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Flight Attendant

Flight attendants are responsible for the on-board safety of airline passengers and crew members. They assist passengers and other crew members in emergency situations and offer a variety of services to make flights as pleasant as possible for passengers.

  • Avg. Salary N/A
  • Avg. Wage N/A
  • Minimum Education High school diploma
  • Outlook N/A
Also Known As

Pursers

NOC & Interest Codes
The Flight Attendant is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Flight Attendants
NOC code: 6432.1
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 27, 2017

Prior to take off, flight attendants:

  • ensure emergency and safety equipment such as fire extinguishers, oxygen bottles and first aid kits are on board and functioning properly
  • check the general condition of the aircraft cabin and ensure all necessary supplies are on board
  • meet with the captain for a briefing on flight conditions such as anticipated weather and planned altitudes
  • find out how many passengers are booked for the flight and if any require special assistance
  • greet arriving passengers and check boarding passes
  • help passengers find their seats and ensure carry-on luggage is securely stowed
  • do a passenger head count and advise the captain
  • close entry doors
  • provide information about emergency exits and demonstrate safety features
  • ensure seat belts are properly fastened and other safety regulations are observed 
  • advise the captain that the cabin is secure
  • take designated seats for take off and review emergency procedures.

After take off, flight attendants provide a variety of services to make the flight enjoyable for passengers. Types of service depend on flight duration, weather conditions, time of day and number of flight attendants. They may:

  • distribute reading material, pillows, blankets or headphones
  • offer beverages and snacks from a tray or trolley (or serve meals on longer flights)
  • answer questions about the flight
  • make announcements (for example, regarding smoking restrictions, turbulence, descent preparations)
  • provide services for the safety and comfort of the passengers (for example, check seat-belts during turbulence, pick up refuse)
  • prepare the aircraft and passengers for landing (for example, clean and secure galley equipment, collect distributed materials, check seat belts).

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

The lead flight attendant, sometimes called the purser or in charge, is usually required to submit flight paper work. Flight attendants often spend up to half of their working hours preparing the cabin for flight, writing reports and doing other related work on the ground.

Working Conditions
Updated Mar 27, 2017

Flight attendants work in a confined and sometimes noisy working environment. The work can be physically demanding. Flight attendants spend most of a flight on their feet, move heavy galley equipment and routinely lift items weighing more than 20 kilograms. To avoid damage to their ear drums, flight attendants should seek medical attention when they are congested. They sometimes are exposed to dangerous situations.

Hours of work are irregular and duty time can be long, up to fourteen hours. Flight attendants may be away from their homes a considerable amount of time. They may experience short layover times and jet lag from time zone adjustments. Flight attendants may be members of unions.

  • Strength Required Lift over 20 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 27, 2017

Flight attendants need the following characteristics:

  • poise and good grooming
  • tact, energy, adaptability and resourcefulness
  • a safety conscious attitude and a customer service orientation
  • the ability to work well in a team environment
  • good cultural awareness.

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

Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 27, 2017

Specific hiring requirements for flight attendants vary from one airline to another but certain basic requirements are common. In general, to be employed by airlines based in Canada, flight attendants must:

  • have a valid Canadian passport
  • be in good physical health (applicants may be required to pass medical and eyesight examinations) 
  • have a high school diploma or equivalent education
  • have previous full time experience in a job involving public contact or have post-secondary education
  • be fluent in English (some airlines also require fluency in French or another langauge commonly spoken by passengers on a particular route)
  • be able and willing to relocate to any of the airline's bases
  • be able to obtain and maintain a restricted area (security) pass.

Airlines provide two to eight weeks of training specific to their operations. Training covers a wide range of subject areas, including safety and emergency procedures, fire fighting, first aid and more. After successfully completing this training, flight attendants are assigned to one of the airline's bases. Annual training updates are required.

Private vocational schools may offer pre-employment in flight training programs. Before enrolling in a program, prospective flight attendants are advised 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.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 27, 2017

In some airlines, newly hired flight attendants who have successfully completed their flight attendant training are assigned a monthly schedule. In other airlines, new flight attendants are placed in casual positions or are put on reserve assignment duty. This means they are on call 24 hours a day by telephone (although they may have 10 or more days free of duty each month).

As flight attendants gain seniority, they are awarded a monthly schedule where all flying is known in advance. Monthly schedules, vacations and choice of home base are determined on the basis of seniority.

Flight attendants may advance to supervisory positions such as purser (in flight supervisor), passenger or flight service director, or training instructor. Competition for advancement to senior positions is keen.

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 in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the Transportation and Warehousing industry)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • 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 27, 2017

Trainees are paid a training salary and may be eligible for accommodation expenses.

Wage rates increase as flight attendants gain experience. Attendants on overseas flights are paid more than those on domestic flights and large carriers generally pay more than regional and charter carriers. Some flight attendants work part time in other occupations to supplement their incomes.

Accommodation and expenses during stops away from home base usually are paid but not all airlines pay flight attendants for non-flying time. Some airlines may pay a per diem on top of a flight attendant's salary to offset the costs of overnight stays. Flight attendants usually are eligible for reduced company rates for personal travel.

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

Updated Mar 27, 2014. 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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