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Becoming a flight attendant is a rigorous process. Even before training has officially begun, candidates are screened for their potential through extensive interviews and testing. Every detail of your performance throughout the training period will be scrutinized, from test scores down to how you wear your hair each day.

Airline companies want to hire flight attendants that are competent and courteous in order to make their passengers’ flights as comfortable as possible. Flight attendant training is designed to weed out candidates that don’t have the physical, mental or emotional fortitude to handle the daily responsibilities that they will face while on the job. Although training might be difficult, it is the gateway to a prestigious profession with unique perks that are not offered by any other industry.

Physical Requirements

Working as a flight attendant is a physically demanding job. Candidates must be able to lift, push and pull heavy loads on a daily basis. Flight attendants also need to have the physical endurance necessary to fight off fatigue, jet lag, hunger and thirst during long shifts. For the safety of both cabin crew members and passengers, airlines require flight attendant trainees to meet a strict set of physical requirements. These requirements vary slightly between different airline companies. All trainees must pass a medical evaluation that verifies if they are healthy enough to fly.

Flight attendants are required meet the legally mandated minimum age of 18 to work on an airplane, but some airline companies require applicants to be as old as 21. Trainees must also meet a company’s height requirements, which often range from between around 4’11”, or 150 cm, to 6’3”, or 190 cm. There are no set weight requirements, but trainees must be in within the normal weight range for their height. The easiest way to find out if you are in the overweight, underweight or normal weight range for your height is to calculate your BMI.

Appearance

When people think of a flight attendant, they typically think of crisp navy suits and clean cut professionalism. Your image will be a vital part of securing a getting hired as a flight attendant. Airlines expect their flight attendants to adhere to strict grooming standards, which means no purple hair streaks, no glitzy makeup, and absolutely no gaudy hoop earrings.

Your hairstyle should be professional and conservative, with no unnatural colors. Women are expected to wear their hair at or above shoulder length, while men should keep their hair relatively short and clean cut. Minimal facial hair is permitted by most airline companies, provided that men keep it neatly trimmed.

Each airline company has its own mandatory uniform, but flight attendants are allowed accessorize with their own jewelry, watches, or other accents. Just make sure to keep accessories small and tasteful. Tattoos and facial piercings should not be visible, with the exception of small ear studs. Failing to adhere to proper grooming standards can get you kicked out of training, so it’s important to research and follow the company’s guidelines.

Personality

The most important part of a flight attendant’s job is keeping passengers happy and healthy. Strong interpersonal skills are important for keeping anxious or frustrated customers at ease. Flight attendants need to be patient, compassionate, and possess strong communication skills. It’s important that you are able to communicate clearly with both passengers and crew members, especially in the event of an emergency. Your interpersonal skills will be tested throughout training, as will your ability to cope with stress. Airlines want flight attendants that can stay calm in the face of danger and create innovative solutions to problems as part of a team.

The Rigors of Training

Training programs can last anywhere from between 4 and 8 weeks, depending on how many aircraft systems and procedures a company covers during the course. Trainees spend most of that time around teachers, classmates and supervisors. During and even after this training period, it can be difficult for a flight attendant to juggle personal and professional responsibilities. Between the lectures, the practical training and the homework, you may not find many opportunities to see your friends or significant other.

During training, you will learn how to handle almost any emergency situation that you might encounter while in the air. Instructors will not only test your knowledge, but will also test your tolerance to stressors such as fatigue, hunger, and sudden schedule changes. Practical training on an out of service aircraft or an aircraft simulator will test how well you are able to handle pressure and adapt to changing situations. Who ever said becoming a flight attendant was easy?

Flight attendants must be able to cope with the stress they will face every day on the job, from unruly passengers to hijackings. As a flight attendant, you are responsible for the wellbeing of the customers on board your flight. Flight attendant training is designed to pick out the toughest and most competent candidates for the job.

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