What it takes to become a flight attendant

There has always been a romantic halo and a certain amount of glamour associated with a flight attendant's job.


There has always been a romantic halo and a certain amount of glamour associated with a flight attendant's job.  The lure of jetting off to exotic destinations wearing a uniform of an international airline attracts thousands of applicants lining up for an interview every time a major airline is hiring. Despite the fact that this stressful and physically demanding job is not among the best paying professions, the competition among new applicants is very tough.


It is interesting to know that flight attendant's job was initially a male domain. The history of the flight attendant's profession dates back to early 1920s, when the sons of wealthy businessmen who financed the formation of airlines, acted as couriers supporting their fathers' business. In 1922 UK operator Daimler Airways, a predecessor of British Airways, hired the world's first flight attendants. They were called cabin boys and were responsible for weighing and loading passengers and their baggage, as well as serving meals. Other airlines adopted the idea and soon flight attendants appeared on most passenger flights.


In 1930s US airline Boeing Air Transport, which later became United Air Lines, hired the first female flight attendant, Ms. Ellen Church.


As air travel became more popular, the role of a flight attendant became more diverse, especially in the 1960s and 1970s, when major airlines started using their staff for marketing purposes to attract more clients.


Real life of a flight attendant is not as glamorous as it may seem. Most of them work on call, which means they can spend some time home waiting for the phone to ring and have to be ready to report for duty within a couple of hours. Flight attendants spend most of their day on feet and have to multitask - prepare the aircraft for a flight, security check the plane, greet customers, liaise with ground staff over the boarding procedures,  help passengers take their seats, ensure the baggage is safely placed in the overhead lockers,  explain safety procedures, serve food and beverages, and sell duty free items. Most small airlines don't have a separate cleaning service in order to cut the costs and it's a flight attendant's job to clean the airplane. Sometimes a crew has only ten minutes between the flights to clean the aircraft. On top of that they have to translate for passengers, administer first aid if required, heat baby feeding bottles, and listen to passengers' problems. They are nurses, waitresses, and psychologists at the same time.


However, no two days are the same for a cabin crew. They meet different people, different personalities, and different attitudes on each flight. Children are going to visit their grandparents, newly married couples are leaving for their honeymoon, and executives are goings to business conferences... And the best part of this job is to see that the flight has been pleasant and enjoyable experience for each passenger.  



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