A wanderlust career, a new place every day, chances to see the best places and taste of a luxurious lifestyle are few of the perks as a Cabin Crew. It has also become one of the largest job categories of the growing travel industry.
Cabin Crew: An Overview
Cabin crew or better known as flight attendants play a crucial role in helping passengers feel at home during air travel. Their role is not only to be of assistance to the passengers’ comforts & safety but also to maintain the decorum within flight by being affirmative and attentive. The career requires little formal education till the 12th standard and having good command over languages is an added advantage.
The career gives a lot of chances of meeting different people from all over the world and experiencing different cultures of cities around the world. As India expands its airline services, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) predicts that the country will become the third-largest aviation market by 2026. This is largely a female dominant profession but many men too have carved a niche for themselves.
One must remember seeing flight attendants who are mostly tall, young and physically fit – a vain but necessary attribute. There is, of course, a lot of pressure on looking good but apart from that having a good vision, no visible tattoos or piercing when wearing a uniform, excellent communication skills and hospitality skills are also very important. The age-bar for entry into the field is 25 years. Apart from these attributes, each airline may also have a specific list of physical attributes that they look for in their crew.
There are aviation hospitality and management diplomas and certifications which range from a duration of three months to one year. Though not very different from one another, the course structure of a diploma and certificate slightly vary in terms of in-depth knowledge, extra flying hours and extensive course curriculum; diploma being the more advanced certification. However, careful research and feedback from past students is absolutely necessary before enrolling in any program to ensure safety, security and a legit certificate.
Certificate and diploma courses can span from three months to 12 months and the total investment may add up to approximately Rs. 150,000. To be accepted, a candidate has to successfully go through the screening procedure, written test, group discussion, and personal interview. Post the selection, the first part of the training covers hospitality, grooming, and emergency procedures.
Once that is done, the education to be an on-flight cabin crew starts on trainee flights. Several technical or non-technical aircraft-related subjects are covered from theory to practice. Rigorous training in in-flight services like serving meals, passenger psychology, and handling, conversational and transactional analysis, emergency evacuation system, hijacking situation, emergency demonstrations are covered. Many institutes also assist students in finding the right placement, albeit at an additional cost.
Top Indian Academies
|Air India Staff College, Mumbai||http://www.airindia.in/|
|Trade-Wings Institute Of Management (TIM), Mumbai||www.timindia.com|
|Bombay Flying Club, Mumbai||www.thebombayflyingclub.com|
|Indian Aviation Academy, Mumbai||http://www.indianaviationacademy.com/|
|India International Trade Center||http://www.iitc.in/|
Studying a cabin crew course abroad is not usually preferred because the courses offered aren’t very different than the ones in India albeit the high education fees. Another factor that plays an important role is that international airlines have their own training durations, where selected crew members train. To increase your chances and credence as a cabin crew for reputed international airlines, excellent conversation skills, knowledge of foreign languages and a degree in hospitality may well prove to be beneficial.
A cabin crew can be recruited by domestic, international and private airline companies. Once selected by an airline, the crew also has to go through the airline’s specific training course which is no more than four to eight weeks long. The training familiarizes you with their functions, service standards and protocols. The starting salary of a crew ranges from Rs.15,000 to Rs. 30,000 for flying not more than 72 hours in a month.
The salaries keep increasing as seniority keeps increasing, going up to Rs. 75,000 a month. Joining an international airline can considerably increase your income, earning Rs. 1.5 lakh to Rs. 2 lakh a month. But the competition is extremely fierce out there and a limited period of 8-10 years is at the average maximum time a cabin crew remains air-borne.
However, there are many roles that you can undertake like ground crew, crew trainer or also position at a managerial level; the latter requires further studies. Alternatively, a successful cabin crew can later find a career in fields like hospitality and travel, food and beverages, finishing schools to name a few.
A Career as a Cabin Crew: Pros
- Travel and see many places, while you get paid for it
- Free or Discounted airline tickets for you, your family and friends
- Limited hours of monthly flying
- International medical insurance
- Paid annual vacation
- Free premium accommodation and transportation
- Discount on Duty Free shopping at major airports across the world
A Career as Cabin Crew: Cons
- Erratic flying schedule and Jet lags
- Being polite and nice every minute of being on the flight
- Uncouth passengers
- Unpleasant scenarios of hospitality – air sickness on you, crying babies
- The physical toll of flying long hours like junk food, weak nails, and hair.
Every profession has its own advantages and disadvantages but at the end of the day, the whole experience of being a cabin crew is like no other. Your exposure to different people, lifestyles, places, and situations will enhance your client service skills, teach you to be a team player and being an adventurer at a young age. Granted that a few days will be great days and a few will be challenging, there will come times when you have to make tough decisions in career and personal life but if flying has been your dream – there is no better satisfaction.