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Career Doctor
Why is it so difficult to become a flight attendant?
posted on Monday, 18 April 2011 03:02

Dear doctor,

When I finished F.7, I worked as a hotel receptionist for 4 yrs, and have been promoted to senior receptionist. I thought this kind of job is related to becoming a flight attendant, cos both are about customer service, so since then I have tried to apply for a cabin crew position at a major airline. But why is there still no reply? Cos I really feel interested in working as a flight attendant! 


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Anonymous's picture
Just another waitress.
Posted Saturday, 02 July 2011 09:30 AM

Depending on which airline you were applying for, you may find that the standard of "customer service" may vary a lot. Although by definition of the terminology "customer service" does exist in a role like Hotel Receptionist, to that of a Flight Attendant, but the actual workload IS different.

For example, you do not serve food to customers, smile, and hold a certain composure, as a receptionist. You do not have to work in shift patterns on long journeys as a receptionist. You do not have to maintain a certain weight, and stay in a certain shape, and live a certain lifestyle as a receptionist. You do not have to get a body check as a receptionist periodically. You do not have to deal with being independent and deployed in another country for a period of time as a receptionist, whereby you may not just call up your friend to discuss a bad day's work.

The kind of scenario that you have to deal with on an international airline are: IF a male passenger was behaving seriously untowards you in a sexual context which made you feel uncomfortable, you need to know the professional skills to deflect this kind of attention, play down the situation, and maintain both your airline's reputation AND your own dignity, WITHOUT raising your voice and alarm other customers. Can you do this ? Can you learn this kind of strong diplomacy ?

I would not encourage really young girls to enter the profession so soon, or maybe they should try and apply to the short-haul airlines, and not the International airlines just yet. Just to see how they adapt to situations, and then decide whether this is for you as a long term goal. If it is, then you can always perfect your skills, and foreign language too in order to go for the big airlines. Cos the standard and competition there is high. I am not sure if international airlines, they require a degree education, but by then, you would have gotten the short-haul airline experiences as a way to prove yourself to them ?

My advice to you is that, if you have finished F7 only, then I definitely encourage you to try and find work in hotels like The Hyatt in HK. I have met with a events manager there, who was French. His people reading skill was truly exquisite. If you watch tv, and notice actresses, many of them knows when and how to behave and so forth. This kind of people skills and readiness is what is required at the high-end of customer service. You wait in anticipation of what your customer want and desire.

I went to most of the hotels in HK to ask about wedding packages, and The Hyatt truly impressed me with their servicing. One still spammed me after I requested that they remove me from their mailing list!

I myself is actually from the UK. The standard of service which that French Manager exhibited is the "normal" standard every day courtesy which Europeans behave generally. If you can become like THAT, then I think you have a very bright future as a Flight Attendant, and possibly also in the higher-end of hotels. I have found a lot of people here in the hospitality sector do not really consider the "service" and "international image" that represents their own company and instead just think "I need to resolve this quickly" and forget their etiquette that they are talking to a customer.

In HK's hospitality, you need to treat people as if they are your family, well, better than your own family even. As about their well-being, making sure they are okay, and really think in their shoes. Put yourself in their positions and so forth. Also, you must be able to read a situation too.

I wish you the best of luck.

Anonymous's picture
Posted Monday, 06 June 2011 05:51 AM

Not sure I'd agree Career Doc, it sounds like you have little idea what a hotel receptionist actually does and deals with on a day to day basis. It's not a walk in the park like you make it sound.

Both jobs are about long enduring hours, demanding guests / passengers, attitude, personality, etc... In other words - pretty classic for the service industry. Receptionist certainly does link in with a flight attendant career - not directly, but they are both hospitality jobs where you deal directly with your customer base and have to maintain professional and polite manners despite the circumstances.

I would say you should re-evaluate your interpretation of the hospitality industry.

Career Doctor's picture
Career Doctor  
Posted Monday, 09 May 2011 03:54 PM

Come on, a flight attendant is NOT a customer service job, it's a sacrificing job! You also need to know you're competing with university graduates from all over the world, not only local HK job-seekers.

You wouldn't stand a chance if you think it's only about service. It's about attitude and personality and endurance – lacking any of that, you won't succeed. And even if you do, you can't survive, and you won't like the job.

Have you ever tried talking to anyone who's working as a flight attendant to get some insider information? Hours and workloads can be extremely heavy and passengers demanding. Are you prepared for the hard work that comes with the role and sure that you’re not just attracted to the glamour of the profession?

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