Why should I become a stewardess?

Stewardess and flight attendant: requirements, airlines and training

Stewardess, flight attendant, cabin crew, juice push: the names for this profession are just as varied as the job itself. No day is like the other, because you can spend one day in Paris and the next in Dubai. In between there are an infinite number of flight hours, during which one cannot rest. Instead, you have to serve passengers and also ensure safety. Still, being a flight attendant is an absolute dream job.


Requirements to become a flight attendant

The requirements for becoming a flight attendant are very similar for most airlines. Of course, you have to be able to demonstrate a very good command of English with every airline. You have to bring intercultural skills to the job or be open to new cultures. You will not only live and work with people from other nations, but you will also serve them and answer their questions.

You have to be in good health for the job of a flight attendant, because you have to be able to save passengers and of course yourself in an emergency. In addition, the job is very physically demanding and you have to be very resilient. Lufthansa also sees diabetes mellitus as an exclusion criterion for the job as a flight attendant. She also demands that one must be able to meet the requirements for the youth swimming badge "Bronze". After successfully passing the first round of applications, you have to undergo a health check at all airlines. This also includes several vaccinations such as MMR, yellow fever or hepatitis B.

Great importance is also attached to a well-groomed appearance: from lipstick, to nails and to perfume. Before each flight, all flight attendants are checked to ensure that they correspond to the airline's image. This also includes being sniffed at, for example. Anyone who does not match the image, for example because they smell unpleasant, have unsanitary nails or a visible tattoo, will be sent back home. If you want to go to an open day, you should adapt your appearance to that of the cabin crew of the respective airline. At Emirates, for example, this means red lipstick, hair wrapped in a bun, a simple white blouse and a skirt that goes over the knee. In the airline comparison below, all the requirements of the individual airlines are listed again in more detail for each airline.

Flight attendant training

The duration of training for flight attendants is usually only 8-12 weeks. During this time you have to concentrate on learning everything that the airline teaches you in training, because at the end of the training there is a final exam. Some airlines terminate your employment if you fail the exam after the third attempt, because this has to ensure that all flight attendants know exactly what to do in an emergency. The most important part of the training is safety, because flight attendants are primarily responsible for this and not just for serving food, as some people wrongly believe.

Salary and airline

If you want to become a flight attendant, you are spoiled for choice. Those who are smart apply to several airlines at the same time. It is advisable to apply first for the second choice so that you get a feeling for the application process and shortly afterwards for your favorite so that there is still enough time to possibly get two acceptances. In many cases, those who fly with Lufthansa do not have to travel too long. This can be more relaxed, but then you don't see much of the world. There is a lot on offer for those who are young and independent and who dare to move to another country. Dubai, Doha and Abu Dhabi are exotic cities in which the time between flights can be tolerated. Dubai is particularly popular with younger people, as life is raging here and you can go to all kinds of parties. Like Dubai, Doha and Abu Dhabi also offer countless opportunities for shopping and dining, but things are a lot quieter here.

Advantages and disadvantages of the job

To travel around the world and to have a multicultural circle of friends sounds very romantic at first, but every job has its downsides. On YouTube you can find some flight attendants who have their own channel and talk about their everyday life.

Turnaround vs. Layover

Depending on the airline you work for, you will be assigned a certain number of layover and turnaround flights every month. Turnaround flights are mostly short distances where you fly to a destination, stop there briefly and then fly back again. This means that you have actually not seen anything of the country to which you have flown. Anyone who works for Emirates as a flight attendant or stewardess flies an average of 35% of all flights as a turnaround. These are usually flights to neighboring Qatar, India or Pakistan. Layover flights are more interesting. On these flights, you have a legally required stay of at least 24 hours to rest. Of course you have to rest after a long flight, but you also have time in the 24 hours to see the city.

Physical exertion and periods of rest

With long-haul flights you have to agree with the other flight attendants about taking a break. This means that you will then have no regular breaks. Of course, your feet quickly hurt. Back problems can also plague one or the other flight attendant, as you have to bend over a lot while working. In addition, the clocks for flight attendants turn differently. A flight can leave at 8 a.m. and then you have to get up at 5 a.m. The next flight can then be a night flight again. Of course, this upsets the internal clock and periods of rest are therefore an absolute must. It can therefore also happen that you just have five days off every now and then. During this time you should really try to recharge your batteries, otherwise you can suffer from burnout very quickly.

Holidays vs. the most beautiful places in the world

Regardless of whether it's the weekend, New Year's Eve, Christmas, Easter or your best friend's birthday: as a flight attendant, you can't choose when you want to work. Of course, if you want to fly home at Christmas, you have to take a vacation. Since this time is very popular, it is not possible for everyone in the aviation industry. But you can have a nice time in London, Hong Kong, Sydney, Cape Town or anywhere else the airline flies to.

Get to know nice people vs. deal with unfriendly passengers

As a flight attendant you are always among people and of course this has its advantages and disadvantages. Anyone who works for Emirates, Etihad or Qatar Airlines also lives with a roommate in a provided apartment in either Dubai, Abu Dhabi or Doha. The great thing about the job is that you work with like-minded people and peers from the start of training. This creates a lot of friendships all by itself and you are usually never alone. On the other hand, you always have to keep a cool head at work, because you can't avoid unfriendly passengers so quickly on an airplane. Unfortunately, some passengers do not behave really well towards flight attendants and sometimes get louder if they are not satisfied with the service.

Assessment Center, Interview & Open Day

Flight attendant is a real dream job, but not everyone manages to successfully pass the assessment center. For some it is the knowledge of English, for others it is the nerves and still others simply do not prepare.

What is the process of a flight attendant interview at Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways?

The application process for flight attendants from these three airlines is usually very similar. Here are the steps:

Step 1: The online application

First of all, it must be checked whether the applicant meets all the requirements for the profession of flight attendant. To do this, you fill out an online form and upload your English résumé, a cover letter as well as profile and full-body photos. Alternatively, you just have to register online and bring your application documents and photos with you to the first day of the Open Day.

The general requirements include:

  • Age: You have to be at least 21 years old when starting the job (you can usually apply six months earlier)
  • Have a high school degree: Technical diploma, Abitur or Matura
  • Arm reach of approx. 212cm (standing on tiptoe)
  • Minimum size of 1.60m

tip: Put great emphasis on good photos. It is not only the on-site HR managers who decide whether you will get ahead or not on the Open Day, but also the decision-makers in the respective country. They will assess you based on the written assessment by the HR team on the Open Day and your photos. So invest in a photo shoot with a photographer of your choice. Profile photos and photos of your whole body are required. Dress up, but look natural. This is not about fun or model photos, but about what attitude you do. Men should wear a suit and women should wear a skirt, blouse and blazer. Don't forget to smile too!

Step 2: Open Day - First day

Assessment Center: Now it's time to get down to business. In most cases, both application days are set on the weekend so that working applicants can also take part. Depending on the location, the Open Day usually starts very early in the morning (around 7 a.m.). You absolutely have to avoid being late, because if you can't even be on time for the interview, you will probably miss flights and leave immediately without even being able to introduce yourself. So the most important thing: go to bed early and try to rest the day before. The first day is the most strenuous and can easily last more than 12 hours. You will spend most of the time waiting, but be vigilant here too, because you are also being observed during this time. Have a quiet conversation with fellow applicants, but don't be too loud or even disturb the other applicants.

What to wear:

  • 🚹 Gentlemen: Comes in a suit, shaved, with clean nails and some perfume on
  • 🚺 Women: A white blouse, skirt that goes above the knee and a blazer, minimal makeup and the hair back, nail polish in a neutral color and some perfume. I orientate myself on the style of the flight attendants

How does the first day go:

  • Registration / registration: Introduce yourself to the HR team of the respective airline. There you have to submit your CV, if necessary a cover letter and the required photos
  • The first assessment: Very briefly you will be asked why you would like to become a flight attendant and why you decided on this particular airline (at Qatar Airways, based on these two questions, it is already decided whether you will be invited to the next day or not)
  • Arm range test and minimum height: It is checked whether you actually have a range of 212 cm and whether you are at least 1.60 m tall
  • English test: All non-native speakers are required to take an English test
  • Group discussion: You get introduced to a certain topic that you have to talk about. This is not about who knows the most, but how you communicate and whether you are good with people (teamwork). Don't interrupt anyone or get louder just to add your mustard. Every airline wants flight attendants who are good at talking to people, but who don't play unnecessarily. For example, praise your colleagues when they have a good idea and also use their names. It is just as important here: think first, then talk
  • Role play: The purpose of the role play is to see how you would react in certain flight situations. Either one of the HR team takes on the role of the passenger or an applicant. The other takes on the role of the flight attendant and he has to solve a problem. The following formula can help you solve a problem with a passenger: 1. Show understanding and apologize; 2. Make a proposal for a solution; 3. Assure the passenger that you will check back to see if the problem has actually been resolved

Example group discussion

  • 🚣🏽 “You are one of 12 people who are on a sinking ship. There is only one lifeboat, which only has space for 8 people. Decide within 15 minutes who should be rescued. "

Tip 1: The Open Day only takes place in certain cities. So if you don't live within an hour, you should book a hotel room nearby for the night before.

Tip 2: While you're waiting, you can't just go outside and buy something to eat. The risk of missing your stake is far too great. So take a large bottle of water and something to eat with you.

Step 3: Face-to-Face Interview - Day Two

At Qatar Airways you only have to take the English test, the group discussion and the role play on the second day. At Emirates and Etihad Airlines, the second day belongs to the face-to-face interview. Those who have made it this far will be given a time for their interview the day before. Now you will no longer be observed at close range, but will have to answer specific questions. The interview with the HR team usually doesn't take longer than half an hour, but it can take an eternity if you're too nervous. So stay calm because you've made it this far. Preparation is everything.

tip: Keep in touch with the competition. It may well be that you will work with these later, or at least complete the training. With a WhatsApp or Facebook group you can also find out who already knows whether they have managed to become a flight attendant or not. That creates certainty.

Step 4: wait and see

If you've made it this far, you can pat yourself on the shoulder: Well done! Since the assessments and your application documents are handed over to the headquarters of the respective airline, it can take a while before you get informed whether you have the job or not. Remember that not only the application for your location is checked at the headquarters, but all applications for flight attendants of the airline worldwide - so be patient.

Photo Credits: The Emirates Group, Qatar Airways

Marlene Schimanski is the founder and editor-in-chief of Career abroad. She has already lived in five different countries (Portugal, Iceland, Austria, Ireland and Australia) and emigrated to Australia in 2013. She worked for PwC and KPMG in Global Mobility before she went freelance as an English translator and career coach. She holds a Masters degree in International Business Administration.