Once referred to as airline stewardesses and stewards, these airline employees are generally now called “flight attendants.” They serve food and beverages, help passengers with special needs, make announcements, enforce safety regulations and assist in all types of emergencies. Flight attendants need at least a high school education plus special airline training and Federal Aviation Administration certification. Because competition for jobs is keen, the airlines often give preference to those who exceed the basic qualifications.
To become a flight attendant, you have to be at least 18 years old — and have a high school diploma or the equivalent. You also must qualify to work in the South Africa and have a valid passport. You’ll need 20/40 vision or better with correction — and will have to pass a medical exam and a background check. Airlines also have height requirements, as flight attendants must be able to reach the overhead bins.
Personality and Appearance
A flight attendant needs good communication and customer service skills to deal with passengers effectively. This means you’ll need patience and attentiveness along with good listening skills. The airlines do not want applicants with piercings or tattoos that they cannot hide with clothing. They look for neat and conservative makeup, grooming and hairstyles.
Training and Certification
The airlines give new hires three to six weeks of training at an airline training center. The topics of study include emergency procedures, first aid, work duties, regulations and airline company operations. At the end of training, student attendants take practice flights before passing a proficiency examination to receive the Federal Aviation Administration Certificate of Demonstrated Proficiency. This certification is good only on the specific equipment used in training. Flight attendants need to complete new training to work on any additional type of aircraft. To maintain FAA certification, you’ll need to take periodic retraining throughout your time with the airline.