Flight attendant is one of the most wanted jobs in the world, which is why there are a lot of stereotypes that often have nothing to do with reality. To ensure that the dream of working in the aviation industry is not overshadowed by misconceptions, SmartLynx Airlines Recruitment Coordinator Ricardo Faria shares his thoughts on the most common myths about flight attendants.
#1 Flight attendants = waiters in the sky
The role of the cabin crew is often associated with the work waiters do in a restaurant – as a result, passengers are sometimes unaware of the security measures enforced by flight attendants when necessary. Although concern for passenger comfort and satisfaction is essential part of the job, safety is the priority of flight attendants, which they are taught in special training courses. After completing the courses, flight attendants can provide first aid, organize evacuation, take appropriate action in the event of an attempted hijacking, help someone deliver a baby, even help people survive on a lonely island.
“I am convinced that no passenger has been in a situation where, for instance, during strong turbulence flight attendants continue to serve sandwiches and drinks. And I can guarantee that no one will experience anything like that because, in any extraordinary situation, the first thing flight attendants will think about is the safety of the passengers,” says SmartLynx Airlines Recruitment Coordinator Ricardo Faria.
#2 Strict requirements regarding age and appearance
There are airlines that do have strict requirements, but for the most part airlines want to hire real people, not models you see in advertisements. “Of course, we also have our own rules regarding appearance, but it’s not complicated – the main thing is that the person is well-groomed. We also don’t sort people by age – people can start working as SmartLynx Airlines flight attendants at the age of 20 or 30, or later. Our oldest flight attendant is now 57 years old, so you don’t have to worry about ending your career too early. We often get questions about tattoos, and our position is simple – if you cover hide your tattoos while wearing the uniform at work, we have no objections. Likewise, we provide equal opportunities for all potential employees, regardless of their gender, race, ethnic or social origin, sexual orientation and the like,” says Ricardo Faria.
The airline also provides the uniforms, and women may choose whether to wear pants or a skirt. A mandatory requirement for high-heel shoes is a myth, as SmartLynx Airlines policy envisages that flight attendants can also wear classic low-heel shoes, which means a significant relief during longer flights.
#3 This is a job for women
The stereotype that women are better suited to the profession of a flight attendant than men is not quite true. Fun fact: the world’s first flight attendant was a man named Heinrich Kubis from Germany. SmartLynx Airlines at the moment has close to 550 flight attendants, almost half of which, or 43%, are men.
#4 Flight attendants must be proficient in several languages
In the aviation industry, communication is done in English, so a good command of English is the only mandatory requirement. Traditionally, airlines based in a particular country may also require knowledge of the local language. For example, if the flight takes off from Riga, most flight attendants will speak Latvian and English.
“Even though we are an airline registered in Latvia, our business model, charter flights and full-service lease of aircraft with crew, does not require mandatory knowledge of the state language. This means that Latvian citizens as well as residents from other countries, including outside Europe, can apply to work as SmartLynx Airlines flight attendants. We try to plan the so-called base or place of departure so that it is the same as the flight attendant’s place of residence and he or she speaks the language,” adds Ricardo Faria.
How to become a flight attendant?
In order to apply for a job as a flight attendant, a candidate without prior experience needs a valid European Union passport or a permit to live and work in the EU, without travel restrictions, and a high school diploma. The person must be at least 18 years old, with no criminal record, and in good physical shape, for instance, he or she must be able to swim 25 metres. Specific knowledge and skills will be taught by the airline – according to SmartLynx data, almost all candidates qualify for flight attendant’s training course.