7 attributes you need to succeed as a Flight Attendant

There are certain attributes needed to become successful in the commercial aviation industry as a Flight Attendant. While many may believe the job to be as simple as slinging drinks and helping customers find their seats – the job requires much more than that – here are the top 7 attributes to make you a successful flight attendant.

Patience

As a Flight Attendant, you will need to have patience, and lots of it and with lots of different people and groups, ranging from customers to your very own company. As a Flight Attendant, you will often receive lots of the same questions on the same flight from different customers, requiring you to often repeat yourself more than you want to. Be able to answer questions accurately and quickly or finding the best answer to those questions will make you a better a flight attendant. In the same very note, it will be important to acknowledge when you just don’t have the answer to all the questions and let customers know where they can find the answer to their needs. Customers are much quicker to remember and be willing to negatively write in regarding misinformation, especially if it causes them delay or disruption, than to remember an accurate answer. Being prepared to respond to the many types of customer inquiries requires patience.

Just as you’ll need to have patience with your customers – you’ll need to have patience with your company, most importantly during times of irregular operations (IROPs). During this time, your Crew Services (CS) team will often be working hard to staff flights where they can while simultaneously handling cancellations and modifications. That means they’ll be trying to reroute crews onto flights that are operating to get them to reconnect with their original pairing or move reserve flight attendants to other stations and bases to reduce disruptions in the system. At the same time, Crew Accommodations will be working diligently to get displaced crewmembers into hotel rooms so they can be rested and prepared for their next day. When you understand the many moving parts of running an airline, especially during irregular operations you will have more patience when your days do not go as planned.

Team Player

In the same way a Flight Attendant is expected to be independent – you’re expected to be a team player and be capable of doing well in teamwork-oriented environments. A great Flight Attendant should never come to a decision on their own on or off the plane – whenever possible, you should speak to and seek the advice of other certified Flight Attendants to make sure the decision you’re coming to will likely yield the best results.

Teamwork is the very definition of a crew – have you ever-noticed how cohesive flight crew tends to be? That’s because as Flight Attendants, you must come to realize that after you close the boarding door, you and your crew are one. You must come to decisions as one and you must back another up as one single team. A combative customer is much more likely to calm themselves once they understand and see the cohesiveness of an entire crew. And it makes it more difficult to question the actions of an entire crew when everyone believes the decision you all have come to as a team, is the best one presented at that moment. Remember! Crew means Teamwork, and Teamwork makes a great Crew! When a crew works as a team they will experience a much smoother and enjoyable trip regardless of what challenges they may face.

Adaptability

As a Flight Attendant, you’re going to be working in an industry with so many moving parts – you’re just one piece of many that makes the puzzle we call the commercial aviation industry work.

What that means is that you’ll often run into unexpected surprises. From last minute maintenance delays, to outstation cancellations, customer disruptions, or weather systems that make what you thought would be a short and easy day into an extended duty day. As a Flight Attendant, you’ll learn that any plans you make are tentative on your day going right – and your friends and family will need to adapt to this new lifestyle with you. It’s important to remember that while your scheduled flights may not come in contact with forecasted weather systems, you have to be mindful of what your aircraft is doing upline or earlier in the day because every delay can carry consequences for the rest of the day. This is why making up time anywhere you can is so important in the aviation industry.

And delays are just one part of the disruption structure in the aviation industry – cancellations make up the other part of it; and they can happen anywhere, anytime, for an unforeseen reason. Most commonly, cancellations are a result of expected weather delays or unexpected maintenance delays in which an immediate replacement part or aircraft may not be immediately available.. Oftentimes, these last minute disruptions mean your potential plans are on hold until you reach your intended destination sometimes after the plans you were hoping to be a part of are over. Being able to adapt quickly to unpleasant schedule changes and delays is an attribute every flight attendant should embrace.

Communication

As a Flight Attendant – communication is fundamental to your success. You must be able to communicate well within your crew, with the flight deck, with customers, and with your company. This is a major function of what a cabin crewmember does.

When you’re on the aircraft, it’ll be necessary to communicate with your fellow crewmembers regarding specific customers; including concerns or requests they may have voiced to you. Above all, communications regarding disruptive customers and your intentions on how to quell the situation is very important – these “huddles” ensure you approach issues with uniformity and appear unified – unification instills confidence into your crew and leaves little room for questioning on decisions made within the cabin.

You’ll often find yourself communicating with the flight deck on your “cabin write ups” in which you report to the Captain any issues within the cabin such as inoperative entertainment screens, broken seats, or other maintenance related issues. This communication becomes especially important when communicating with the pilots regarding ill passengers as the pilots will offer you information as they receive it from your company’s medical emergency service. Being able to push and pull information from the cockpit and cabin can be life and death for the individual experiencing the emergency.

This attribute will also be very important when you communicate with your company’s crew services team to discuss contractual rest and removal. The airline industry operates as smoothly as it does only because of the clear, universal communication we use. It’ll be important for you to learn the language that the industry commonly uses to ensure efficient and effective communication.

Tact

As with any job in which you’re expected to encounter the general public, especially in those which you’ll meet many different people with varying reasons for using the service and vastly different personalities, it’ll be very important to develop the ability to be tactful in what you say. Individuals who are outgoing generally will find this easier than those whom aren’t – you have to remember to be careful of what you say, who you say it front of, and how you go about saying what you are trying to communicate. From the very words you’re using to the very natural facial expressions you give off – mastering this attribute will serve to reduce conflicts, de-escalate situations, and make your day much more pleasant. We must assume that our interactions with others could possibly be recorded and if we are tactful in those interactions we will not be embarrassed if they make their way online for the world to see.

Punctuality

Within the airline industry, everything works on a set time. Every single minute counts and minutes wasted equate to money lost. That’s why as a Flight Attendant, it’s going to be very important you be able to arrive and report on time, every time. The company and its customers are relying on you to do so in order for the flight to board on time, depart from the gate early or on time, and finally arrive on time at the scheduled destination.

Delays costs the airlines lots of money; usually in the form of fines. But delays also have a domino affect; an aircraft that is late leaving from the gate will likely delay an arrival from parking at that same gate, sitting idle burning fuel as it waits for the delayed flight to pushback. And all of this can occur because a Flight Attendant fails to report on time to the gate which delays the boarding process.

Dependability

Finally, one of the most important attributes to have as a Flight Attendant is dependability. It ties into punctuality but dependability refers to the bigger picture. You must have a dependable work ethic and personality to be successful in this industry. Your company relies on you to report to your scheduled flights.

Now – this doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to get sick. In fact, Flight Attendants are the most prone to becoming sick in this industry because of the innumerous number of health threats you’ll come across. As you begin your career as a Flight Attendant, you will especially experience a decline in your immune system’s ability to fight off infections like the flu or common cold as your body becomes acclimated and builds defenses to the toxins and bacteria commonly found in the commercial cabins today.

Dependability, though, can mean offering your company adequate notice that you are sick and unable to operate your scheduled flights (for most companies the time they request is at least 2-4 hours to call in a reserve flight attendant to fill in on your behalf). Dependability means reporting to work with all your required items but it can is can also be something as simple as remembering to bring customers their requested service items.

Airlines will monitor your dependability at all stages of your career, but the first 6 months offer them the best glimpse as to how reliable and dependable you will be. It’s imperative that you do your best to minimize disrupting your schedule during these probation periods and show your employer that you are a punctual and dependable flight attendant.

Conclusion

Overall, there are many qualities that make up a great Flight Attendant. These are just some of the most important ones that will ensure that you are set up for success!. Work on mastering these important attributes and traits and you’ll be well on your way to a comfortable and exciting career as a professional Flight Attendant!



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