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Career Advancement of a Flight Attendant
When interviewing for a flight attendant job, it usually doesn’t occur to most applicants to plan what they will be doing in 5 or even 10 years, but consideration should be given to this subject from the very beginning, in order to develop an effective career path.
There are many avenues you can take once onboard an airline. Not everyone will want to deviate from flight attendant status; with the higher seniority afforded by lengthy tenure, some seasoned personnel are content to remain aloft their entire airline career. But there is work for the restless flight attendant within the company, and some of these positions can be done simultaneously while flying the line. This can benefit the employee by providing more variety, mental stimulation and a greater sense of accomplishment.
You can move into a supervisory mode after a few years on the job. Increased job familiarity and above average on-the-job performance affords many outlets to those who enjoy supervising and motivating others. For those who desire to move up the ranks in a linear fashion a typical sequence of progression can be:
**Senior or lead flight attendant - part of the inflight crew. This flight attendant is part of the required complement of flight attendants on each flight and is basically in charge of the other flight attendants and all matters pertaining to the cabin section of the aircraft.
The major duties of this flight attendant are to direct the pre-flight briefing, coordinate with the ground agent in boarding the aircraft, act as the liaison between the flight deck and cabin, check catering, make announcements, work the first class or forward part of the cabin and lead emergency operations if needed.
**Check flight attendant - conducts check rides for flight attendants onboard the aircraft. These check rides include I.O.E. (Initial Operating Experience), yearly re-testing and any subsequent periodic testing required by the FAA.
**Flight attendant supervisor – supervises a group of flight attendants within the base; there can be several if the base is large. This supervisor may also perform check rides if the airline does not have designated check flight attendants. The supervisor meets with the base manager and other supervisors to keep abreast with any changes for the base; they may also keep employee records and provide discipline and evaluation of their group of flight attendants.
**Base manager - takes charge of the entire flight attendant base. The base manager works with other airline managers to develop and keep abreast of any airline business that pertains to the inflight department.
**Manager or Vice President of Inflight – managing all the flight attendant bases throughout the system. This manager is basically in charge of all inflight activities and inflight managers to keep the department running smoothly and functioning in coordination with all other airline departments.
There are alternative choices that branch off from these, as well. A flight attendant can become a flight attendant recruiter, traveling around to various cities all over an airline’s system and interviewing prospective flight attendants. This can be a very rewarding position, as you have within your power the ability to make dreams come true for other aspiring flight attendants who feel just as you once did.
This is one of the most pleasant of jobs for a flight attendant, as you are able to take on the responsibility of making hiring decisions and shaping your company by selecting the best people for the job. It can be a real challenge, however, because many people need to be interviewed before finding enough applicants who meet the lofty standards required by the airline. Another inside position into which a flight attendant can move is that of a flight attendant instructor. This position requires the instructor to live in or near the training facilities, usually located at the city that is the home base of the airline. The instructor teaches new flight attendant trainees how to become flight attendants, provides instruction on new aircraft the airline acquires, new procedures and yearly recurrent instruction given to all flight attendants.
This person must qualify to teach the standards mandated by the FAA, and is rigorously tested periodically in order to maintain the position. Familiarity with FAA rules, company policies, aircraft particular to their airline, and other safety and first aid issues is mandatory, as this information is subsequently taught to the flight attendants.
A flight attendant may also eventually move into other related areas of the company, such as catering supervisor, risk management, marketing or human resources. Most airlines provide tuition reimbursement, so a flight attendant can finish school while employed there, study another area, such as finance or systems analyst, and move into that area after graduation.
A flight attendant may even want to move to a position as an administrative assistant working for a company official. These ground positions can be especially appealing to flight attendants who have started families and no longer desire the rigors of daily out-of-town travel. This offers one the benefit of the “normal” routine of working during the day and being at home every night.
These are just a few of the possibilities you can consider when working for an airline. Depending on the airline for which you are employed, there may be other options as well. But whether you work as a flight attendant for many years or eventually go into another area, it is reassuring to know that your range of possibilities is extremely diverse, and the prospects are bright for career advancement
Source Credit: Airlinecareer.com
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