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Education And Training

Airlines usually look for men and women who are healthy, clean-cut, mature, dependable, and friendly. Flight attendants need to be flexible, have a positive attitude, and be ready to deal with any kind of situation. One of their most important jobs is dealing with passengers, so experience dealing with all kinds of people is very important.

A high school diploma or GED is required to get a job as a flight attendant. Most airlines like to hire people who are at least from eighteen to twenty-one years of age. Some college education is preferred, but not necessary. It's a good idea to have first-aid training and experience with public speaking. Any customer experience is good, such as waitressing or working in a hotel. Volunteer work as a tour guide or in a hospital can help to show an airline that you are skilled at working with people.

Michelle Graziano, who worked for a major airline and in corporate travel, recommends learning a second language or studying abroad. She also suggests working for an airline's frequent traveler lounge. That will give you a chance to see how the airlines work and will give you good customer service experience.

Corporate Travel: An Alternative to Airlines

Flying for the airlines is not your only option as a flight attendant. Large corporations that have their own airplanes often hire flight attendants. Michelle Graziano was a corporate flight attendant for three years. She says it's a great way to see the world. She was able to fly on a round-the-world trip once a year and had time off to explore places like China and South America. Corporate flight attendants wear beepers when on call and need to be able to get the plane ready to go on a moment's notice.

When you are ready to apply for a job at an airline, be aggressive and persistent. Michelle Graziano recommends talking to someone who already works for an airline to find out what the airline looks for when it is hiring. She may also be able to tell you what kinds of questions to expect in an interview. She also recommends going to open houses that airlines host in various cities. If the airline thinks you are a good candidate, they will fly you to their base city for an interview.

If you are hired by an airline, they will train you for four to six weeks. They teach you first aid and emergency procedures, how to deal with difficult passengers, and how to serve food and drinks. Near the end of your training you go on several practice flights.

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