When you apply for an airline and finally get through the interview stage and accepted – there is just one more hurdle in getting your dream job – the medical. Our resident Cabin Crew Consultant Patricia Green explains what to expect.
The medical is always a worry for so many new cabin crew
, who are concerned about what to expect and what potentially they could fail the medical on. There is very little information out there, so here is a short guide to the airline medical procedures for cabin crew.
Most airlines in the UK have a basic medical for all cabin crew and this relies on your honesty, when filling in the medical form. Cabin crew
have to be ‘fit to fly’ on a daily basis and limited sick days are allowed. If you go over the number of sick days allowed, inevitably you will be asked to leave as you are not fit to fly, so please bear that in mind.
In the next few years, it will become a legal requirement for all cabin crew to have a medical similar to that of pilots, usually a ‘Class 2’. This will then meet the new European standards.
At the present time the UK medical for cabin crew consists of:
- A medical form/declaration of health to fill in, declaring any pre-existing conditions or medications used and illnesses/operations etc. within the last 2 years. There are also general questions about your health for example: Do you suffer from migraines? Is there a family history of cancer or heart problems? How much do you smoke or drink in a week?
- At the medical (usually at the company’s own medical centre) your height and weight will be checked.
- You will have to provide a urine sample, so you can be tested for diabetes and drug/alcohol substances. Please be aware that during your flying career you may be tested at anytime for drugs or alcohol and if you fail the test, you may well lose your job – so just something to be aware of.
- Your ears and hearing will be checked, along with your eyes and sight, the minimum vision has to be 6/9.
- You may have to show any birthmarks or scars and these are made a note of, mostly for identification purposes.
- Blood pressure will also be checked along with lung function (by blowing into a device) and heart rate.
- You may be asked to lift a heavy item, reach to a certain height or bend to a certain position. This is because in the cabin you will be moving heavy carts at altitude, often on ascent and this is hard work! You have to be able to lift over 20 kg, to remove an over-wing exit too. The reach test is so that you are able to reach emergency equipment in the overhead lockers.
- Finally, you will have to have selected immunizations, if you do not have them already – tetanus, polio, tuberculosis, yellow fever – that’s just for starters!
In the EU, the licensing authorities are slightly stricter, so you will have to have a more thorough medical including an ECG to test your heart rate and check for abnormalities. The EU asks for all cabin crew
to have a ‘Class 2’ medical and this will also apply to the UK in a few years time as it is currently being phased in.
Medicals in the EU will sometimes be offered by your company’s own medical centre, however you may have to attend a local private clinic for your medical (which can be expensive and sometimes these costs are at your own expense) or you may have to see a doctor of aviation medicine – which can be quite difficult to find.
In the UAE, they probably have the strictest medical of all – this is mainly due to the huge influx of people heading to the UAE to find work and the medical requirements must be passed to allow a residence permit and a work permit.
In the UAE, a cabin crew medical consists of:
- Chest X- ray
- Dental check and teeth X-ray
- HIV test
- Blood test – for abnormalities and liver function as well as evidence of drugs/alcohol
- Hepatitis C blood test
- Haemoglobin blood count
- ECG – heart examination and check of rhythm
- Blood pressure test
- Lung function test
- Eye sight and hearing tests
- Urine test ( for diabetes, drugs and alcohol)
- Cervical smear (if applicable)
- Height and weight
- Vaccinations – you will be required to have vaccinations such as polio, tetanus, tuberculosis, meningitis, yellow fever, hepatitis A, hepatitis C etc.
Be aware that you may be asked to take a medical in your home country at you own expense – but also you will have to take the medical again, once you get to the UAE! Please do check with your airline as this process can become very costly.
Finally, try not to worry about your medical as it will only raise your stress levels and contribute to raising your blood pressure! It is an essential part of your application, as you have to be physically fit and be able to lift heavy weights as well as being able to cope with the physical and emotional demands of the job and deal with the tiredness.
Airlines have to assess whether cabin crew
are able to deal with these issues. They will also be looking for any evidence of drug or alcohol abuse or even the use of medication for stress and anxiety as these are ‘big no-no’s’ and if found, your application will not continue and you will be denied the job. If you have a pre-existing condition, you must mention it as they will always find out later and once again, your application will be denied.
However, if your condition is being successfully treated by prescribed medication is a low risk condition, you may be allowed to continue your application. This is also true of medication, if you are taking medication on a regular basis you must declare it or this could be influential on your job application or even give you a false positive reading for drugs on your blood test.
After the medical, the results are then sent off to be processed and the wait starts again to get medical clearance. This may take a couple of days but can take up to two weeks! Once you have this – the next challenge starts – your training course!
I have been Cabin Crew for major airlines in the UK and Middle East for 6 years and also a SCCM. For the last 6 years I have worked as a VIP Flight Attendant working for very high profile clients and world leaders on their private jets. This last year, I moved to flying on a freelance basis in order to concentrate on working as a freelance instructor as well as setting up as a Cabin Crew Consultant, so that I could advise potential crew how to get their dream job and help experienced crew move from commercial to corporate flying. In response to many requests from fellow crew and students, I have written a series of E-books
to help guide new crew with lots of insider advice and useful hints and tips.
For more information please visit www.cabincrewconsultant.weebly.com
Browse our cabin crew