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Job description: what does a flight attendant do?
Flight attendants work for the various companies involved in passenger air traffic and are essentially responsible for two areas of responsibility during a flight: for safety before and during the flight and for service on board. They are the first point of contact for passengers when it comes to special requests or problems, and they ensure that the flight is comfortable and safe for all passengers.
Flight attendants take action even before take-off by checking the cabin’s condition and preparing for onboard service. They check that the cabin has been cleaned, that newspapers and magazines are ready, and that the meals have been delivered. Before the flight, each cabin member is assigned their respective area of responsibility so that the service can take place in a well-coordinated manner. The flight attendants are also responsible for greeting the boarding passengers and the help they may need to find a seat, whereby special attention must be paid to children traveling alone or people with physical disabilities. Before take-off, cabin members must check that the luggage is securely stowed, the seat belts are correctly fastened, and the backrests are upright. To guarantee the best possible safety, they give passengers multilingual instructions on how to behave in emergencies, for example, on using the oxygen masks in the event of a pressure drop in the cabin or on using the life jackets and emergency slides in the event of a ditching.
After take-off, the flight attendants begin with the onboard service. Depending on the duration of the flight, this includes the serving of drinks and cold or warm meals and, if necessary, the preparation of the meals delivered by the catering service in the onboard kitchen. The tasks of flight attendants also include clearing and collecting waste after the service and the sale of duty-free goods on some flights. On intercontinental flights, they are also responsible for handing out entry forms or customs declarations.
After landing, they say goodbye to the passengers, open the doors and check the cabin for forgotten objects. If there are unscheduled incidents during the flight, such as bad weather or a changed flight route, flight attendants inform the passengers and are available to answer any questions.
Flight attendant responsibilities and requirements
Flight attendants are exposed to particular physical and psychological demands due to their special work environment. They often work shifts at night and have to adjust to different time zones on long-haul flights. The specific noise level in the machine, the frequent standing, and the lifting of baggage make it necessary to be in good physical condition.
Flight attendants should have a high degree of service orientation and a contact-friendly nature. This is because they are the first point of contact for the passenger and the respective airline representative. For this reason, a well-groomed appearance is also essential. Furthermore, to be attentive to the different wishes and needs of the passengers and always appear diplomatic and friendly even in difficult situations, for example, in conflicts among the passengers, are essential basic qualifications of flight attendants.
You should have a high degree of flexibility and mental resilience to react thoughtfully to unexpected events, for example, if a passenger has medical problems or reacts in a panic due to his fear of flying. Intercultural competence and a perfect command of the English language are also required, as flight attendants constantly encounter international passengers, adapt to their special requirements, and communicate with them linguistically.
Responsible and independent work is just as crucial for the flight attendant profession as integrating into a constantly changing team. It is therefore always made up of very different personalities. In dangerous and stressful situations, flight attendants should be able to act deliberately and inform passengers in a controlled and assertive manner about the procedure and initiate the necessary measures. Interest in foreign countries and cultures, a certain fascination for flying, and enjoyment of direct contact with people round off the requirement profile of the demanding profession of a flight attendant.