Saturday, October 18, 2008

What to expect from Flight Attendant Training

$$Anxiety about new-hire flight attendant training is common once the euphoria of getting hired wears off. Don't worry! You will be trained by professionals on everything you need to know. Once hired, candidates must undergo a period of formal training. The length of training, ranging from 4 to 7 weeks, depends on the size and type of carrier and takes place in the airline's flight training center.

Flight attendant training usually takes place at the airline's training center and typically lasts from three to six weeks. Classes are usually made up of between 30 and 100 trainees and run from approximately 8:00AM to 4:30PM. Airlines that do not operate flight attendant training centers generally send new employees to the center of another airline. Airlines may provide transportation to the training centers and an allowance for board, room, and school supplies. However, new trainees are not considered employees of the airline until they successfully complete the training program. Trainees learn emergency procedures such as evacuating an airplane, operating emergency systems and equipment, administering first aid, and water survival tactics. In addition, trainees are taught how to deal with disruptive passengers and hijacking and terrorist situations.

New hires learn flight regulations and duties, company operations and policies, and receive instruction on personal grooming and weight control. Trainees for the international routes get additional instruction in passport and customs regulations. Other subjects covered during flight attendant training typically include: City Codes, 24-hour clock, Time computations adding/subtracting hours and minutes), Airline terminology, Cabin service, Company policy and procedures, Aircraft Familiarization, First Aid/CPR, Ditching, Evacuation drills/commands, Security/Bomb threats, Uniform regulations, FARs, Bidding/Reserve, Specific aircraft training, non-specific aircraft training and much more. Towards the end of their training, students go on practice flights. You can also expect about 4 training flights with real passengers where you will perform your duties under the supervision of working flight attendants. Generally you will be given tests after each segment of flight attendant training. Passing grades are typically 90%. Some airlines allow retakes. Some do not. It might also be helpful to practice airport codes (pick up a schedule) and practice adding time. You can check your answers by using the hours and minutes calculator that we have added to the site. During the second or third week, you will be asked to fill out your "dream sheet" for base assignments which will be awarded later in the program, depending upon the needs of the airline. After completing initial training, flight attendants are assigned to one of their airline's bases.

Additionally, flight attendants must receive 12 to 14 hours of annual training in emergency procedures and passenger relations. What about Flight Attendant Training Academies? We receive quite a number of emails asking whether it is beneficial to attend a flight attendant training academy. We do not recommend attending any of these schools and we have no significant proof that it helps in the application and hiring process. These schools can cost as much as $3,000 for several weeks of intense training, but much of the training is not airline specific, so procedures you might be learning will not be the same as you will learn in your airlines new-hire training program. We also have questions about what type of college one should attend to be better prepared for the flight attendant profession. Our answer here is that although a college degree is not required by most airlines, the years you spend there could work in your favor (even if you dont graduate). That is because some airlines will substitute up to two years of college for ones lack of customer service experience.

If you were to pick a major or course of study, we would recommend becoming fluent in a second language. That is the number one attribute that will put you head and shoulders above the competition at many airlines. The bottom line here is that airlines will train you in everything you need to know, so there is no need to try to do it on your own. The hardest part of the job is getting hired and anything you can do to tilt the odds in your favor will help. A second language, customer service experience, or prior flight attendant employment are all positive attributes.


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