How to Become a Flight Attendant with No Experience (Guide)
You dream of a life of adventure, of getting paid to travel the world accumulating stamps in your passport and photos for your Instagram page. So how are you going to make that dream a reality? It’s the question you secretly dread. After all, you aren’t an Instagram influencer, a well-known travel writer, or the recipient of a generous trust fund. Working on a cruise ship is out because just taking a water taxi ride is enough to make you nauseous. You don’t have a pilot’s license and you have no experience as a flight attendant. What’s left?
Check this out: remember that flight attendant option that you thought you weren’t qualified for? Well, what if you could become a flight attendant with no experience?
Yes, it’s true! For most other jobs you are expected to have already had training and gained experience in the field prior to applying, but it’s different for flight attendants. When the airline industry is hiring entry level flight attendants, zero experience is required! They simply want to see that you have the right personality and potential to become an amazing flight attendant after going through training which they provide after you are hired.
And you know what? That means that you are one step closer to making those travel dreams a reality. Excited to learn more? Let’s jump in and explore the process of becoming a flight attendant plus talk about the salary and benefits that come with this unique job.
How much does a flight attendant make?
First off, you may be drawn to the flight attendant career path for the benefits and the lifestyle, but that doesn’t pay the bills. So what can you expect to earn?
Let’s be honest: you aren’t going to get rich as a flight attendant. According to ZipRecruiter, as of March 2020, the average yearly salary for a U.S. flight attendant is $59,987 but pay rates can range from $20,500 to $180,000. Most flight attendants should expect to earn between $37,500 and $62,000 a year during their careers.
Not super lucrative, but doable. And you know what? The allure of flight attendant life isn’t the money so much as it is the benefits. So, before we go any further, let’s talk about those amazing benefits since that’s why many of us are here.
What are some of the benefits of being a flight attendant?
Free flights for you
Who’s here for the free flights? Raise your hand. Everyone? Great. You’ve come the right place. As you know, one of the main perks of a flight attendant career is access to endless free flights on your own airline.
Free flights for your spouse/dependents/parents
But wait, there’s more. Did you know that for most airlines, your spouse, dependents and even your parents also qualify for free flights? Imagine how much less a family vacation will cost if you don’t have to pay for airfare. Plus, your parents can’t say you never did anything for them. While you’re working hard to earn those benefits, they can kick back on a sandy beach or explore a new city that they didn’t have to pay to fly to.
Tax-only fares when flying other airlines
What if your airline doesn’t fly to an exotic destination that’s on your bucket list? You have to pay full fare somewhere else, right? Not so fast. Check what reciprocal agreements your airline has with other airlines. Most airlines will mutually agree to extend flight benefits to employees and beneficiaries from other airlines. In this case, you’ll just have to cover the nominal taxes that would usually be tacked on to a paid ticket.
In case you don’t already know, the airline industry is a very seniority-based world. The longer you stick around, the cushier the scheduling gets. Flight attendants “bid” on their schedules each month. This means that you decide exactly what your ideal schedule would look like.
What days do you want to fly? Where are your preferred destinations? Do you want out and backs or layovers? International or domestic? Do you have a specific aircraft preference?
Submit your ideal schedule, and a sophisticated computer system matches as many of your criteria as it can so the finished schedule is as close as possible to what you asked for. Sounds great, right? And it really is once you have paid your dues and built up seniority. The matching system takes your seniority into account. The flight attendants with highest seniority are matched first, so they will get nearly exactly what they asked for. As you go further and further down the seniority list, there will be fewer slots available, so if you are a flight attendant with low seniority, you get what is left even if it wasn’t your preference. The good news is that even if your schedule isn’t what you asked for, trading shifts is usually pretty easy, so you may be able to swap things around. Plus, you bid again each month, so you’re aren’t stuck with the same schedule forever.
How do I become a flight attendant (with no experience)?
Ready to jump in and submit your application for a flight attendant position? Great! Here’s how to get started:
1. Make sure you meet the minimum requirements
There’s no point in applying if you don’t check all the boxes that are prerequisites. Each airline has its own specific minimums, but here are the most common:
- Be at least 18-21 years old
- Be able to read, write, understand and speak English fluently
- Have earned a minimum of a high school diploma, GED, or equivalent
- Have basic computer and math skills
- Meet height requirements. They are in place to make sure that flight attendants are tall enough to reach the overhead bins and not too tall for smaller spaces. The most common height range is 5 feet – 6 feet 3 inches.
- Meet your prospective airline’s weight requirements. Usually you are fine as long as your weight is proportional to your height and you can easily fit in the jump seat and move down the aisle.
- Be able to pass vision and hearing tests
- Not have tattoos that are visible when you are in uniform
- Have or be able to obtain a valid passport and applicable visas
- Be eligible to work in the United States
- Be able to pass criminal background check, fingerprinting, and drug testing
- Be able to pass a physical exam
- Be physically capable of pushing/pulling beverage and meal carts (up to 250 lbs)
- Be physically capable of lifting emergency exit windows (up to 60 lbs) and emergency doors (up to 126 lbs)
2. Polish your résumé
Flight attendant positions are coveted, and the competition is fierce. Make your résumé stand out by formatting it professionally and be sure to include any customer service experience you have since airlines view that as an added bonus.
3. Choose an airline and submit an online application
Do a comparison of airlines and pick the ones that seems like the best fit. Remember to consider not only the pay and benefits, but also the airline culture and location of bases with openings. Once you are ready, fill out an online application.
4. Prepare for your interview or (hopefully) interviews
As soon as you hit the “apply” button, your next step is to prepare for that first interview. Airlines often do two rounds of interviews starting with a preliminary video interview where they weed out many candidates before investing time and resources on in-person interviews for those who they believe are viable candidates.
Prepare to ace your interview by following the advice of current flight attendants who have made the cut. For both video and in-person interviews, the basic preparation is similar.
Dress in business professional attire. Ensure that you are well-groomed with appropriate and tasteful hair and makeup choices. Remember that little details like a manicure and classy jewelry can go a long way toward building that polished appearance.
Read up on the airline you are interviewing with. You want to be as knowledgeable as possible. If their physical appearance guidelines are publicly available, make sure you follow them during your interviews.
Review a list of common flight attendant interview questions and consider how you would thoughtfully answer each question.
For your video interview, be sure your background and lighting are professional and that you will not be interrupted by roommates or family members. Practice talking into the camera and answering these questions.
5. Pass your background check, drug test and physical exam
Once you made it past the video and in-person interviews, you should be good to go. You just have to get through the formalities of the background check, drug test and physical exam.
6. Complete flight attendant training
Congratulations – you’ve made it to your airline! The final step on your journey to becoming a full-fledged flight attendant is to complete your airline’s flight attendant training program. During this program – which usually lasts around 6 weeks – you will learn everything you need to know to be an amazing flight attendant. On graduation day, you will get your wings and set off on your new life of adventure, all without having had any previous experience as a flight attendant.
If we have one final piece of advice, it would be to consider Aerocoast Bags. They are perfect for Flight Attendants, and other members of the Flight Crew. Buy the right bag the first time, and save yourself the headache of an inferior product.
- PilotMall.com Editor