How to Become an Air Host or Hostess
Being a flight attendant (or air host/hostess as it is known in the UK) is one of the classy, adventurous, and rewarding jobs on the planet. If you want to have a fulfilled career, you must first learn how to become an air host or hostess.
We will discuss what it takes to become a flight attendant, where this career can lead to, and how much you will earn on the job.
Let’s get started!
Who is an Air Host or Hostess?
An air host or hostess (also known as a flight attendant, steward, or stewardess) is someone who is trained to ensure that passengers and crew members are well taken care of in an airplane.
Flight attendants only operate in a specific type or model of airplane. For example, if you are a flight attendant on a Boeing 777, you cannot switch to an A380-800 unless both models are extremely similar. Flight attendants are trained on plane equipment which they must know off-book.
Thus, you must know where virtually every piece of equipment is by heart including first aid kits, fire extinguishers, and more. Some airlines train their flight attendants on all the aircraft in their fleet.
The training also includes how to handle emergency equipment, door operations, and rafts among others. In the end, air hosts and hostesses get qualified based on the equipment they are trained on in addition to their previous qualifications
International flight attendants have to be fluent in foreign languages to beat other people applying for the same role. Also, they must have valid international passports at all times.
Airlines conduct strict tests on flight attendants including background checks, vision tests, drug tests, and other regular evaluations. Professionalism is extremely important to these airlines. Air hosts and hostesses are required to dress formally and appropriately, with no unusual hairstyle or makeup, and no piercings or visible body tattoos.
Duties of Air Hosts and Hostesses
It is the flight attendant’s responsibility to perform a pre-flight safety check. This check is mandatory across every airline to make sure that the aircraft is in a good condition to convey passengers to their proposed destination. Also, the flight attendant must ensure that the aircraft is clean and conducive for the passengers before boarding.
Educate passengers on safety and emergency measures.
An air host or hostess will continue his or her safety demonstration to passengers when the flight takes off. They must show passengers the correct way to perform basic and vital safety practices under different circumstances. Air hosts and hostesses will leave out assumptions that passengers already know how to use oxygen masks, seat belts, and importantly, the exit doors. Emergency and safety practices must always be conveyed to travelers.
Welcoming, helping, and directing passengers to their seats.
Air hosts and hostesses are required to welcome passengers aboard the flight. A flight attendant must make passengers feel welcome and safe from the get-go. Also, they are tasked with checking the passengers’ tickets before take-off. This is to ensure that every passenger is on the right plane, especially minors.
After verifying their tickets, flight attendants will direct passengers to their seats. Other necessary information will also be conveyed to the passengers while the air hosts and hostesses help them with their luggage.
Preparing food and beverages for crew and passengers.
Air hosts and hostesses are in charge of refreshments for the passengers and crew on the plane. They prepare the food, drinks, and beverages themselves. Also, they serve the passengers these food items. To perform this duty, you don’t have to be a certified chef; yet, a reasonable level of preparing food is required. Not only do flight attendants make and serve the food, but they also play a big part in purchasing the food ingredients and drinks.
Entertaining questions and providing solutions for passengers
Flight attendants are the go-to people whenever flight passengers need help in any way. There are always questions, inquiries, and suggestions being made by air travelers. It is the flight attendant’s responsibility to listen to these complaints and requests and respond to them. From travel routes, arrival time, and travel duration, to even irrelevant questions about the flight, expect to deal with anything that comes your way gracefully.
Attending pre-flight briefings.
Flight attendants are only permitted to work in aircraft if they have a license. As a result, the training they get is restricted to one or two peculiar airplane models. A flight attendant must always be present at every training, workshop, or pre-flight briefing possible. Also, air hosts and hostesses must be up to date with all the new and improved details of the flight.
Guiding passengers during an emergency.
Flight attendants are responsible for administering first aid and directing passengers in case of an emergency on the flight. Good knowledge of first aid is important to do this. However, if a passenger is in a chronic health condition, flight attendants would have to ask if there are medical practitioners on the plane.
Supporting passengers with special needs
There are usually people with special needs on the plane who would need more help than others. These are kids, the elderly, physically impaired persons, and sometimes those who can’t communicate in English. A flight attendant is supposed to help these people be more comfortable, offering them the necessary support they need.
Qualifications and education requirements
For the most part, a high school diploma or equivalent qualification is the least qualification required. Also, some employers prefer their flight attendants to have a certificate or associate degree in any flight attendant academy.
Likewise, a cabin crew certification and training in various aspects of the profession are required. Regardless of the qualifications acquired by a new flight attendant, airlines provide training for up to 6 or 8 weeks for fresh employees.
Qualities of a Host or Hostess
Besides the skills needed to be a well-rounded flight attendant, there are certain qualities you must possess. Although these traits will not be on your resume, they can never be hidden.
As a flight attendant, you never know what to expect from passengers. Courtesy is a unique attribute that will come in handy throughout an air host or hostess’s career. From the way you talk, the tone in your voice, to the slightest gesture, you could turn any situation into a good one with courtesy. Passengers respond well to polite flight attendants mostly even when they are not in a friendly mood.
It is expected of every air host or hostess to comport themselves professionally at all times. Starting from their appearance, to their use of grammar, flight attendants adhere to strict rules. Hence, you must have traits that prove that you can be professional when you must. If you cannot do without touching your phone, or if you don’t know how to follow orders given by superiors without reading or making a meal out of it, learn how.
A flight attendant’s job has a lot to do with customer service. This is why employers in aviation lookout for people with a customer-centric and selfless quality. The major trait of a customer-focused individual is the ability to seamlessly put the needs of the customer first. For this reason, air hosts and hostesses with a background or previous experience in customer service roles often excel in this profession.
Skills required to be a Host or Hostess
To perform at your best as a flight attendant, these are some of the most important skills to have.
Decent communication skills are required for every aviation worker, especially flight attendants because how information is received is crucial in every process. An air host or hostess must be able to convey information clearly to passengers and other members of the crew. It takes tactfulness and composure to convey certain pieces of information, especially when it is not positive.
Even in uncomfortable periods, how a flight attendant communicates with passengers goes a long way in keeping an issue from escalating. Good communication starts with listening to understand the information you have received. Then cleverly conveying such information effectively and unmistakably.
Fluency in English and other common languages.
The English language is the unofficial formal language of the world. Manuals are mostly written in English, as well as most aircraft instructions, among others. Regardless of where you are from, especially if you will be an international flight attendant, English fluency is a must-have skill.
Likewise, you should be able to at least understand one or two other languages. This is because airlines welcome customers from all over the world with different cultures and languages. Virtually every airline company makes it known that they favor air hosts and hostesses who can communicate fluently in other languages.
Decades ago, this sort of skill would not be on this list. Even though no employer requires this skill to work for their airline, you should have it if being a flight attendant is your passion. With the unfortunate cases of pandemics and political unrest going on around the world, people are getting more aggressive and impatient. New health and safety laws, the unemployment rate, and the continuous fight against prejudice mean flight attendants are walking on eggshells sometimes.
Flight attendants keep getting assaulted for asking simple, random questions or giving standard safety instructions during flights. Some air hostesses have had to undergo surgery due to injuries sustained from such assaults. Therefore, you must have self-defense skills you should only use if physically threatened to keep yourself safe.
Being on a flight crew is like being part of a family. There must be cohesion for every department to function at its best. As a flight attendant, you must possess teamwork skills. Part of being a good team player is knowing the capabilities of your colleagues, and their vulnerabilities, and helping them function well. Working for the success of the whole team as opposed to wanting to be known as the best is key to being the best team player.
Contrary to what those who know very little about the job entails think, air hosts and hostesses, do more than offer drinks on board. Part of a flight attendant’s duty is to make reports on the day or flight’s experience. Also, dealing with a highly technologically advanced gadget like an airplane means that a flight attendant must be digitally literate.
Although the security and safety protocols for flights suggest that traveling by air is safe, anything can happen when you least expect it. There have been cases of plane hijacks among others, some of which could be avoided through attentiveness. People board flights with diverse intentions- some people might be suicide bombers, human traffickers, or wanted persons. Some passengers might suddenly get seriously sick. A flight attendant must be alert to sense danger, especially from strange passenger behaviors.
Where Else Do Flight Attendants Work?
Flight attendants primarily get employed by airlines where they work on airplanes. Unlike other professions where an individual can operate in multiple areas across the discipline, air hosts and hostesses cannot float about in the aviation industry. Although flight attendants basically work in airline companies, their experience can lead them into other professions in customer service, education, and other related roles in the aviation sector.
How Much Does a Flight Attendant Earn?
Air hosts and hostesses rank among some of the high-earning professional Flight attendants in the United States and earn a decent salary of around $78,000 on average. While air hosts and hostesses make a salary of GBP22,000 on average in the UK. Likewise, in Australia, flight attendants earn between AUD48,000 and AUD68,000 on average as well. In Nigeria, air hosts and hostesses are some of the highest-paid professionals earning between NGN300,000 and NGN550,000 on average every month.
Being a flight attendant is an adventurous job that literally takes you places. A lot of effort has to be put into starting a career in this profession as the competition is as high as the expectations. One other benefit of this job is the decent salary you would earn. Also, there are many benefits apart from the salary that comes with the job. From medical insurance, and travel incentives, to bonuses, this is a dream job for many reasons. Let us know if you have any experience in his profession you would like to share in the comments section.