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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. In emergencies, they work with other crew members to help passengers.

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) 
  • 2016 NOC: Pursers and flight attendants (6522) 
Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Flight Attendants

2006 NOC: 6432.1

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group
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

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

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 for this NOC group 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 About Interests

Abilities

Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Duties
Updated Apr 11, 2022

Before takeoff, flight attendants:

  • Ensure safety equipment, such as fire extinguishers, oxygen bottles, and first aid kits, is on board and working
  • Ensure 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 planned flight time and likely conditions
  • Determine the number of passengers booked for the flight
  • Identify any who require special help
  • Greet passengers as they board
  • Help passengers locate their seats
  • Make sure carry-on bags are stowed properly
  • Count the number of passengers and tell the captain
  • Close doors
  • Demonstrate safety features, including emergency exits, to passengers
  • Ensure passengers fasten their seat belts
  • Ensure passengers observe safety rules
  • Tell the captain when the cabin is secure

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

  • Length of flight
  • The weather
  • Time of day
  • Number of flight attendants 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 (clean and secure galley equipment, collect items they’ve handed out, and recheck 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 Apr 11, 2022
  • Strength Required Lift over 20 kg

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 encounter dangerous situations. Working with a cold may hurt their ears.

Work hours are irregular. Shifts can be long. Some workdays last up to 14 hours. Flight attendants may be away from home for several days. They may have short layover times at home and then go back to work. Recurrent jet lag (from going through many time zones repeatedly) can affect some workers’ health.

Traits & Skills
Updated Apr 11, 2022

Flight attendants need:

  • A calm and professional presence (poise)
  • Good personal grooming
  • Tact when dealing with passengers
  • Stamina and energy
  • The ability to adapt
  • Resourcefulness
  • A safety-conscious attitude
  • A customer-service approach
  • The ability to work well on a team
  • An awareness of cultural differences

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

Educational Requirements
Updated Apr 11, 2022
  • Minimum Education High school diploma

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

  • Have a valid Canadian passport
  • Be in good physical health, to pass medical and vision exams
  • Have a high school diploma or equivalent
  • Have previous full-time experience in a job involving contact with the public (related post-secondary education may be an asset)
  • Speak English fluently
  • 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 in Canada require bilingualism in English and French. Others might consider fluency in many other languages as well as English to be an asset. 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 receive training to fight fires, apply first aid, and other skills, which they update every year. After training, the airline assigns those who have completed the training successfully to one of its bases.

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.

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Apr 11, 2022
  • Certification Not Regulated

There is currently no provincial legislation regulating this occupation in Alberta.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Apr 11, 2022

Upon hiring, flight attendants take their training. Some airlines assign a monthly schedule. New flight attendants often work in casual positions. Some must work reserve duty—they are on call 24 hours a day except free days. They may have 10 or more free days each month.

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

  • Monthly schedules
  • Vacations
  • Choice of home base

Flight attendants may advance to a supervisory position, such as purser. Or they move up to:

  • Passenger director
  • Flight service director
  • Training instructor

Competition for senior positions is strong.

Industry Concentration

This section shows the industries where the majority of people in this occupation work. The data is based on the 2016 Census.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups.

In the 6522: Pursers and flight attendants occupational group, 95.4% of people work in:

Employment Outlook

Employment outlook is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Time of year (for seasonal jobs)
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation
  • Trends and events that affect overall employment, especially in the industry or industries from the previous list

In Alberta, the 6522: Pursers and flight attendants occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 39 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Note
NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

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

Wage & Salary
Updated Apr 11, 2022

Flight attendant trainees receive a training salary. The airline may repay them for hotel and meal expenses while away.

Wages increase with experience. Overseas flights pay more than domestic flights. Large carriers pay more than regional or charter carriers. Some attendants take other part-time jobs to add to their incomes.

Most airlines repay hotel and meal expenses during stops away from home, but not all pay for non-flying time. Some pay a per diem on top of salary for the overall costs of overnight stays. Flight attendants usually get discounts on personal travel with the airline they work for.

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Aviation
  • Personal and Food Services

Updated Mar 31, 2022. 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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