Flight Attendant Requirements
Knowing the flight attendant job requirements is essential to have a career as a flight attendant.
You can become a flight attendant even if you have no experience, but you must meet the minimum qualifications for the flight attendant position to get the job.
This post will define the 10 ten flight attendant requirements you need to get hired as a flight attendant.
As a bonus, I’ve added United, Delta, and American Airlines requirements.
Why Are Flight Attendant Requirements Important?
Being a flight attendant is a demanding and challenging profession. Airlines need flight attendants who can execute their responsibilities effortlessly and without limitations.
Apart from being responsible for the safety of passengers, flight attendants also serve as the face of the airline and are considered brand ambassadors. They are some of the few customer-facing employees interacting with the customers directly.
It is a coveted job, and airlines always look for outstanding flight attendants who can represent their brand as safety and service professionals.
Flight Attendant Basic Requirements
I will be doing a deep dive into all the basic flight attendant requirements you need to have, but first, let’s list the basic requirements the flight attendant job description covers.
- 1. Age
- 2. Education
- 3. Previous Work Experience
- 4. Skills
- 5. Appearance
- 6. Citizenship
- 7. Physical Requirements
- 8. Height & Weight
- 9. Language
- 10. Ability to Pass 10-Year Background Check
Let’s dive into each basic requirement, and I will help you identify if you possess the qualifications to become a flight attendant.
At some airlines, the minimum age requirement to be a flight attendant is 18 -19, but for most, it’s 20 -21.
As a flight attendant, age is just a number. You can be too young to be a flight attendant but not too old if you are in good shape and can work long hours and do some heavy lifting.
How Old Is Too Old to Become A Flight Attendant?
As long as you are in good physical shape, you will never be too old to be a flight attendant.
Airlines hire flight attendants in their 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60+ years of age.
Many flight attendants start after retirement as a second career.
However, there are flight attendants of all ages, so don’t let your age stand in your way if you want to be a flight attendant.
You might also like The Best Flight Attendant Age Limit Advice You Ever Heard.
Airlines That Hire at 18
Some airlines hire flight attendants at 18, and that’s a great place to start for aspiring flight attendants fresh out of high school.
Airlines that hire flight attendants starting at 18:
– Envoy Air
– Mesa Airlines
To get a flight attendant job, you’ll need a high school diploma.
A GED works just as well, and not all airlines require their flight attendants to have a college degree.While some college is preferred, not all flight attendants have a college degree.
Flight attendant training is brutal, comparable to a college-level course (with an added layer of trauma).
So, even if you don’t have a degree, having the capacity to study and learn in a fast-paced environment is necessary if you want to pass initial training.
Previous Work Experience
While it may not be universally required to have previous job experience to fly, airlines appreciate the depth of knowledge and real-life skills that prior work can bring to the position for this flight attendant requirement.
If you’re wondering what kinds of jobs make a good fit, remember the two top traits airlines seek in their flight attendants: safety and customer service.
Consider roles where you’ve had to prioritize safety policies and procedures, such as health care professionals, lifeguards, or even police officers or security guards.
These positions spotlight your ability to stay calm under pressure, apply critical thinking in emergency situations, and deliver results when they matter most.
Similarly, jobs in hospitality – like hotel staff, baristas, or restaurant servers – emphasize your customer service skills.
Here, your roles may have revolved around solving problems, communicating effectively, catering to diverse needs, and creating a pleasant experience for your clients, qualities that echo the demands of the flight attendant role.
Overall, however valuable previous work experience is, it’s not a make-or-break factor.
If your past jobs capture the essence of safety and service, they become potent springboards, catapulting you ahead in your flight attendant journey.
If not, don’t fret – let your passion guide you and frame your transferable skills in the context of safety and service.
Flight Attendant Skills
As an aspiring flight attendant, possessing the right skills is your passport to success.
Communication, problem-solving, time management, and teamwork are the foundation of your career, elevating the passenger experience and revealing your potential as a flight ambassador.
Effective communication is essential in the aviation industry.
Being an articulate and empathetic communicator is critical to creating a connection and building trust with passengers.
Problem-solving capabilities will enable you to tackle unexpected challenges and turn them into seamless solutions confidently.
Time management is crucial in a dynamic environment like the aviation industry.
Staying organized and punctual requires focus, adaptability, and a commitment to ensuring that every flight runs smoothly.
In aviation, if you’re on time, you’re late!
Finally, teamwork is essential in creating an unparalleled travel experience for passengers.
Embrace collaboration with your crew to cultivate an atmosphere of unity and excellence.
By harnessing these skills, you can step into the role of a flight attendant as the ideal candidate.
Flight attendants are required to look professional at all times.
Most airlines don’t allow unnatural hair colors (think blue, pink, or purple, not blonde or brunette).
Flight attendants wear uniforms, and the purpose is to look uniform.
Each airline has its exact requirements, from the color of flight attendant shoes to acceptable hairstyles and makeup.
A good rule of thumb is to err on the side of conservative hair, makeup, shoes, and accessories.
A flight attendant represents the airline brand, and the only other acceptable brand or logo you will see on a flight attendant is flight attendant luggage, which is often black.
One of the most frequently asked questions is, “Can Flight Attendants Have Tattoos?” So I’ve written an in-depth post that explains airline tattoo policies to answer that question.
Flight attendants at all US-based Airlines must comply with strict travel documentation requirements.
These requirements ensure that flight crews can smoothly traverse international boundaries and comply with all applicable laws while performing their duties. Here are the key items you will need to meet the flight attendant requirements:
Regardless of nationality, you must hold a valid U.S. or Foreign Passport, meaning the expiration date should remain valid throughout the training process and your employment period.
Ensure your passport has the necessary VISAs or permits for all countries serviced by the airline. As a flight attendant, it is crucial to smoothly travel in and out of the countries on your job assignments without any legal hiccups.
Right to Work in the United States
As an employee of a U.S.-based airline, you must possess legal authorization to work there. A right to work in the United States typically means being a U.S. citizen, a green card holder, or having an appropriate work visa.
Unrestricted International Travel
Airlines service numerous countries, and as part of the flight crew, you must be able to travel freely to and from any of the serviced locations without limitations.
Meeting these requirements ensures compliance with airline travel documentation policies and citizenship requirements, allowing for seamless travel experiences across various destinations.
The safety and efficiency of airline operations and passenger service depend on flight attendants meeting specific physical requirements and capabilities.
Different Climates & Locations
The nature of the job requires working in diverse climates and geographical locations around the globe, constantly changing time zones and work hours.
Physical Strength & Flexibility
The job demands the physical ability to stand, walk, kneel, bend, stoop, stretch, reach, and lift heavy objects.
Handling Emergency Exits & Aircraft Doors
Flight attendants need to be able to open heavy emergency exits and close aircraft doors, which may weigh up to 60+ pounds.
They must also be able to handle a food/beverage cart that requires applying a force of 32 pounds when pushing or pulling, with the cart potentially weighing up to 250+ pounds.
Hearing and Vision Requirements
Though not a universal requirement among airlines, some do necessitate flight attendants to pass hearing and vision tests.
Flight attendants must be able to work flexible hours, including nights, weekends, holidays, and extended hours when needed.
Overall Physical Demand
The flight attendant role is physically demanding and often entails frequent standing, walking, bending, stooping, pushing, pulling, reaching, and lifting, such as mobilizing beverage or food carts and lifting and opening emergency aircraft doors.
Flight attendants must be able to retrieve and store items in the overhead bins, which can be as high as 74+” from the floor.
These requirements ensure flight attendants can adequately handle the broad range of physical tasks necessary for their duties aboard the aircraft and optimize the safety and comfort of passengers during flight.
Height & Weight Requirements
Airlines typically have certain qualifications for flight attendants that are not solely based on height or weight.
Rather, they assess a candidate’s ability to perform their duties safely and efficiently, taking into consideration factors such as being able to operate and use equipment.
However, here are some key factors that are used for flight attendant height and weight requirements:
Height and weight must allow for the safe operation of the aircraft and not exceed specific aircraft dimensions.
Specific body proportions allow a flight attendant to:
- Comfortably sitting in a jumpseat and fastening the harness.
- Freely moving throughout the cabin aisle.
- Operating emergency exits.
Flight attendant height requirements include a vertical reach of 74 to 82 inches (depending on the airline) without shoes on is typically required to operate all equipment and machinery within the aircraft.
It is important for aspiring flight attendants to have proficiency in language. These critical points are necessary to consider.
Proficiency in English
All U.S. airlines require their flight attendants to be proficient in English; this is a non-negotiable requirement.
This proficiency explicitly includes a high level of spoken and written English skills.
English is the universal language of aviation, and flight attendants must communicate effectively regarding safety instructions, emergency protocols, and common English terminologies used in the industry.
Proficiency in additional languages is a huge plus and a requirement for LOD (Language of Destination) or Foreign Language Speaker flight attendant positions.
Airlines that service specific geographic locations hire LOD (Language of Destination) or Foreign Language Speaker flight attendants.
Having flight attendants who speak the local language enhances passenger service and comfort, especially during in-flight announcements and personal interactions.
Importance of Language Proficiency
Communication is indeed one of the top skills for flight attendants. They must relay important information, ensure passenger safety, and provide quality service.
Clear communication also helps mitigate misunderstandings and potential disputes with passengers. A misunderstanding in an emergency situation could have dire consequences.
Airlines often conduct language proficiency testing as part of their recruitment process, ensuring that flight attendants can effectively communicate in the languages they use most often on duty.
In some cases, airlines also offer language incentive pay or bonuses for those fluent in a second language.
Ongoing Language Training
Some airlines offer in-service language learning opportunities to assist flight attendants in improving their language skills and career development.
Taken together, these points emphasize the crucial role that language proficiency, especially in English and additional languages, plays in the job of a flight attendant.
Background Check Requirements
There are various background check requirements usually associated with becoming a flight attendant:
10-Year Employment Verification
Airlines typically require a 10-year employment verification for all flight attendant candidates. This includes checking employment history, references, and any considerable gaps in employment that need further explanation.
Criminal Background Check
This is mandatory for the aviation industry in many countries, including the U.S. It also includes FBI fingerprinting to identify any past criminal activities.
Some airlines perform a credit check. This isn’t necessarily to scrutinize one’s financial status but to identify any potential issues that might indicate irresponsibility or instability.
Drug and Alcohol Testing
Pre-employment drug and alcohol screening is standard in the aviation industry. Airlines also conduct random substance abuse tests during the tenure of employment.
In the United States, flight attendants must pass a security threat assessment conducted by the Transportation Security Administration.
Passing such comprehensive background checks is of critical importance due to several reasons:
Given the highly sensitive nature of the job, flight attendants have to be completely trusted by the airline and the passengers. Therefore, ensuring they have no criminal history or substance abuse issues is paramount.
Flight attendants are given significant responsibilities that include the safety and comfort of all passengers on board. A clear background check indicates that the candidate is likely to handle their duties responsibly.
The credit check, while not aimed at financial scrutiny, helps decide whether the candidate is reliable and can handle the pressures and responsibilities that come with the job.
Regulatory bodies like the TSA in the United States require airline employees to pass certain background checks to comply with national security requirements.
The background checks for becoming a flight attendant are comprehensive, including aspects from employment history and criminal records to financial stability and substance use.
Passing these checks is essential for ensuring the flight crew’s safety, efficiency, and trustworthiness.
United Airlines Flight Attendant Requirements
In addition to all the other qualifications, United Airlines has some specific qualifications and requirements.
Are you dreaming of working as a United Airlines flight attendant? If so, you must meet some essential criteria to become one.
Firstly, you should be at least 20 years old at the time of your application and hold a high school diploma or equivalent. Having two or more years of college education is preferred.
Secondly, you should have previous work experience in the service industry, such as customer service, retail, hospitality, food, aviation, safety, social service, healthcare/medical, or military experience.
Regarding appearance, tattoos are prohibited on the head, hands, or neck, including behind the ear. However, visible tattoos on your arms, wrists, legs, and feet are permitted as long as they are no larger than a credit card or employee badge. And, of course, they should not be offensive.
In addition, decorative covers, adornments, and jewelry on teeth or in the mouth are not permitted.
You should also be able to operate electronic devices (phones, tablets, laptops, etc.) to complete required tasks.
Having a passport is a must. You should possess a valid U.S. or foreign passport book with applicable visas and eligibility to travel globally without restrictions.
In addition to English, speaking a second language such as Arabic, Chinese (Cantonese and Mandarin), Dutch, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, and Tagalog is an asset.
You should also be able to reach at least 82 inches vertically, without shoes on, to reach and operate all necessary equipment and machinery. Sitting in an assigned jumpseat with a seatbelt and shoulder harness fastened is also a requirement.
Lastly, you must be able to serve and sell food and beverages (including alcohol) diligently and professionally. You must also be willing to complete pre-employment vision and hearing tests and demonstrate an evacuation drill in the water (pool) during training.
If you meet these requirements, you may be on your way to becoming a flight attendant!
Delta Flight Attendant Requirements
To become a Delta Flight Attendant, you must meet specific requirements.
You must be at least 21 years old, hold a high school diploma or GED, and be able to speak, read, write, and understand English fluently. You should also have a valid passport and pass a background check and drug test.
As a Flight Attendant, you should be physically fit and able to handle the job’s demands, which include frequent standing, walking, bending, stooping, pushing, pulling, reaching, and lifting. You must also be able to use a food or beverage cart that requires a minimum of 32 pounds of force when pushing or pulling.
You should respect personal data privacy and embrace diversity in people, thinking, and styles.
Safety and security should be a top priority for both yourself and others. You must also be willing to work flexible hours, including nights, weekends, holidays, and extended hours if needed.
In addition to the basic requirements, Delta prefers candidates with one or more years of experience in jobs with similar responsibilities to those of a Flight Attendant. Completion of a degree beyond high school or GED is also preferred.
If you’re willing to relocate or commute and adapt to the job’s demands, becoming a Delta Flight Attendant could be a rewarding career choice.
American Airlines Flight Attendant Requirements
To be considered for the Flight Attendant role at American Airlines, there are certain minimum requirements that must be met.
These include the ability to fluently speak, read, and write in English, as well as the capacity to handle difficult situations and resolve complaints.
Additionally, excellent communication skills, a friendly demeanor toward all customers, and a professional appearance are also important.
This means that visible tattoos, facial or upper ear piercings, extreme hair color or style, or other potentially unprofessional physical features are not allowed while in uniform.
Furthermore, Flight Attendants must meet certain physical requirements, such as height and weight restrictions, to ensure safe operation of the aircraft.
Flight attendant candidates must also be able to work in various climates and locations across the globe and be able to work variable shifts.
Those who are selected for the role must be able to attend up to 6 weeks of unpaid training in Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas, and move immediately to the city to which they are assigned as a base.
While a high school diploma or GED equivalent is required, those with a college education or two years of customer service experience are preferred.
Prior airline experience is not necessary.
Applicants must be at least 20 years of age, possess a valid US or Foreign Passport with applicable VISAs, and must have the right to work in the United States.
It is also important to note that as a global airline, all flight crew members must possess the legal right to travel unrestricted to/from all countries that are serviced by American Airlines.
Some airlines have requested that flight attendants get vaccines to travel to specific destinations.
During the pandemic, some airlines made it mandatory for their flight attendants to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, however now these restrictions have been lifted.
So there you have it, a complete guide to flight attendant requirements.
Becoming a flight attendant is an exciting and rewarding career choice for many people. But it also requires hard work, dedication, and perseverance.
To become a flight attendant, you must meet certain requirements and possess specific skills.
But don’t let these requirements discourage you.
If you have a passion for travel, a love for people, and a desire to provide exceptional customer service, then you have what it takes to become a flight attendant.
And with the right training and guidance, you can turn your dreams into reality.
So, if you’re serious about becoming a flight attendant and want to give yourself the best chance of success, check out Future Flight Attendant’s Course & Coaching Program today!