Air hostesses, also called flight attendants, are responsible for thousands of peoples' lives each week. Their responsibilities run from demonstrating safety procedures to serving meals and drinks. Some even help nervous passengers relax, such as when turbulence is high. They also perform administrative duties for their captains and employers. You must be highly attentive and friendly to perform the job of air hostess, and you need excellent communication and customer service skills.
You would be responsible for ensuring all passengers are seated and secure before takeoffs and landings as an air hostess. Your duties would also include securing the main door on flights and instructing passengers on all safety procedures. Safety procedures usually include demonstrating the use of oxygen masks and flotation devices, such as passenger cushions. You would also cover evacuation procedures during emergency landings or crashes, apprising passengers of all exits. Additionally, an air hostess ensures that all cabin equipment is working before flights.
Air hostesses are expected to provide exceptional customer service during flights, as the airline business is highly competitive. Your service duties would include passing out pillows and reading materials before takeoff. You may also provide special services, such as getting booster seats for toddlers or escorting elderly passengers on and off the plane. You would also serve drinks, snacks and meals on some flights, and collect trays, trash and glasses before landing.
An air hostess is also responsible for counting inventory before and after flights, and then reconciling payments received with items sold. You would also report any incidentes that occurred during flights, including medical emergencies. Air hostesses are required to learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation procedures, or CPR, during training, according to the BLS. Any first aid help you provide also would be reported to your captain and airline company. You may also report on the condition of the cabin before and after a flight.
You must like to travel if you choose the career of air hostess. Hours may be highly irregular, and you may work weekends and evenings. These professionals also spend significant amounts of time away from their families. You would spend about 75 to 90 hours per month in the air, according to the BLS, and 50 hours monthly performing administrative duties at airport terminals helping passengers with flight information or writing reports.
Education and Training
A high school degree or GED is usually sufficient for air hostess jobs. But your job opportunities are greater with a bachelor's degree in hospitality, communications or tourism. After graduating, you would spend three to six months training -- both in the classroom and on planes. Learning a foreign language is a requirement if you travel internationally. And, air hostesses who work for U.S. companies must be certified by the Federal Aviation Administration after training, according to the BLS.
Salary and Benefits
Air hostesses earned average annual salaries of $41,720 as of May 2011, according to the BLS. You would make over $62,470 per year if you are in the top 10 percent of earnings. And, your benefits may include medical insurance, paid time off, a retirement plan and discounts on flights and travel.
2016 Salary Information for Flight Attendants
Flight attendants earned a median annual salary of $48,500 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, flight attendants earned a 25th percentile salary of $39,860, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $62,490, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 116,600 people were employed in the U.S. as flight attendants.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Flight Attendants
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment Statistics: Flight Attendants
- CareerPlanner.com: Flight Attendant
- StateUniversity.com: Airline Flight Attendant Job Description, Career as an Airline Flight Attendant, Salary, Employment - Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job
- Diploma Guide: Becoming a Flight Attendant: Job Description and Salary Info
- Education-Portal.com: Airline Stewardess: Job Description and Training Information
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Flight Attendants
- Career Trend: Flight Attendants