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About the Selection Process

How do I make sure my application form/ CV is good enough? What sort of questions will be on the application form?

Firstly you need to get the basics right- read here about the Application form and improving your CV.

Secondly, you need to make sure you are providing cast-iron evidence instead of run of the mill, bland statements. Read here to improve your answers.

Read here for information on the interview which will also give you handy tips relevant to your initial application.

For a few final tips read this informative article on 'Getting your cabin crew Application in the 'YES' pile'.

Got more questions? Let us know via our Contact Us page.

What can I expect on my first day of cabin crew training with BA? Will we be tested on our first day?

When we recently spoke to a BA stewardess about her first day, who had only been in the airline for a year, she said when she arrived on the first day they checked your height. Then they made you sit in a crew seat with harness; Got you to do a reach test which is 2 meters feet flat on the floor; Checked for visible tattoos on wrists, feet and ankles and if you failed on any of the criteria you were sent home straight away. She then did a competency based 1-1 interview for 1 hour e.g. question was "give an example when you have given good customer service"? after this interview people who had failed were also sent home.

You can find more information at this link http://www.britishairways.com/careers/assessment.shtml

How long will I have to get my application form in?

It will depend on the airline but you will be given clear guidelines on the advert and on any documents you are sent/ online pages you are directed to. Be warned, some airlines will close their doors to applications once they have received a certain number. To make sure your application is one of the first to land on their desk take a look at our Cabin Crew Job Vacancies page.

When will I hear if I have got an interview?

How long it takes to sift the initial applications can vary from airline to airline so you may have to be patient. Don’t be tempted to phone up and ask too early- recruiters are often very busy and answering the phone to enquiries distracts them from getting their job done.

What sort of questions will I be asked at my interview? What answers should I give?

There is lots of information on the Cabin Crew Interview questions here, plus more advice on the Cabin Crew Interview here. We also have information on the latest styles of Cabin Crew Interview here.

Don’t forget our recruitment and psychology expert also covers this on our training course, with the chance to answer practice questions and get feedback on how you've done.

How can I stand out at interview?

Best advice from our selection expert is to DEFINITELY nail the technique for answering the behaviour based questions. Most people really struggle with this- when asked for an example of what they have done they either focus on the wrong sort of information or just don’t really answer the question they've been asked. Our psychologist warns ‘these questions are MUCH harder than you might thing. They catch out a lot of good candidates who would do well if they had a better understanding of what was really being asked’. (Make sure you really get this by joining our expert psychologist on our <training day)

This article also covers a few other things you can do to stand out.

What can I expect at the assessment day?

Find out about role-plays, presentations, group exercises and day long assessment on our Cabin Crew Assessment page.

Will they tell me there and then if I am successful a the Assessment Centre?

Probably not. You will be assessed throughout the day by assessors who will make notes on your performance. At the end of the day the assessors will get together to refer to their notes and discuss each candidate in depth. They will be looking for evidence that you meet the criteria required for successful cabin crew. Read here for more info on what they airlines will be looking for in 'What are the competencies likely to be'. They will be trying to work out if you have career potential.

One thing some airlines do is test you in the morning, and then only ask the successful candidates to stay behind for continued testing in the afternoon. It’s a nerve-wracking and fairly cut-throat practice but at least if you are asked t stay behind you know you are one step closer to success.

What can I do to improve my chances at the Assessment Centre?

Completing our Cabin Crew Training day is very useful for a few reasons:

1) You will be able to explain at interview that you have already shown the potential to do certain aspects of the cabin crew role though participating in practical day 2 of our training course. This takes out some of the guess work for recruiters as to whether you will be able to handle some of the demands presented to you during cabin crew training.

2) You will find out how to complete a successful application form/ CV and get your foot in the door which is one of the hardest challenges!)

3) You will learn exactly what to do in your assessment day, which will give you a huge advantage over your competition

4) You will gain confidence from spending two days in a real airline environment

5) You will have the opportunity to ask our industry expert Kim all your questions about the role

6) You will learn exactly what recruiters are looking for and how you can demonstrate it (instead of leaving it to guess work or chance!)

7) You’ll have the chance to get personal feedback from Kim with the cabin crew perspective and psychologist Hannah from the recruiters point of view- a powerful combination!

What can I expect from a selection role-play?

A role-play will be a simulation of the sort of thing you can expect to have to face as cabin crew. What better way to see if you are up to the job?! Find more about role-plays here.

How can I prepare for a role-play?

It's difficult to anticipate what you will be expected to do; that’s why we include practice of role-play scenarios in our Cabin Crew training course. We also provide plenty of in-depth information on what to expect and how to succeed in our training manual (free when you sign up to the training course)

What will I need to present in my presentation?

You will be given plenty of guidelines if you are asked to present at your assessment. It is most likely to be on something which will allow your assessors to tell how comfortable you are conveying information to an audience- a key part of the Cabin Crew role. You can find out more about this here.

How will I be assessed during my presentation?

Your assessors will have some key criteria which they will be measuring you against. This might be things such as how clearly and confidently you can communicate, how well you cope with pressure, how easy you find it to convey new concepts, how well you stick to the point...all the things which are important to being an effective cabin crew member.

What will be covered in presentations done for candidates?

Some airlines take the opportunity of presenting important information to the candidates on the assessment day. The purpose of this is to settle you into the day as well as giving you important information about the company and role. It makes sense that at this stage you decide whether the job is right for you, just as much as the recruiters deciding if you are right for the job.

How can I make a good impression? What to wear?

Consider how well turned out cabin crew always are. Dress smartly, showing you know how to take care in your appearance. If you have long hair, tie it into the sort of style you can imagine cabin crew wearing.

About the Job

Do some airlines still recruit working mums on term time basis and daily flight patterns to fit in with school times?

I'm sorry, but we are not aware of that option being available for any UK airline.

What is the uniform regulation on facial hair with male cabin crew at British Airways?

As cabin crew for BA I believe you are allowed a very short beard (as this comes under religious ethics) but please note no stubble. However, I would recommend if you are going for an assessment day, if you are comfortable to be clean shaven this might be a good option on this occasion.

Is there an age restriction?

There is only a minimum age restriction of 18 to be Cabin Crew, as long as you are fit an well you can apply.

Why do cabin crew have to be able to swim when they have life jackets onboard? I can't swim that well but would love to work as cabin crew

In an unplanned emergency i.e. no warning that the aircraft may be ditching into water especially prior to immediate take off or final approach to landing, the cabin crew will not be wearing their life jackets or they probably will not have time or be prepared to don their life jacket as in this situation their prime and immediate responsibility is to open the aircraft door and evacuate the aircraft, in what could be a possible life threatening situation where the aircraft may sink. Or in another situation if the crew do get time to put on their life jacket and then whilst leaving the aircraft entering into the water manage to rip their jacket they have no buoyancy aid. Remember the crew's role is for the safety and survival of their passengers and if they cannot swim they cannot help their colleagues.

The ideal time for crew to don their life jackets, in an ideal world, is in an emergency when the situation is a planned emergency and everyone has time to put one on!

You do not have to be a marathon swimmer just proof of 25 meters unaided.

Hi, my daughter aged 15 is interested in working in cabin crew when she is old enough to apply. She is leaving school next June and would like advice on what college courses or apprenticeships would be useful for her to undertake as a precursor to working for an airline. Thanks in advance.

Hi, the most beneficial avenue for your daughter is to gain as much face to face customer service experience e.g. Working in a restaurant, receptionist etc. If she has knowledge of a 2nd language or needs to polish her vocabulary that is good too, however you do not need to be fluent. A short first aid course like St Johns will also stand her in good stead. Many crew do not attend a college course in travel and tourism but if this interests her then this would be a plus.

I hope that helps and we look forward to seeing her on one our courses soon. Regards, Chris

I am 17 years old and would love to apply for a cabin crew job when i turn 18. I have been in college doing travel and tourism for 5 months but dont really enjoy it. Do i have to stick to travel to become one or could i get a job in anything just customer service based?

A key criteria when applying to the role as cabin crew is customer service experience in the work place. We get many students ask us should they do a travel and tourism course and is this as important as customer service experience. If you are studying on such a course then yes this would look good on your CV, however, you do not have to have this qualification to become a successful crew member. Good luck!

Hi there, I heard that it is necessary for cabin crew members to be qualified by an attestation initial training. Is this a prerequisite for application to any airline? Also need to know if an IATA cabin Crew certificate will add any value to my application? I would appreciate your quick answer. Thanks

A cabin crew Attestation certificate is obtained by all current flying cabin crew as part of their initial training programme with any UK airline.

If you are already current cabin crew and have been working for an airline but would like to apply for another airline you automatically, by law, carry this qualification with you for life and the advantage to the airline is they know you already hold an attestation (usually about a week’s training) thus they do not have to re-train you in this particular area and in turn reducing their training costs rather than someone who does not hold one.

If you have never flown before you do not require to pay for this training course (unless it is an airline that charges for their training) as it will be an automatic qualification on completion of your training. However, it does hold an advantage on your CV if you wish to attain this certificate before your interview, BUT it does come with a risk and no guarantee of getting a job as cabin crew.

Are cabin crew members allowed to take a day off every week?

I am afraid not, they are given a roster of flights and then days off accordingly but you would have no say on which days it is.

Hi I attended the BA course in march and I have applied at Thompson and was accepted for training, but now they have pulled my application as im getting married in August and I have 2 short holidays booked. In can reapply in September. Would this be the same for all airlines, do you know please. Nicola

When you work especially for a holiday carrier like Thomson, summer is their most busiest time and if you have just started flying they cannot honour time off. This will probably apply to most of the airlines as they are recruiting you for a reason, they NEED you!

Is the job of cabin crew and air hostess are same?

Yes they are. Air Hostess is more commonly used in the USA.

I'm 17 ,currently at college studying a levels and is very interested in a career in cabin crew. Is there certain age restrictions for the cabin crew courses?

You will need to be 17 to attend our 2 day Cabin Crew course while there is no age restriction for our Online Course. Thanks

Hello, I'm a 21-year-old man with experience in customer service and healthcare for almost 5 years. I've always struggled to know what to do in life, and there is something about Cabin Crew that really interests me, it definitely seems like more than a job, more like a lifestyle. I am worried about the pay, which seems rather dire, and also the only cabin crew jobs that seem to come up are fixed-term and seasonal. I understand this due to the summer, but considering there are flights all year round why do there not seem to be any permanent contracts? I would be worried to have my fixed term contract end and then be left unemployed with a pressure to quickly get another job.. could you explain more about how this works? Thank you, and your website is fantastic and I have found it to be very helpful in researching the role!Phil

Hi Phil. Many of the low-cost airlines require seasonal summer staff as you rightly suggest, however, if you are prepared to wait a couple of years and prove to have an exemplary record the airline will probably invite you back on a full term contract. I do appreciate the pay for cabin crew is not as good as it used to be, sadly for you, however if you wish to pursue an international airline like British Airways or Virgin these can offer you a full term contract presently. The average wage for a new entrant at British Airways with allowances is approximately £26,000 per annum. Chris

How frequently do the major airlines, like BA or Virgin, generally recruit, and does it tend to be at specific times of the year?

It really does vary from year to year however BA have been recruiting pretty much consistently while Virgin is is normally once or twice a year. They do not tend to stick to a specific time of year so you will need to keep checking their websites daily, alternative we offer a Job Alert service - https://www.gocabincrew.com/cabin-crew-store/recruitment-services/go-cabin-crew-jobs-text-alert-service/

Hello, I was looking at your online course option and was wondering what you use for the presentations? I have an older computer still and want ot make sure it will work before I purchase the programme.Cheers, Gavin

Our online course should work on any computer/ device as long as it has internet access. If you find you have problems after your purchase please contact us and we will be happy to resolve if for you.

Hello, I am an older woman, 49 years of age, raised a family and now I would like to focus on a working life. Would gaps in my CV (due to mothering commitments) as well as my age, negatively influence my chances of successful application in regards to cabin Crew? Regards, Angela

Age or motherhood 'gaps'generally do not impact application as cabin crew . However, airlines are looking for suitable candidates with some
form of customer service experience. The more 'mature' applicant can often offer life's experiences which is invaluable. The role of cabin crew can be very physically demanding, so keeping fit with a mix of resilience is key to a successful and healthy career. Good luck!

Do crew get free flights?

Yes one of the big attractions to becoming a crew member is the free or cheap flights. However be warned, staff travel as it is named is not all it is cracked up to be. Most carriers adopt the policy that this is a stand by ticket so you will be standing by for a flight and if it is full with commercial full fare paying passengers, you WILL NOT GET ON!.

This can be extremely stressful, especially if you are trying to get home and you have to go to work the next day. As a general rule most crew will get their concessions after a few months in the airline. This usually consists of you paying 10% of the fare, plus tax and being on stand by. However as you accumulate your seniority within the company the concessions usually become more generous i.e. free flights for you and or family member, spouse etc. But be warned free does not mean FREE, you have to pay tax which to somewhere like USA would cost you in the region of £110.00 and you are STILL on standby!

Do cabin crew sleep on flights?

If it is a short flight e.g. anything with a flying time of 5 hours and under then NO they do not get a proper rest (maybe a quick cuppa).
If it is a long haul flight then most airlines are governed by rules to legally allow crew rest. Some aircraft (especially the newer types) have bunks on board. If it is a typical 10 hour flight then the crew on average will have a 2 hour break. They will have the choice of either sitting in a seat (usually away from passenger sight) or if they are lucky they will have bunk facilities).

On a 747 the bunks are usually found in the rear (tail) section upstairs. The newer aircraft have a bunk area sometimes upstairs high above in the fuselage. So if you hear a bump in the night, above you, it is probably a stewardess fallen out of bed!! You can change into your P.J's, which most people do, as this prevents a slept in look in your uniform! NOT good for the image!

Do cabin crew get paid well?

Not enough!! You have to be ambassadors, doctors, nurses, police, diplomats the list is endless. All airlines offer different payment scales and structures. Some airlines pay on an hourly rate which is normally low and then you get additional payments e.g. overtimes, allowances for overseas. The schedule big airlines tend to pay better than the charter.

Do you have to start your flying career on short haul before you are offered long haul trips?

All airlines have an ever changing requirement to recruit crew according to where the short fall lies. As people leave the company, move to a different base, maternity leave, retire, illness there is often the opportunity to move from long to short and visa versa. To summarise; you usually do not get a choice when you first join as to whether you will be on long haul or short haul. However, some airlines do have a combined long and short haul crew opportunity. e.g. BA have the new Mixed fleet which operate both long and short haul flying.

Depending on the airline, generally long haul crew earn a higher income as they are given expenses to cover their time away and sometimes overtime is added to their salary if they are doing exceptionally long flights.

How do crew always look so fresh?

Many passengers ask this question. However, I do believe it is easier to look fresh when you are up and about rather than being crumpled in an economy seat for 10 hours on a night flight, it creates this just got out of bed look! When you are crew you are not in bed, you can apply fresh makeup, re do your hair, eye drops (a great secret).

Many crew have small water mist bottles where they spray their face, keeping the skin hydrated as well as using a good quality hydrating moisturiser. Having a good manageable hair style is a must. If it is long it has to be tied back, as you are food handlers, but if it is shorter it must be in good condition with a good cut and plenty of hairspray to keep it in place. For some reason the atmosphere on board an aircraft causes a lot of static and can produce the 'flyaway' look.

How do crew deal with medical emergencies?

All airlines deliver a vigorous form of training programme which will include medical training. Once qualified these will be constantly monitored throughout their flying career and updated accordingly. Crew will have to sit yearly exams to prove their competence. All medical emergencies can be dealt with as part of a team providing support at all times.

Some airlines have a system where they can call a doctor from the flight deck and speak to a doctor on the ground who offers complete support utilising the standard airlines first aid equipment on board the aircraft. This system also supports the crew if there are any legal complications. But remember you will not be expected to know everything as you are not a doctor!

Are crew ever scared of turbulence?

Turbulence is a very common every day occurrence on aircraft and if a crew member was constantly scared then this is certainly NOT the job for them. However, there are different types of turbulence. The most common being 'clear air', which means the pilots cannot detect by radar that it is there, so this can be unpredictable but mostly harmless.

Generally the most severe form of turbulence is due to bad weather, but with modern technology most pilots can avoid the lumps and bumps. When turbulence is very bad the pilots will tell the crew to sit down and put their seat belts on. If it gets really rough then yes it is only natural for a crew member to question their safety, they wouldn't be human otherwise. They key is installing confidence in their passengers, an art-form in itself!

How long do crew get to stay in a destination?

This is probably one of the most commonly asked questions when you are crew. But it is also the 6 million dollar question as so many airlines operate at a different level with so many equations to consider e.g. if crew belong to a union then there are legal rules for crew having to have so many hours off in-between flying duties, known as their rest period.

Also another consideration is the frequency of the service to say New York? If the airline flies there daily then the crew will have their minimum required rest which is usually one night and then fly home the next day. However if the flight only operates 3 times a week to a certain destination then naturally the crew will have a longer lay over as they wait for the next inbound flight.

Most airlines will only do a there and back if the flight time is no longer than 5.5 hours. Some short haul flights do have European lay overs if they have done more than 3 sectors to allow for rest. But be under no illusion stop overs are becoming shorter and shorter as the competition to get the aircraft back flying becomes much greater than it ever used to be.

If the flight is busy how do the ground staff know who to choose on staff travel?

Staff travel is determined by how many years you have been employed by the airline and this then equates to your chances of getting a seat. e.g. If an employee has worked 10 years for the airline and someone else has done 8 and there is only one seat left on the plane then the person with 10 years seniority will be given the last seat.

Can crew go into the cockpit/flight deck?

Most certainly they can and HAVE TO. This is a legal requirement every half hour or so to make sure the pilots are OK and awake and also to take in any refreshments (especially on long haul). Post Sept 11th it is a requirement that no person other than airline crew are allowed to enter the flight deck during flight.

Most cockpits are now automatically locked once the door is closed and then there is a pin code outside the door that electronically allows entrance. However, in addition this is controlled by the pilots who have a switch which activates a locking device to gain entry. So this acts as a double security measure.

Do they get to watch movies?

Again on short haul flights the answer is NO - never enough time.

Long haul yes it is an option whilst on their break, but many crew choose to sleep as they are generally too tired (jet lag and night flights can

Do you ever see weird lights in the sky?

Most definitely, especially if you are in the flight deck at night. The most wonderful spectacle are the Northern Lights.

I'm 30 years old n 5.3" (163cm) and I can reach up to 220 cm on my tip toe. Do you think I can apply for Middle East airlines like Emirates Etihad and Qatar?

For Qatar Airways:

Min: age 20
Female - at least 5'2 in height, minimum arm reach of 212 cm on tiptoes;
Male - at least 5'6 in height

For Etihad:

Min: age 21
Able to reach 210 cm without shoes.

For Emirates:

Min: age 21
Arm reach of 212 cm while standing on tiptoes

What do cabin crew do?

A lot! Find out more by checking out a Cabin Crew Job Description.

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