles and the beautiful Yorkshire countryside; we toured Buckingham Palace and the Tower of London, shopped at Piccadilly Circus, and boogied the nights away in the discos. Nothing will ever erase this wonderful experience from my mind!

Hotels and car rental agencies also give reduced rates to airline employees, as well as some eateries and tour packages. Most establishments around airline hub cities cater to airline employees and give generous discounts. Many courtesies are extended to airline employees that are usually extended only to high rolling jet setters. I once stayed in a hotel that had biking and horseback riding trails – free to us, and unlimited access to a Jacuzzi and workout room. The owners also provided a private car for our use only, to go into town and shop during our 23-hour layover in that city.

I have been to the Grand Canyon and hiked the Appalachian Trail; I have sunned in the Caribbean and snow skied in Portland; I have beheld the magnificence of Niagara Falls, shopped-till-I-dropped at the Mall of the Americas and strolled the monuments and historical sights in Washington, D.C. Most of the vacation spots in America have been my stomping grounds. If you fly internationally as a flight attendant, the world will be your playground; even if you fly for a domestic carrier, you can go virtually ANYWHERE on vacation!

Some of the people I have met while onboard an airplane as a flight attendant has been quite memorable and I consider this a perk of the job. I have met really nice folks who generously gave the flight crews samples of their various wares, including shoes I received from a shoe salesman, a very large box of retail size cosmetics from a cosmetics rep, clothing from apparel store owners, and autographed books from celebrities.

Some of the famous people I met while flying include legendary actors, rock musicians, politicians, poets, writers, athletes and artists. For the most part, these folks can be quite down-to-earth and interesting to talk to. I’ve gotten many a free ticket to a concert or ball game from celebs I have met and it’s a real kick to meet them!

The company benefits for airline employees are also quite generous, affording paid days off, medical and dental benefits, credit unions and 401K’s. And what other job gives you as many days off per month (10 – 15)? But, putting aside all the wonderful above mentioned benefits you reap when working for an airline, nothing can compare to the emotional benefits you get from providing comfort and companionship to scared or emotionally distraught folks. When lending an ear to someone who is going through a family crisis and being told by them that you were the ray of sunshine in their day, the personal gratification you will receive for a job well done is one of the most rewarding parts of the job.

Finally, the one thing not often mentioned is that there is also a certain unexplainable joy when walking through an airport terminal in your uniform.

Nothing warms my heart like hearing a little girl say to her mommy, “I want to be an airplane lady when I grow up!” Not everyone who relishes the honor of being chosen for this outstanding position is bestowed with the revered flight wings. The flight attendant job holds a curious mystique that attracts many admirers, envious of the adventure and excitement we experience on a daily basis. And the camaraderie experienced is typical only to this industry – where else can 5 perfect strangers, with diverse personalities and backgrounds, at the end of a 4-day trip, click and become lifelong friends? And that, my friend, is why we fly!

Mystique of the Flight Attendant Job

There is a mystique about the world of the air hostess that has prevailed since the dawn of the first cabin attendants. This began in 1930, when Ellen Church became the first “stewardess”, for United Airlines, and women and men have been seeking this position with diligence ever since. The mere mention of the flight attendant job conjures up images of jetting away to an exotic Caribbean Island or spending a week skiing in the majestic Alps. Of course the job itself is not always glamorous, but most people do not possess the mobility of the flight attendant to see the world while they are still young enough to enjoy it. What is it about a flight attendant that makes little kids longingly stare and adults charmed and envious? Could it be the lifestyle and freedom to jet away to faraway places? The uniform? The star quality of these chosen few?

Maybe it is all these things, and more. I remember viewing a children’s program at about age 6, seeing the flight attendant standing in the doorway of a large airplane, wearing a military- looking uniform, with shiny wings on her jacket. How elegant and important she looked working on the airplane! I decided right then and there that this was what I wanted to be someday. To me, it wasn’t just a job – it was a life!

Initially, the first cabin attendants were men who helped maintain the integrity of the airplanes while swatting flies and lifting mailbags. Then in the 1930’s female attendants were hired as stewardesses or hostesses and worked on piston engine or propeller aircraft, such as the Curtiss Condor. Their duties included providing sandwiches and thermoses of water and passing out gum and cotton to provide comfort for passengers’ ears. These flight attendants originally were registered nurses, but this requirement was dropped in the 1940’s. The job was now considered glamorous and even though many young women wanted to become airline stewardesses, only a few were chosen. In those days when stewardesses got married, they were terminated.

By the 1960’s, men were on the job. United Airlines hired eight men from Hawaii to fly their Hawaiian routes. As a result of the influx of males from that point, Eastern Airlines created the job title of “flight attendant”. The job held wide appeal to men and women and it became commonplace for flight attendants to be male or female, young or older, married or single, any race, even parents. The salaries were beginning to climb – airline fever had claimed more lives!

Once you have “the fever”, it will be with you for the rest of your life; there is no cure, and anyone who has never experienced a flight attendant career will never comprehend just how powerful it is. Flight crews are very close comrades as a result of having this unique passion in common. There is a wide belief that the job is a daring and unusual dream experience; flight attendants are considered to be gutsy individuals who regard the world as their playground.

Of course, those of us who fly know that in reality the job is hard work, sometimes with long hours and grouchy customers. It is difficult to find the glamour in your job when you are down on your hands and knees in the galley, going through tray carriers looking for someone’s lower dentures they left on a tray! Or working a 14-hour day due to a mechanical delay. Or dealing with a planeload of airsick passengers during heavy turbulence. These things are all part and parcel of a flight attendant’s job. But the fun and excitement far outweighs these things, and I don’t know many flight attendants who would trade it all in for a nine-to-fiver!

The charisma has as much to do with the look of flight attendants as the places they travel. These sharply dressed men and women who serve you meals or beverages in the air seem to be the epitome of romance; what will they do when they are off duty – shop in Rome? Party in Frankfurt? Catch glass beads at a Mardi Gras parade? Tour the Pyramids or Catacombs? What celebrities do they commonly meet and what interesting stories could they tell about these people?

Each airline has a unique uniform, smartly tailored, complete with the airline logo and wings. Wings are earned, and flight attendants go to a lot of trouble to get them! Training is sometimes long and arduous. Flight attendant trainees must not only be strong and resourceful but intelligent, healthy and energetic to graduate.

Possibly the most important component of the aura of mystery surrounding the flight attendant is the fact that that which is difficult to obtain is often the most coveted. Not just anyone can become a flight attendant; thousands of flight attendant wannabes apply for these jobs every month, but few are chosen.


Statistics show that on average, less than 10% of those who apply are selected for the job. What separates the people chosen from the ones left behind? That is part of the magic, and sometimes it is not something that can be even put into words. After meeting the requirements, applicants must convey a certain persona to the recruiter, and the recruiters are adept in discovering those who have what it takes.

How to Survive the Airline Interview?

Long before you attend any airline interview, you must arm yourself with the tools you will need to make the entire process run as smoothly as possible. The following recommended items should be included as part of your “interview survival kit” and be brought with you to every interview. Some are mandatory for your success, while others are optional, depending on their affordability and size.

Quite often, you will fly to a distant city for an interview and spend the night in a hotel. There, you will be able to use your “interview survival kit” as a portable office so you can prepare yourself as effectively as possible for the next day’s interview.

Mandatory Items:

The job portfolio: the job portfolio serves as a quick reference for all of your application-related materials.

Writing utensils: you need general writing utensils (the cheap hotel type), as well as a high quality pen for taking notes during the interview, preferably a gold, silver or black “Cross” pen for a more professional appearance. Also a marker or highlighter for reviewing your notes is essential.

Note pad: a small legal pad for taking notes.

Watch: it seems simple, but many people miss interviews because they do not have a watch! A dress watch should always be worn to the interview.

Alarm clock: if you are spending the night in a hotel room the night before your interview, it is important to have an alarm clock so you won’t oversleep. A wind-up type is best because it is not vulnerable to power failure. Back up your alarm clock with a wake-up call.

Cash: if you are driving to an interview, you will usually be required to park in a parking garage; it might cost you up to $20 or more to park.

Extra shirt or blouse: if you hit a bump in the road and coffee spills all over your shirt or blouse, a coffee stain won’t make a good impression at the interview.

Spot remover: just in case.

Shoeshine kit: shoe polish and a shining cloth are needed for last minute touch-ups.

Lint-roller: to remove last-minute lint and pet hairs.

Extra panty-hose: women know how easy it is to run panty hose; have extras in your briefcase just in case.

Toiletry and makeup kit: brushes, combs, mirrors, tissue, makeup, toothpaste and toothbrush, breath mints, and anything else you can think of that will help you freshen up just before the interview.

A good roll-aboard suitcase: if you need to fly to your interview destination, make sure you own a good suitcase, preferably the roll-aboard type that can be stowed in the overhead compartment or under the seat in front of you. You do not want to be checking luggage if you are running late to an interview. You are allowed 2 carry-on bags; your suitcase and a briefcase. NOTE: A woman’s pocketbook does not count as a carry-on item.

Invest in a lint roller (especially if you own pets) and carry it with you in your briefcase. Just before the interview, visit the restroom, and de-lint yourself. Also, be sure to double-check your wardrobe, teeth, makeup, panty hose (women) and hair, and pop a breath mint into your mouth.

Optional Items:

Personal Organizer: a Palm Pilot or other type of electronic organizer is preferable, but a spiral notebook-type organizer, such as a Day Runner or Franklin Planner will be sufficient for keeping your contacts and appointments organized.

Laptop or notebook computer: a computer is valuable for keeping electronic versions of your notes, for logging onto the Internet and for checking email.

Mobile phone: portable telephones are helpful if you are caught in traffic and running late to an interview, or if your flight is delayed.

Cassette recorder or memo recorder: these are useful for taking quick notes and for interview practice.

This entry was posted on June 18, 2015, in Other News.