Baltic Aviation Academy experts have observed that despite the rapidly developing international aviation market and increasing aircraft fleets, competition for the cabin crew positions in airlines remain as severe as ever. The aviation specialist training centre explains the current situation by pointing out the fact that the number of people interested in this profession by far exceeds the number of available positions. According to Baltic Aviation Academy representatives, in such a competitive market a certificate issued by a reputable cabin crew training institution may often prove to be a major differential advantage.
According to the EU-OPS1 requirements applicable to all European Union countries, in order to become a flight attendant a candidate must be an adult, hold a valid Second Class Health Certificate, be fully literate and have good English language skills. An ability to speak other ICAO languages, such as Italian, French, Spanish or German, is a strong advantage, especially when applying for work in foreign aviation companies. Moreover, according to international safety requirements, a candidate must be able to swim. Different companies tend to set an additional list of criteria for successful candidates, often including (but not limited to) the clauses related to height, weight and marital status.
‘Not only must each and every candidate meet the standard requirements, but he/she must also possess the right character traits. Potential employees seek people who are communicative, attentive, courteous and patient. After all, not all travellers are in high spirits and their demands must be met without interfering with or causing inconvenience to others. Then there is the issue of untraditional working schedule. Sometimes one has to work during holidays, weekends and nights, therefore, flexibility and adaptability are crucial for any cabin crew member. Absolutely all airlines impose exceptionally strict requirements on cabin crew appearance, although the age of 90-60-90 figures have luckily finished – nowadays the required proportions are more realistic while emphasizing a healthy height and weight ratio,’ explained the Baltic Aviation Academy CRM (Crew Resource Management) instructor Dainuole Bartasiuniene.
‘Every airline applies a different list of requirements; therefore everyone has a chance to find his/her own niche. Airlines in the Near East, for instance, requires their cabin crew members to sign a fixed-term contract that regulates their personal life – they cannot get married, have a boyfriend or a girlfriend and having kids is absolutely out of question. On the other hand, working for a lavish airline has its own perks: you can visit a lot of exciting places all over the world and the salaries are nothing to complain about. In the meantime, European carriers offer much more flexible conditions thus enabling their employees to combine both a successful carrier and a family life. Working as a flight attendant has many more advantages. It is anything but boring and every day keeps on bringing new experiences. One day you may find yourself in Paris, the next – in Oslo or Sydney,’ says Jurgita Baleviciene, a training instructor with 16 years of experience working as an air hostess.
Baltic Aviation Academy lists several factors that may become the deciding point for airlines when picking the right candidate. These include a degree-level education, an experience in working with large people flows and a flight attendant certificate from a reputable training institution. During a cabin crew training course all candidates are provided with general professional knowledge, information regarding their duties and responsibilities, aviation safety, quality passenger service and practical skills needed to perform in standard as well as emergency situations.
What might seem strange nowadays, for a very long time the only flight attendants were men. However, around 1930’s airlines noticed that proper service is a very important factor in attracting new customers. One of the American carriers employed an ex-medical nurse called Ellen Church. She became the first female flight attendant in history. The presence of a nurse proved to have a calming effect on passengers and soon enough other airlines adopted the same practice.
Baltic Aviation Academy has so far trained more than 10 000 aviation specialists. On the 6th of February, 2012 it is set to welcome a new group of students wishing to become certified flight attendants.