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Career profile Flight Attendant

Also known as Flight Attendant; Flight Attendant, Inflight Services; Flight Attendant/Air Transportation Supervisor; Flight Attendant/Inflight Manager; Flight Attendant/Inflight Supervisor; In-Flight Crew Member; International Flight Attendant; Lead Instructor/Flight Attendant; Purser

Flight Attendant

Also known as Flight Attendant; Flight Attendant, Inflight Services; Flight Attendant/Air Transportation Supervisor; Flight Attendant/Inflight Manager; Flight Attendant/Inflight Supervisor; In-Flight Crew Member; International Flight Attendant; Lead Instructor/Flight Attendant; Purser

Interests Profile
  • Enterprising
  • Social
  • Conventional
Pay Range
$30,930 - $84,790 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Speaking
  • Active Listening
  • Monitoring
Knowledge Areas
  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Public Safety and Security
  • Transportation
Core tasks
  • Verify that first aid kits and other emergency equipment, including fire extinguishers and oxygen bottles, are in working order.
  • Announce and demonstrate safety and emergency procedures, such as the use of oxygen masks, seat belts, and life jackets.
  • Monitor passenger behavior to identify threats to the safety of the crew and other passengers.
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What does a Flight Attendant do?

Flight Attendants monitor safety of the aircraft cabin.

In addition, Flight Attendants provide services to airline passengers, explain safety information, serve food and beverages, and respond to emergency incidents.

What kind of tasks does a Flight Attendant perform regularly?

Flight Attendants are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Verify that first aid kits and other emergency equipment, including fire extinguishers and oxygen bottles, are in working order.
  • Announce and demonstrate safety and emergency procedures, such as the use of oxygen masks, seat belts, and life jackets.
  • Monitor passenger behavior to identify threats to the safety of the crew and other passengers.
  • Walk aisles of planes to verify that passengers have complied with federal regulations prior to takeoffs and landings.
  • Direct and assist passengers in emergency procedures, such as evacuating a plane following an emergency landing.
  • Prepare passengers and aircraft for landing, following procedures.
  • Administer first aid to passengers in distress.
  • Determine special assistance needs of passengers, such as small children, the elderly, or disabled persons.
  • Attend preflight briefings concerning weather, altitudes, routes, emergency procedures, crew coordination, lengths of flights, food and beverage services offered, and numbers of passengers.
  • Reassure passengers when situations, such as turbulence, are encountered.
  • Check to ensure that food, beverages, blankets, reading material, emergency equipment, and other supplies are aboard and are in adequate supply.
  • Prepare reports showing places of departure and destination, passenger ticket numbers, meal and beverage inventories, the conditions of cabin equipment, and any problems encountered by passengers.
  • Greet passengers boarding aircraft and direct them to assigned seats.
  • Announce flight delays and descent preparations.
  • Assist passengers entering or disembarking the aircraft.
  • Conduct periodic trips through the cabin to ensure passenger comfort and to distribute reading material, headphones, pillows, playing cards, and blankets.
  • Inspect and clean cabins, checking for any problems and making sure that cabins are in order.
  • Operate audio and video systems.
  • Answer passengers' questions about flights, aircraft, weather, travel routes and services, arrival times, or schedules.
  • Collect money for meals and beverages.
  • Heat and serve prepared foods.
  • Inspect passenger tickets to verify information and to obtain destination information.
  • Assist passengers in placing carry-on luggage in overhead, garment, or under-seat storage.

The above responsibilities are specific to Flight Attendants. More generally, Flight Attendants are involved in several broader types of activities:

Performing for or Working Directly with the Public
Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems
Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Assisting and Caring for Others
Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.

What is a Flight Attendant salary?

The median salary for a Flight Attendant is $59,050, and the average salary is $59,150. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Flight Attendant salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Flight Attendants earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Flight Attendants earn less than $30,930 per year, 25% earn less than $43,080, 75% earn less than $71,550, and 90% earn less than $84,790.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Flight Attendants is expected to change by 30.3%, and there should be roughly 17,600 open positions for Flight Attendants every year.

Median annual salary
$59,050
Typical salary range
$30,930 - $84,790
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
30.3%

What personality traits are common among Flight Attendants?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Flight Attendant are usually higher in their Enterprising, Social, and Conventional interests.

Flight Attendants typically have very strong Enterprising interests. Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.

Also, Flight Attendants typically have strong Social interests. Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.

Lastly, Flight Attendants typically have moderate Conventional interests. Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Flight Attendant tend to value Relationships, Support, and Working Conditions.

Most importantly, Flight Attendants very strongly value Relationships. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Second, Flight Attendants very strongly value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Lastly, Flight Attendants moderately value Working Conditions. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Flight Attendants must consistently demonstrate qualities such as concern for others, dependability, and adaptability/flexibility.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Flight Attendants, ranked by importance:

Concern for Others
Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Adaptability/Flexibility
Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
Cooperation
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Social Orientation
Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.

What education and training do Flight Attendants need?

Working as a Flight Attendant usually requires a high school diploma.

Flight Attendants need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with this occupation.

Educational degrees among Flight Attendants

  • 0.6% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 14.1% completed high school or secondary school
  • 31.9% completed some college coursework
  • 11.1% earned a Associate's degree
  • 36.0% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 5.0% earned a Master's degree
  • 1.2% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Flight Attendants

Flight Attendants may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as customer and personal service, public safety and security, or transportation knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Flight Attendants might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Public Safety and Security
Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
Transportation
Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
Psychology
Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
Geography
Knowledge of principles and methods for describing the features of land, sea, and air masses, including their physical characteristics, locations, interrelationships, and distribution of plant, animal, and human life.

Important Abilities needed by Flight Attendants

Flight Attendants must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Flight Attendants need abilities such as speech clarity, oral expression, and oral comprehension in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Flight Attendants, ranked by their relative importance.

Speech Clarity
The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Speech Recognition
The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
Near Vision
The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).

Critical Skills needed by Flight Attendants

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Flight Attendants frequently use skills like speaking, active listening, and monitoring to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Flight Attendants, ranked by their relative importance.

Speaking
Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Monitoring
Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Social Perceptiveness
Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Service Orientation
Actively looking for ways to help people.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this information, please send a message.