Traveling the world, working with young, intelligent and good-looking people, and helping the passengers to safely reach their destination. Flight attendant looks like a wonderful job, especially for people who have never worked in the skies.
Let’s have a look at the interview process for this interesting position, and what you should do to succeed, and to secure your place on board, without having to pay for a flight ticket. We can start with the questions you may face.
Can you tell us something about yourself for the start?
Keep an eye contact with your interviewers. Remember that they watch how you talk, how you smile, and so on. They try to imagine whether it would be a pleasure to talk to you onboard. The way in which you speak and conduct yourself is actually more important than the exact words you say–at least at this point of your interview.
Nevertheless, you should focus on your strengths while introducing yourself. It can be your experience with any customer service job, your passion for this type of work and your strong motivation, or your abilities and personal traits that make from you a good applicant. You can also share with them a thing or two from your personal life, just to show them that you have life outside of work, and some hobbies. Healthy hobbies (exercise, yoga, and similar) are your best bet in this case.
My name is Nicky, I am from Paris. I love to talk to people and to travel. I can speak English and Spanish fluently. I’ve worked in retail for past two years, and now I hope to benefit from my customer service experience in this new role. I have always been in love with flying, and cannot wait for y chance to turn my passion into my full time job.
Tell us about your experience with flying. How did you feel about the cabin crew and their work?
Focus on the good things, on things you liked. Talk about your experience with a good service. Mention that the experience of a passenger helped you to understand the job of a flight attendant, at least to some extent. You can even say that your experience motivated you to apply for the job with them.
Needless to say, if you’ve flown with their airlines before, you can point out two or three specific things that caught your eye, things you really enjoyed while onboard. Praising your future employer will only help you in the interviews.
I flew about ten times, with different airlines. I really enjoyed the company of the flight attendants, and in some way the experience with them encouraged me to apply for this job. I think they were very courteous and attentive to the needs of the passengers, and that’s exactly how I hope to do this job. I haven’t had the pleasure to fly with your airline yet, but based on customer reviews and everything else I have no doubt you put a lot of emphasis on top-notch customer service, and that’s exactly what I hope to deliver in the job.
What do you think are the main duties of the flight attendants on the short distance and long distance flight?
You can summarize your answer in a single sentence. Comfort and safety of the passengers from the moment they enter the aircraft until the moment they leave the plane, is the main duty of the cabin crew members.
Or, you can say that the goal is to make their flight an unforgettable experience, in good means, of course. Alternatively you can list the duties, such as giving instructions on passengers’ safety, distributing meals, and all other tasks you will be responsible for in the job. The list changes slightly depending on the length of the flight…
The basic goal remains the same, regardless of the time we spend together in the air with the passengers. Comfort and safety of the passengers from the moment they enter the aircraft, until the moment they leave the plane. The exact list of duties will likely change a bit, depending on the distance, class, and type of flight, and I’m looking forward to learn more about it.
In your opinion, what characterizes a great flight attendant nowadays?
In my opinion, the qualities of a great FA haven’t changed much in the last fifty years. Staying courteous and attentive to passengers’ needs and wishes throughout the flight, and being ready to handle every situation that can occur on board, characterizes a great cabin crew member.
Of course, you can also name several traits and skills here, such as excellent listening skills and communication skills in general, attention to detail, speaking at least one foreign language fluently, ability to quickly spot when something’s not right, passion for this type of work, and so on.
Great steward knows exactly what to do, in each moment of the flight. She is nice to both passengers and colleagues onboard, and she enjoys doing her job. She’s a good listener, and she does her best to ensure the comfort and safety of each passenger.
How many languages do you speak on an intermediate level, or better?
In many cases, you will have to pass a written language exam as a apart of your interviewing process, so it is better to not exaggerate about your language skills. However, you can always say that you work on your language skills, reading books, taking lessons, etc, or at least that you want to learn languages, and perhaps the job will give you that extra boost of motivation you need right now.
The key is to show them that you desire to become the best flight attendant you can be. And when you want to fly to international destinations, having passengers of different nationalities onboard, speaking languages is a huge plus, if not a must…
Spanish is my native language, and I am fluent in English. In my free time I try to learn French, because passengers from French speaking countries often do not speak other languages. They would appreciate if someone spoke with them in their native language.
What do you consider the most difficult thing about the job?
This is an important question. It is your chance to show them that you see the job of a flight attendant realistically—with both good and bad things. You should not say it is an easy job. If you did so, they would not hire you. You can always say it is a beautiful job (and it indeed is), but not an easy one. In my experience, the most difficult things for flight attendants are:
- Dealing with irate, drunk, or undisciplined passengers.
- Smiling and showing positive emotions on the board, even when you experience a difficult day, or even a difficult period in your personal life.
- Staying on top of things when emergency situation happens.
- Being away from home often.
- Experiencing tiredness from ever-changing time zones and lack of sleep.
Ensure the interviewers that you count with the tough aspects of the job, and are ready to handle them.
I imagine it will be difficult to stay friendly and courteous, to keep smiling on the passengers, when one experiences a bad day in work, or simply feels low on energy—which happens to everyone sometimes. I see this as a toughest aspect of the job, and I will try my best to remain positive in all circumstances.
What caught your eye exactly on our job offer, our airline?
This is your chance to praise them for their good service. Every airline has some competitive advantage–if they did not have one, they would be out of business. You can point out the list of their destinations, their vision, corporate values, pricing policy, the way the flight attendants work, their history and reputation, the recognition of their brand, anything. The key is to show them that you did your homework, and that you have a good reason to apply with them.
Of course, more likely than not you do not care, and would be happy to get a job with any airline. While interviewing for the position, however, you should try to make them believe that they are your first choice.
This is the biggest airline in Midwest. You have great reputation, and one can feel secure having a job with you. I have also read great things about your training program, and in my view, you are the best choice for someone who is applying for their first job in this field. That’s why I decided to apply with you instead of with some other player in the field.
Do you prefer to work on a team, or independently?
Everything that happens on board is teamwork. You should stress that you like to work in a team. The only exception is if you apply for a job with an airline company that operates small aircraft, and has only one flight attendant on board of every plane.
If this is the case, you should say that you enjoy working alone, and can handle your tasks without supervision or intervention of another person. Of course, you still enjoy having a chat with the pilots and other crew members. Because even if you are the only flight attendant, you won’t be the only staff member onboard the plane. Keep it on your mind, and praise teamwork whenever you can.
I like to contribute to the work of a team, but I do not struggle to work on my own, without supervision. I know that you operate small planes, and often have just one steward onboard. I feel perfectly fine imagining myself in a position of that steward.
How would you handle the situation when two passengers were arguing and disturbing the rest of the travelers?
This is a two-level question, and a tough one. In a good answer you should address both levels.
The first level relates to the passengers in question—the two who were arguing. You should show the interviewers that you would try to be courteous to them, and definitely start with polite remark about their behavior, telling them politely that they were disturbing the rest of the passengers, and asking them to be quiet, to stop arguing.
If polite request didn’t work (and here we come to the second level—the well being of everyone onboard, and safety of the flight), you should say that you would be very strict, and even threaten them with a hefty fine they’d have to pay once the flight landed. (The rules for such fines differ from one country to another. For example in the UK a passenger can be fined up to 5,000 GBP, and even go to prison, for being disruptive on the flight. Referring to such penalties definitely quiets most disruptive passengers)…
We definitely have to count with such a situation onboard, and I wouldn’t ignore their behavior. My first step would be politely reminding them to stay quiet, to not disrupt the comfort of other passengers. If they did not respond to my initial request, however, I’d proceed in explaining the fine they’d have to pay unless they end their argument immediately. We have to think about the well-being of all passengers, and we can’t tolerate someone arguing loudly onboard, even if it goes about a VIP.
Other questions you may face in your flight attendant interview
- Imagine that a passenger on a flight claims to be extremely sick and demands an emergency landing. What will you do?
- How would you choose the right people to sit next to the emergency exits?
- How would you ensure the maximal possible customer satisfaction in your daily job?
- Imagine that one of your colleagues got sick unexpectedly. You have to take their shift, after a week that has been physically and mentally demanding on you. What would you do?
- What do you consider the biggest mistake you have ever made when dealing with other people?
- Describe a time when you felt pressure in work.
Special tip: If you struggle with answers to scenario-bases questions (“tell me about a time when”, “imagine a situation”, “how would you”, etc), have a look at an eBook I wrote for you, Get Onboard.
Multiple premium answers to thirty most common flight attendant interview questions (including all tricky scenario-bases questions), and winning interview strategies, will help you streamline your interview preparation, outclass your competitors, and eventually get the job. Thank you for checking it out!
Your charisma matters more than your education
You should have excellent communication skills, you should look good (you do not have to be a model, but you should be in a decent shape at least), and have at least some charisma. It would be tough to become a cabin crew member if you lacked any of these.
The good news is, however, that you do not need any higher education, or previous working experience, to be considered for the job of a flight attendant. Airlines have excellent training programs in place. If they hire you, they will teach you everything you need to know to become an excellent steward.
And believe me, there’s a lot to learn, because you’d take care of many things that passengers have no clue about. They just cannot notice from the comfort (or discomfort) of their seats.
Having said that, your success (or failure) in an interview depends mostly on the quality of your interview answers, and whether you can convince the hiring managers that you have the right personality for this job–with your answers, and your interview presence…
Final thoughts, answers to all questions
Interview for a job of a flight attendant belongs to difficult job interviews. Many young women dream of this career, and the competition is enormous. What is more, you will often have to pass a couple of tests, and answer some tricky scenario-based questions on your way towards the coveted employment agreement.
But success is not the questions of luck. Prepare for the questions, do a good research about your future employer, and try to do everything to be ready for the big day. And if you struggle with your interview answers, check the “Get Onboard” eBook, for premium answers to all flight attendant interview questions. I hope you will succeed, and wish you all the best in your interview!
May also interest you:
- Salary negotiation tips – Get as much as you deserve
- How to overcome interview nerves – Get rid of anxiety and ace your interview.
- Body language in an interview – What do your gestures and movements say about you? Can we control our non-verbal communication? An interesting insight into the topic of body language.