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Air cabin crew Flight attendant

Air cabin crew look after airline passengers, making sure they have a safe, comfortable and pleasant flight.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £12,000 to £30,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 30 to 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • to be at least 18 (21 for some airlines)
  • GCSEs (or equivalent) at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) in English and maths
  • a good level of fitness and the ability to swim
  • colour-normal vision
  • a valid passport with no restrictions for the countries the airline travels to

You’ll also need clearance from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) .

You'll find it useful to have experience in a customer service role. It may also help if you can speak a second language.

You could also get into this job through an apprenticeship.

Careers that Move has information and advice about careers in the passenger transport and travel industries.

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • excellent communication skills
  • a polite but firm approach
  • the ability to stay calm under pressure 
  • number skills for handling money
  • team-working skills

3. What you'll do

Before a flight you could be:

  • taking part in a meeting about the flight and its schedule 
  • checking that there are enough supplies on the plane and that emergency equipment is working properly
  • greeting passengers
  • demonstrating emergency equipment and procedures 

During a flight you might be:

  • making sure passengers are comfortable 
  • serving food and drinks, and selling duty-free items
  • making announcements 
  • reassuring passengers in the event of an emergency, and making sure they follow safety procedures

At the end of a flight you'll often be:

  • making sure passengers leave the plane safely
  • writing a flight report, including about any unusual incidents
  • adding up and recording food and drink orders, and duty-free sales

4. Salary

Starter: £12,000 to £14,000

Experienced: £15,000 to £21,000

Highly Experienced: £30,000

You could earn more with overtime work and flight allowances.

Some airlines offer free or discounted flights to cabin crew staff and their families.

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You'll work shifts that include weekends, nights and public holidays. The amount of time you'll spend away from home will depend on the flight routes you choose to work on.

The work can be physically demanding, and you'll spend time working in small spaces like the kitchen galley.

The airline will provide you with a uniform.

6. Career path and progression

With experience, you could progress to cabin crew supervisor or a senior air cabin crew role.

You could also work in a ground-based role like cabin crew training, recruitment, passenger services, marketing or sales.

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Last updated: 07 June 2017