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Flight Attendant

Flight attendants make sure passengers and crew are safe on flights. They offer a variety of services to make flights as pleasant as possible. They also work with other crew members to help passengers in emergencies.

  • Avg. Salary N/A
  • Avg. Wage N/A
  • Minimum Education High school diploma
  • Outlook N/A
  • Employed 2,600
  • In Demand Medium
Also Known As

Cabin Crew Members, Cabin Managers, Pursers

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Flight Attendants (6432.1) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Pursers and Flight Attendants (G712) 
  • 2011 NOC: Pursers and flight attendants (6522) 
Interest Codes
The Flight Attendant is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Flight Attendants
METHODICAL

Interest in comparing information to check the general condition of the aircraft cabin and to ensure that all necessary supplies are on board

SOCIAL

Interest in assisting passengers and attending to their safety during take-offs, landings and emergencies

objective

Interest in handling equipment to serve food and beverages and make flight announcements

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Duties
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Before take off, flight attendants:

  • make sure safety equipment is on board and working (such as fire extinguishers, oxygen bottles and first aid kits)
  • make sure all other needed supplies are on board
  • check the general condition of the cabin
  • meet with the captain for a briefing on flight conditions (such as weather and planned altitudes)
  • meet with the crew for a briefing on safety and service level (based on the planned flight time and likely conditions)
  • find out how many passengers are booked for the flight
  • find out if any require special help
  • greet passengers as they board
  • help passengers find their seats
  • make sure carry-on bags are stowed properly
  • count the number of passengers and tell the captain
  • close doors
  • show passengers the safety features, including emergency exits
  • make sure seat belts are fastened
  • make sure safety rules are observed
  • tell the captain when the cabin is secure.

After take off, flight attendants help passengers enjoy the flight. What they do depends on factors like:

  • how long the flight is
  • what the weather is like
  • what time of day it is
  • how many flight attendants are on duty.

Based on these factors, flight attendants may:

  • hand out reading material
  • hand out pillows and blankets
  • sell headphones
  • offer drinks and snacks
  • serve meals
  • answer questions
  • make announcements
  • check seat belts (during turbulence)
  • pick up garbage
  • prepare for landing (by cleaning and securing galley equipment, collecting materials they’ve handed out and rechecking seat belts)
  • sell duty-free items (on some flights).

After landing, flight attendants help passengers leave the plane safely. They tidy the cabin and check for things left behind.

The lead flight attendant is sometimes called the purser. The purser usually submits the flight paperwork.

Flight attendants may spend up to half of their working hours:

  • getting the cabin ready for flight
  • writing reports
  • doing related work on the ground.
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Flight attendants work in a confined space. It can be noisy and physically demanding. Flight attendants spend most of a flight on their feet. They move heavy galley equipment. They may be exposed to dangerous situations. Working with a cold may hurt their ears.

Work hours are irregular. Shifts can be long. Some work days last up to 14 hours. Flight attendants may be away from home for quite a while. They may have short layover times at home and then go back to work. Often there can be jet lag from going through different time zones.

  • Strength Required Lift over 20 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Flight attendants need to possess:

  • poise
  • good grooming
  • tact
  • energy
  • adaptability
  • resourcefulness
  • a safety-conscious attitude
  • a customer-service approach
  • the ability to work well on a team
  • cultural awareness.

They should enjoy having clear guidelines for their work and handling equipment. They should like helping people.

Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Hiring requirements vary from one airline to another, but certain basics are common. In general, to be employed by an airline in Canada, flight attendants must:

  • have a valid Canadian passport
  • be in good physical health (they may have to pass medical and eyesight exams)
  • have a high school diploma (or equivalent)
  • have previous full-time experience in a job involving public contact (related post-secondary education is helpful)
  • be fluent in English
  • be willing and able to move to any of the airline’s bases
  • be able to obtain and maintain a restricted area pass (for security).

Some airlines require fluency in French or another language. This depends on the route. If passengers on a route tend to speak a certain language, flight attendants should too.

Airlines provide 2 to 8 weeks of training. Training covers a wide range of subjects, including safety and emergency procedures. Flight attendants are trained to fight fires. They also need first aid and other skills. After training, flight attendants are assigned to one of the airline’s bases. They need to take training updates every year.

Private vocational schools may offer pre-employment, in-flight training programs. Before enrolling, it is a good idea to discuss training options with potential employers.

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Certification is not required, as there is currently no legislation regulating this occupation.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2018

When flight attendants are first hired, they complete their training. Some are assigned a monthly schedule. New flight attendants are often placed in casual positions. Some are put on reserve duty. This means they are on call 24 hours a day except on free days. They may have 10 or more days free of duty each month.

As flight attendants gain seniority, they are given a schedule for a month in advance. Seniority determines:

  • monthly schedules
  • vacations
  • choice of home base.

Flight attendants may advance to become a supervisor, such as a purser. Other advances include:

  • passenger director
  • flight service director
  • training instructor.

Competition for senior positions is strong.

Flight attendants are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 6522: Pursers and flight attendants. In Alberta, 95% of people employed in this classification work in the Transportation and Warehousing [pdf] industry.

The employment outlook [pdf] in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events that affect overall employment (especially in the Transportation and Warehousing industry)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities that come up when people leave existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities that come up when new positions are created)
  • size of the occupation.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Flight attendant trainees are paid a training salary. They may also be repaid for accommodation expenses.

Wages increase with experience. Attendants on overseas flights are paid more than those on domestic flights. Large carriers generally pay more than regional or charter carriers. Some flight attendants work part time at other jobs to add to their incomes.

Accommodation and expenses during stops away from home are usually paid. Not all airlines pay flight attendants for their non-flying time. Some may pay a per diem plus salary to help with the costs of overnight stays. Flight attendants usually get discounts on personal travel.

Related High School Subjects
  • Health, Recreation and Human Services
    • Tourism
  • Languages (other than English)
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Aviation
  • Personal and Food Services

Updated Mar 31, 2018. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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