DutiesFlight attendants typically do the following:
- Attend preflight briefings on details of the flight
- Ensure that adequate supplies of refreshments and emergency equipment are on board
- Assist in cleaning the cabin between flights
- Demonstrate the use of safety and emergency equipment
- Ensure all passengers have seatbelts fastened and ensure other safety requirements are met
- Serve, and sometimes sell, beverages, meals, or snacks
- Take care of passengers’ needs, particularly those with special needs
- Reassure passengers during flight, such as when the aircraft hits turbulence
- Administer first aid to passengers or coordinate first aid efforts, when needed
- Direct passengers in case of emergency
About 1 hour before takeoff, the captain (pilot) informs attendants about evacuation procedures, the length of the flight, and weather conditions. Flight attendants must ensure that emergency equipment is working, the cabin is clean, and there is an adequate supply of food and beverages on board. Flight attendants greet passengers as they board the aircraft and direct them to their seats, assisting as needed.
Before the plane takes off, flight attendants instruct all passengers on the use of safety equipment, either by playing a video recording or demonstrating its use in person. They also ensure that seatbelts are fastened, seats are locked in the upright position, and all carry-on items are properly stowed in accordance with federal law and company policy.
A flight attendant’s most important responsibility, however, is to help passengers in the event of an emergency. This responsibility ranges from dealing with unruly passengers to performing first aid, fighting fires, and directing evacuations. Flight attendants also answer questions about the flight, attend to passengers with special needs, help anyone else needing assistance, and generally assist all passengers as needed.
Before the plane lands, flight attendants once again ensure that seatbelts are fastened, seats are locked in the upright position, and all carry-on items are properly stowed.
Before they leave the plane, flight attendants take inventory of headsets, alcoholic beverages, and payments. They also submit reports to the airline company on the condition of the cabin, as well as on any medical problems that may have occurred during the flight.
Important QualitiesAttentiveness. Flight attendants must be aware of passengers’ needs to ensure a pleasant travel experience. They must also be aware of any security or safety risks.
Communication skills. Flight attendants should speak clearly, listen attentively, and interact comfortably with passengers and other crew members.
Customer-service skills. Flight attendants should have poise, tact, and resourcefulness to handle stressful situations and meet passengers' needs.
Decision-making skills. Flight attendants must be able to act decisively in emergency situations.
Physical stamina. Flight attendants may need to lift baggage and stand and walk for long periods. They often need to conform to height and weight requirements and have vision that is correctable to at least 20/40. Flight attendants may have to pass a medical evaluation.
Flight attendants should present a professional appearance and not have visible tattoos, body piercings, or an unusual hairstyle or makeup.