How to apply for a flight attendant job

There are several ways to apply for a flight attendant job. Gone are the days when applicants would go to the local ticket counter to get an application, to mail it in and wait for an interview. It is much simpler now, but the competition is even stiffer.

The process may begin by mailing a resume directly to the airline, but there are several other resourceful ways to apply for a flight attendant position. In the age of technology, job application has been streamlined for the convenience of both the applicant and human resource departments.

The newest of these advances is screening through the Internet. Online flight attendant job applications have become commonplace now, due to the convenience and accuracy it affords. Most airlines now have their own websites, and interested job seekers can easily apply via online application or email.

Another advance in the technology of interviewing flight attendants is the telephone interview. Some airlines offer a phone number that is either given out by the airline’s reservations department or listed in a local newspaper ad. Upon calling this number, the applicant is given a comprehensive job summary and some information about the airline, then asked to electronically submit name, address, phone number and to answer a number of questions geared to determine the suitability of the applicant.

These questions are usually of the behavioral type, and involve customer service scenarios. Recruiters or human resource people then examine the answers to conclude whether or not they are interested in further pursuit of the applicant for an interview.

Most frequently, the application process begins with attendance at an open house interview. Airlines place newspaper ads in cities from which they wish to hire, and hold open house interviews a few days later.

These sessions are held all over the airline’s system, usually at hotels close to the airport. They can be conducted at various times of the day - morning, afternoon or evening - in order to facilitate adequate attendance.

The open house is, by far, the quickest way to meet and talk with the recruiters face-to-face. This type of screening is usually conducted as a group interview. Resumes will be collected at the door, and after everyone is seated, the recruiter will give a short presentation about what it is like to work as a flight attendant for that company.

Then each applicant is asked to come to the front of the room and give a brief statement describing his or her background and work history. The statement should be interesting but kept to a minimum - no longer than 2 minutes - and should contain information as it relates to the flight attendant job, including any previous customer service experience.

Sometimes applicants will be provided with scenarios relating to job situations, followed by a quiz. This is to determine the applicants’ problem solving and/or test taking skills. Some airlines also give brief psychological testing as well.

After all applicants have given their presentation to the group, the airline may discreetly ask selected individuals to stay or come back at a later time for a second interview; this interview may be conducted at the same place initial interview was held, or the applicant may be sent a ticket to fly to the airline’s home base and interviewed there.

The second interview usually consists of individual questioning, sometimes in front of a panel; it can even include more group interviews, as the airline may want to see how applicants work with others to solve problems, and to see which applicants emerge as leaders.

Smaller airlines may skip the open house interview and simply interview applicants individually. A recruiter or member of inflight may come to the applicant’s city or fly the applicant to the airline’s home base. These airlines also use behavioral-type questions, and can be even choosier in the selection process because they employ fewer people.

The timing of the airline’s response to applicants after interviews can depend on when they need people and how great the demand. The airline will inform those whom they are interested in pursuing, and it is not advisable for applicants to try to call the airline for an update on their hiring status. Be patient and professional. You may have to wait 6 months or a year before reapplying to an airline, but if you are still interested after that time, don’t hesitate to apply again.

As you can see, there are several ways to apply for a flight attendant position. The important thing is to be persistent and apply with several airlines until you find the one that is the right match for you. Remember – just as the airline is finding out all about you in the interview, it is your chance to find out all you can about the airline as well. Attending an interview has never been easier, so go for the gold and apply often!

---By Wendy Stafford, a former flight attendant and president and senior consultant at Airline Inflight Resources, a professional interview coaching company devoted exclusively to airlines. Visit her website at

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