The role of a flight attendant in private jets
Have you been reading about chartering a private jet, and wondered what flight attendants do aboard these flights? Or perhaps you are interested in becoming a flight attendant for private jets?
This role has fascinated and continues to attract many young and some, not so young, people, especially those inclined to the idea of traveling the world being perpetual "nomads".
Well, we took some time to cover for you what the tasks of these high end attendants are, as well as what requirements are necessary to become a flight attendant.
What is a flight attendant? and what do they do?
In the fantasies of many, the typical flight attendant still matches the image long advertised from the 90s. Tall young ladies, in plain skirts and blazers, heels, and a company hat; a picture of class, and uniform.
Fortunately, this image has expanded quite a bit. As diversity becomes an increasingly important component of our society, the requirements to become a flight attendant no longer coincide with those of being Versace models and, above all, are no longer limited to the typically female figure.
Air "hostesses" are now, in fact, increasingly matched in number by "stewards", who perform the same functions but with (considerably) different outfits, equally formal.
The guidelines of most international regulations are variable, but generally they include an estimate of one steward or hostess for every 50 passengers on board.
This means it is usually possible to find that an Airbus in which there are 200 passengers on board, is served by an incredible number of 5 or 6 employees.
Attendants must be able to coordinate and provide efficient service across the unexceptional dimensions of an aircraft.
The tasks of a flight attendant, for anyone who has flown even once, may seem rather obvious.
Helping passengers board and stowing their luggage, checking the tables are closed, serving drinks or food, reading communications, and summarizing safety measures.
Beneath this apparently "simple" work however, there are some hidden truths that make it a satisfying, but also very demanding, job.
Here are all tasks a flight attendant must perform on private (and other) jets:
- Safety briefing with the pilots before departure.
- Safety checks: status, location, and quantity of the safety equipment.
- Passenger reception (with particular care given to those with special needs).
- Assignment of passengers to the correct seats and assistance with placing their hand luggage.
- Run through of safety and emergency procedures to passengers for each flight, with demonstrations.
- Ensuring passengers near emergency exits are aware of their responsibility to react in an emergency.
- Safety checks during take-off, closed tables, luggage well stored, belts fastened for all, seats in a vertical position, armrests lowered ...
- Serving drinks and meals to passengers during the flight (even the shortest).
- Controlling the cabin for the safety of the crew, warning them in case of noises or anomalies, all the while checking on the health and safety of the pilots themselves.
- Monitoring the detection systems, such as the bathroom smoke alarm, are fully functional.
- Refilling any missing supplies (paper, glasses, water, food, bags, or other).
- Managing emergencies, such as aircraft evacuation, administering first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation with an attached defibrillator where necessary and, above all, following the procedures in the event of emergency landings and emergency cabin decompression.
- Running announcements throughout the flight.
- Ensuring safety procedures in case of turbulence.
- Verifying the safety for landing throughout the cabin.
- Clearing waste and rearranging passengers' effects in the overhead compartments.
- Controlling passengers during landing (ensuring they adhere to safety procedures).
- Assisting passengers in exiting the plane, taking particular care for those with special needs.
- Running a final check to ensure everyone is off the plane.
A hefty list, certainly.
In practical terms, this lengthy set of tasks means flight attendants must constantly walk, while always remaining alert, attentive, and scrupulous.
On top of this, it sometimes happens (or often) that some passengers do not follow the required safety procedures and, in cases like these, the flight attendant is required to maintain a smile, with calm, self-control, and complete focus on the end goal of the procedures performed.
If anyone thought of flight attendants as pleasant hostesses, able to freely enjoy the flight while looking out the window ... well. This is not the case, and if you did think so, you need to prepare yourself for some specific requirements.
How to become a flight attendant and what you need to know
If you want to take up a position as a flight attendant, you will need to comply with certain conditions.
Despite the fact that over the years, as already mentioned, the position of steward / hostess has become more "permissive", the quality standards remain very high and some questions remain essential.
Here is what it takes to become flight attendant these days, both for private jets and for airlines:
- Knowledge of foreign languages: speaking two or more languages fluently is essential to communicating effectively with passengers. Obviously, there is preference for the most common languages, such as English, Spanish, German, French, or Arabic. Often Chinese, Japanese, and other Oriental languages are also required, especially in the case of companies that see more of certain passenger demographics on board their flights;
- Interpersonal skills and excellent communication: for clarity and firmness in explaining rules and safety to passengers;
- The ability to run announcements in a calm and understandable way;
- Empathy: knowing how to instill confidence in passengers and understanding their needs is essential for the flight to run smoothly. As is leaving the passengers with a pleasant impression of the company, flight attendants are the "face" of the company. A friendly, affable personality, and the ability to work in a team certainly contributes to success in this role. Particularly as attendants work in rather contained teams, in even more contained spaces;
- Knowing how to respond to questions and complaints professionally and, if necessary, resolve any problems raised;
- Alertness to safety, identifying threats and solving problems, as well as remaining calm in emergency situations;
- The ability to work independently, with a spirit of initiative and flexibility.
Moreover, on the question of flexibility, we need to open a small parenthesis.
The role of a flight attendant, like any other "special" job, requires a great time flexibility.
People often need to work during holidays or for special events, and it can happen that they need to stay overnight in a hotel abroad just before leaving on another flight.
This means you need to be able to travel freely between countries, with a passport, be able to guarantee availability and willingness to work long periods, and of course, have the means to travel by other transportation than plane.
If the idea still inspires you, you probably have the right spirit to deal with this job, but you should make sure your decision is not made lightly.
Especially for international and very long flights, the physical toll on flight attendants is undoubtedly high.
That, and the challenge of jet lag can in the long run make your body weaker and, consequently, make it increasingly difficult to work for long periods.
Time flexibility is strongly taken into consideration by more than one company.
Some consider it preferable for you to live near the airport, as it may be easier for you to respond to emergency requests for missing personnel.
But is it worth the risk? How much do you earn as a flight attendant?
If hesitance has already come into mind, with thoughts like "will I be able to stand it?", "And what if I'm wrong?", "Is it a very hard job, is it worth it?", then you must consider the matter of compensation.
However good a job may seem, if the earnings are not commensurate with the effort, it is usually not a good job. So how much does a flight attendant earn?
An estimate of some companies in the United Kingdom list two salary medians: at first employment, at an average of 15,000-18,500 euros per year, while those with experience, range approximately from 18,000 to 25,000 euros.
Clearly, the presence of low-cost airlines to compete with leading companies has significantly contributed to the compression of wages, but they still remain decent figures ... Especially considering usually, when you need particular qualities such as knowledge more of two languages or other requirements, employment includes life insurance, company pension, and/or discount on company flights.
We sure hope these lists have helped shatter the illusion of flight attendants as “luxury waiters” aboard an airplane and, probably, you now realize how many responsibilities you would have if you aim for the job.
But if your dream remains to see multiple cities, to be in close contact with people of various character and nationalities, to care for their well-being and to be able to help them and, last but not least, to enjoy constant travel. Then becoming a flight attendant is certainly the position to aspire to, so that you can be part of a crew.
Just remember, however, that before reaching your goal, you will need to climb rather steep walls, made of certifications for each model of aircraft in which you would serve (due to ENAC safety procedures), and which mean you will require a certain amount of time, before finally soaring the skies!