Cabin crew or the flight attendants are those employees who are appointed to ensure the comfort and safety of the passengers travelling in an airline. They make sure that the passengers travel in comfort and their necessities are all met with detail.
Common duties of cabin crew are
- Cabin crew gives preflight briefings on safety procedures and flight details
- They make sure that the flight is equipped with adequate emergency equipment and refreshments for the passengers
- They make sure that all passengers have put on their seatbelts
- Takes care of the passenger needs
- Serves meals, beverages, and snacks for the passengers
- They make sure that specially abled persons are provided with all the additional necessities
- Does first aid if need comes
- It is their duty to demonstrate the working of emergency devices
- They guides the passengers to safety in case of an emergency
Cabin crew is a mandatory addition to the flight for ensuring the security and safety of the passengers. They are also responsible for making an enjoyable flying experience for the passengers onboard. They make sure that all the passengers are obeying safety regulations inside a flight.
Cabin crew greets and directs the passengers to their seats. The instructions about the flight duration, emergency evacuation, and whether condition will be briefed to the cabin crew by the pilots about one hour before the starting of the flight. The instructions for the passengers will either be given by demonstration or by playing a pre-recorded video. After the plane has taken off, crew will attend to the needs of the passengers on board.
The Work Environment of a Cabin Crew
The working area of the cabin crew is primarily on the inside or ‘the cabin’ of the plane. Their work may seem very easy and luxurious to an outsider, but there life can become very strenuous by this career. They have numerous travel benefits and they also enjoy a lot of free time, but at the work place they have a stand for long hours and should show a happy pleasant face regardless of their fatigue or stringent passenger demands.
There are more than one million cabin crews working in United States. Most of them work for major airline services and some work in chartered private jets. Majority of them are members in cabin crew union.
Cabin crews are susceptible to a lot of injuries than which can occur in other careers. They will have to take care of the passengers in case of turbulence. Many passengers panic when turbulence occurs. It is the duty of the cabin crew to pacify them. There are chances of injuries when handling the overhead cabins, pushing trolleys, and due to irregular sleeping patterns. There can also be medical problem for them as they constantly work in pressurized cabins.
Work Schedule of a Cabin Crew
The working schedule of a cabin crew varies constantly because most of the airline companies work around the clock. They will have to work on all times like holidays, weekends, and at any time of the day. There will be a maximum and minimum working hours to be completed in a month. This will be mentioned in the contract that is made between the airline company and the employee. A normal working time for the cabin crew is 12 to 14 hours and this timing may be increased for international flights. It is mandatory that the cabin crew gets nine consecutive hours of break between two duties.
A cabin crew will ideally work for about 70 to 90 hours on board in a month and another 50 hours on ground for arranging for the flight. Cabin crew will be needed to work away from home at least three times in a week. During this time, their food and accommodation needs will be provided by the employer. Senior cabin crews have more control over their schedule and therefore a fresher will have to be more flexible in their schedule.
Training and Education for Becoming a Cabin Crew
The primary training for working in a flight cabin is given by the employer. After completing the training they will have to get certification from FAA (Federal Aviation Administration). The educational requirement for this job is just a high school diploma. But, most of the employers look for a basic educational qualification of graduation in any stream for enrolling into training. If the candidate possess a degree in hospitality, public relation, communication, or tourism they will have an advantage over others. Some airline companies look for experience in customer service sector for hiring cabin crew.
For working on international flights, they should be fluent in English and another foreign language. They should have valid passport and will have to go through a background security check. Some companies require that their employees should have a minimum height to comfortably reach the overhead cabins and should be in optimum health condition. Candidates with weight proportional to their height are mostly preferred for this job.
Once a candidate is selected, the airlines company will provide the necessary training which will last for about 4 to 6 weeks. It is there in the flight training facility, that they learn the emergency procedures, company operation, flight regulations, procedure of plane evacuation, and first aid. After the completion of the training they will be required to pass the test conducted by Federal Aviation Administration.
Some of the qualities needed or working as a cabin crew are
- Good communication skills
- Listening skills
- Good appearance
- Good eyesight
Payment for Cabin Crew
Average annual payment for a cabin crew is $ 38,000. It can be as low as $ 25,000 or can be near to $ 65, 000 per year. This amount is received for crew who has some amount of experience in the job. The average payment for a fresher can be $ 16,500 per year. In addition to their pay package they will be having compensational package for working on holidays, weekends, and night. When they go abroad in association with their work, all their food and accommodation expense will be paid by the employer. The career of a cabin crew is one of the best for those who are looking for high profile lifestyle.