I would very much like to become a flight attendant, but I am afraid that I do not qualify. Can you please tell me what the airlines look for in candidates? Thank-you.
This is Part III of our series on minimum qualifications to become a flight attendant. In the last issue, we addressed the issues Weight and Health, Education, and Customer Service requirements. In this issue, we discuss Language skills, Citizenship, Relocation, Appearance, Company Physical and Background Check. If you missed Part I or Part II of this series, you can find them in our ezine archives.Language Skills
Fluency in a second language, such as French, Spanish, German, Japanese, or Chinese is a major plus in the eyes of flight attendant hiring departments; however, most airlines are only concerned with your ability to speak English. Fluency in English is a must. If you cannot speak English effectively, you won't get hired by a U.S. airline.
Very few airlines require you to be able to speak a second language. Airlines that have a second language preference do so because of certain international destinations. On these routes, a designated Language of Destination/Origin (also called LOD/O - pronounced "low-doe") flight attendant is assigned to the flight. Such positions are usually awarded to senior flight attendants, making these jobs difficult to obtain even for qualified applicants. Pay is also higher for LOD/O qualified flight attendants - approximately $1.50 to $2.00 higher per hour.Citizenship
Every major U.S. airline requires you to be a U.S. Citizen or registered alien with legal right to accept employment in the U.S., plus the right to travel to and from the countries the airline serves.
You are also required to have a social security card and, in many instances, a passport. If you do not have a passport, it might be a good idea to get one now.Relocation
Every major airline requires that you be willing to relocate to any of the listed flight attendant domiciles.Appearance
The airlines are very particular about hiring individuals who have a neat and attractive appearance. After all, flight attendants are the only employees to have direct, continuous contact with the traveling public. No matter what the marketing department propagates over the airwaves or in print, flight attendants must look neat and professional in order for the airline to develop an appealing brand identity.
Typically, airlines do not permit visible tattoos, body piercings (save for your ears), long hair on men, "rebellious" hairstyles, bizarre or offensive-looking makeup or jewelry, poorly manicured hands, etc. All airlines are different. For example, some do not even permit facial hair on men! During training, you will be given specific grooming regulations which must be strictly adhered to.Company Physical and Background Check
If you have thoroughly read through the minimum hiring requirements (above), you may be thinking it would be easy enough to "cheat" a little bit during the application process - maybe say you are a year older or an inch taller than you actually are, or fail to mention that DWI conviction you had three years ago. You do not want to do this, trust us! Airlines have a couple of ways to determine whether applicants have lied on their application about their age, height, past use of drugs, work history, or any other area that would preclude them from landing the job.
Every airline administers a company physical examination to every new-hire. During this exam, an airline is able to detect whether you lied on your application about your height, whether you have a drug or alcohol problem, or whether your past medical history shows anything adverse that would disqualify you from getting the job. Since you are given a urinalysis during this physical, it is very important that you inform the examiners of any medications you might be taking. In addition to the medical exam, there is also a thorough background check. During the background check, which can go back as many as 10 years, virtually everything about you is investigated - your age, place of birth, school records, criminal records (if any), etc. If an airline finds that you lied on your application or you have any sort of criminal record, you will be immediately dismissed.