Survive Flight Attendant Training
Most airlines fly new flight attendants out to attend training at their company headquarters or training facility. Training often lasts for 1 to 2 months, and most flight attendants who participate must travel on an airline-sponsored flight to get to the hotel or trainee housing complex in which they will be staying. Flight attendant training is rigorous: you may have daily exams on complex subjects, physical safety exercises, on-the-job training, and customer service role-playing--all while settling in to a new living environment away from home. Flight attendants who survive the "Charm Farm," also known as flight attendant training, are assigned base cities and flight schedules as they officially begin their careers as flight attendants.
- Pack enough of all the essentials you will need to make it through an extended trip while maintaining a professional appearance.
- Unless otherwise specified in your correspondence from the airline, bring business attire for classroom and training sessions. Bring business-casual attire for down time. Some airlines may provide you with a uniform during training, so you won't need to pack as many of your own clothes.
- Bring anything that will help you have more comfortable and restful sleep, like an eye mask, your own pillow and calming music. Training sessions are intense, and it is important to be well-rested.
- Socialize within reason.
- You will likely have at least 1 roommate, and you will also meet many new colleagues during training sessions. Get to know these people, as they will provide support throughout the overall experience, and you may be able to arrange group study sessions for exams. They are also the starting point for your professional network.
- Some colleagues may act like they are on an extended vacation instead of a business trip. They may stay out late or drink heavily. Try to avoid getting in the habit of joining them. It is important to be able to perform your best during training and testing, so you should always be well-rested and sober. Since flight attendants are not allowed to be under the influence of alcohol on the job, many airlines institute a no-alcohol policy during training that extends to business hours and down time.
- Fine-tune your study skills, and always be prepared to pay close attention and take detailed notes.
- You will learn aircraft specifications, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) guidelines and safety procedures. Much of what you are trained on is not common knowledge, so it is essential to pay attention and take notes so you can study properly. Some airlines give daily tests during training, so take advantage of every possible opportunity to review your notes, and always ask questions if something isn't clear during training.
- Treat others in the manner in which you think your airline management would expect of its employees.
- Trainers, fellow trainees, passengers and crew onboard your training flights, and anyone else you come in contact with, should be treated with patience, respect and courtesy. The only exception is when someone is putting themselves or others in danger, in which case you should act according to your airline's emergency guidelines.
- Depending on the airline, failure of one or more exams may be cause for termination. Make sure all your questions are answered before starting an exam, and make thorough studying a top priority.
- Jessica Collins, former flight attendant, Midwest Airlines