What does it take to be a Flight Attendant?
The minimum requirement for flight attendants is a high school diploma, though a post-secondary degree, especially with a focus in public relations, is preferred. After being hired by an airline and passing background checks and drug tests, attendants train for six weeks to six months, depending on the country and airline requirements. Typically, they are trained at the airline's hub or headquarters and earn a Certificate of Demonstrated Proficiency after successful completion of the program.
Training focuses primarily on safety for both the crew and passengers. Attendants are trained in first aid and can perform CPR and defibrillation, when required. After training, they are able to handle minor injuries, nosebleeds, and illness. Procedures are also outlined for how to handle on-board births and deaths, dangerous liquids or gasses released into the cabin, and intoxicated passengers.
In the event of an emergency, flight attendants know how to safely evacuate passengers from the plane and fight fires. They are taught survival skills in the event of a decompression emergency or remote emergency landing in a jungle, sea, or desert environment. In many cases, attendants are also taught self-defence and even the use of deadly force in the event of a terrorist attack or hijacking.
In addition to safety training, flight attendants learn good weight-management and personal grooming procedures. While they are no longer restricted to a particular weight, attendants must maintain an appropriate weight in proportion to their height in order to work in the tight, cramped spaces on an aircraft. Height requirements are also in place to ensure attendants are able to reach safety equipment in the event of an emergency. In addition, personal grooming habits must be impeccable not only to put across a positive impression to customers, but to prevent the spread of illness and disease.
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