Thursday, April 28, 2011

Flight Attendants

Significant Points
- Competition for positions is expected to remain keen because the opportunity for travel attracts more applicants than there are jobs.
- Job duties are learned through formal on-the-job training at a flight-training center.
- A high school diploma is the minimum education requirement.

Nature of the work
Major airlines are required by law to provide flight attendants for the safety and security of the traveling public. Although the primary job of the flight attendants is to ensure that security and safety regulations are followed, attendants also try to make flights comfortable and enjoyable for passengers.

Because airlines operate around the clock and year round, flight attendants can work nights, holidays and weekends. Flight attendants may be away from their home base a least one-third of the time. During this period, the airlines provide hotel accommodations and an allowance for meal expenses.

Flight attendants must be flexible and willing to relocate. However, many flight attendants elect to live in one place and commute to their assigned home base. Home bases and routes worked are bid for and awarded on a seniority base, so the longer the flight attendant has been employed the more likely he or she is to work on their preferred flights. Almost all flight attendants start out working on reserve status, or on call. Flight attendants on reserve status, usually live near their home base, because they are required to be able to report to their home base on short notice.

Median annual wages of flight attendants were $35,930 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $28,420 and $49,910. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $20,570 and the highest 10 percent earned more than $65,350.

Some airlines offer incentive pay for working holidays, nights and international flights, or taking positions that require additional responsibility and paperwork.

Flight attendants and their immediate families are entitled to free or discounted fares on their own airlines and reduced fares on most other airlines. Some airlines require that the flight attendant be with an airline 3 to 6 months before taking advantage of this benefit. Other benefits may include medical, dental, and life insurance; 401K or other retirement plan; sick leave; paid holidays; stock options; paid vacations; and tuition reimbursement. Flight attendants also receive a "per diem: allowance for meal expenses while on duty away from home. Flight attendants are required to purchase uniforms and wear them while on duty. The airlines usually pay for uniform replacement items and may provide a small allowance to cover ceasing and upkeep of the uniforms.

Story and Salary information courtesy of Bureau of Labor 


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