Today the term 'air hostess' is not as widely used as it was a decade ago. The role is essentially that of a female member of an aircraft's cabin crew, and the contemporary term is 'flight attendant' or 'cabin crew member'. For energetic, travel-loving individuals, this is a really exciting career choice that will lead to great things, and wonderful places.
The job of air hostess involves welcoming passengers on board, performing all the safety procedures prior to take off, and ensuring that passengers are made comfortable during the flight. The air hostess will often be serving in-flight meals and drinks from a trolley, helping nervous fliers, sorting out seating issues and selling duty free items. Another responsibility is making announcements on behalf of the pilot, and answering passenger questions during the flight.
To be successful as an air hostess it's important to be interested in world travel, to be very good at customer care, and to be highly sociable and good at carrying out a variety of tasks under time pressure. Many of the leading airlines such as British Airways, Emirates, Gulf Air, Virgin Atlantic and Lufthansa pride themselves on delivering service excellence, and at assessment days, when many air hostesses are recruited, these employers are looking for professional people with a positive outlook and an empathetic nature.
It also helps to have good English, cultural awareness and perhaps a second language. Recruting airlines and travel companies are looking for well-educated people to become their air hostesses – ideally with GCSEs – and most training is done in-house. Larger airlines will train their air hostesses over a six or seven week period, often in state-of-the-art cabin crew training facilities. There's a big focus on safety and emergency procedures, first aid, security and customer service.
The salary for a cabin crew member or air hostess is upwards of £16,000 depending on the airline she is employed by. Beyond the basic salary an air hostess might also be given flight pay, which is calculated according to the time spent away from home. It is usual for air hostesses to have their overnight accommodation paid for by the airline, and for meals and uniform to be provided.
Airlines tend to have specific recruitment criteria when looking for new air hostesses. For instance you're likely to need to be over 21 and within specified height and weight perameters. Often airlines stipulate that they don't want cabin crew to have visible tattoos. Personal presentation is very important in all cabin crew roles.
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