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How to Become an Air Hostess

By: Maggie Lonsdale BA (hons) - Updated: 12 Jul 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Air Hostess Cabin Crew Airline Low Cost

The reality of working as an air hostess is a million miles away from the outdated perceptions of a ‘trolley dolly’ or a ‘waitress in the sky’.

With such strict safety regulations, a dramatic increase in low-cost flights and the tight turn-around times, plus regulations at airports, working as an air hostess, or rather, as cabin crew, is a very demanding job.

While there has been a large amount of negative press about cabin crew thanks to strikes causing travel chaos, the image of cabin crew is still very much that of a glamorous career choice. Many cabin crew may disagree with that though, as the role is fast-paced, relatively low paid and highly competitive.

So why is it considered an appealing option, especially for young men and women? Well, the travel perks are a huge incentive and even if you work for a low-cost airline, rather than a large international carrier, there are still plenty of opportunities to see different places around the world.

Salary Expectations

There are two quite distinct arenas for cabin crew employment opportunities – low-cost airlines and major international carriers. Although the salary expectations are not that different (starting at around £14,000 and rising to around £20,000 for more senior cabin crew) the perks do tend to differ, as do the conditions.

For low-cost airline cabin crew, the flights tend to be short, with a very quick turnaround and fewer opportunities for stops of more than one night. For the international carriers, it is common for cabin crew to have two to three nights ‘off’ in their destination city, with all expenses paid.

It is worth noting that these expenses have been curtailed in recent years, particularly since the recession impacted the travel industry, so hotels are less impressive and per diem (daily allowances) rates are reduced.

Cabin Crew Criteria

For all cabin crew, there is a raft of criteria that must be met prior to any application. Most airlines tend to have direct recruitment policies, with application forms available on their website (usually under the careers section) that must be completed online. Although there are a few recruitment agencies that deal with airlines, this is not a particularly popular route, so applying direct is a better bet.

As a rule, the criteria include minimum height restrictions (usually 5ft 2") and ‘weight in proportion to height’. Although this certainly helps the ‘glamorous’ image of cabin crew, it is also for practical reasons, as the cabins are small, with a number of tasks needed to be completed in a small space.

Applicants must also have at least GCSE level English and maths, with references available from the last five years’ employment. Applicants need to be well presented, with no tattoos or piercings visible, plus be able to swim and tread water.

Training

Most training is done in a group setting, usual at the UK base of the airline. For those applying to work at other UK airports, accommodation is usually provided for the duration of the training. This can be around four weeks, with classroom-based learning, flight simulation and empty test flights.

Career Development

Although many people see working as a cabin crew member as a relatively short-term career while they are young, free and single, there are plenty of opportunities available for career development, perhaps because so many people leave after a couple of years. There are senior crew positions as well as land-based roles, with many cabin crew choosing to work in an office role at the airline once their personal circumstances make the shift patterns and required flexibility of being cabin crew less appealing.

Other Careers in Travel

To find out what other careers are available in the travel industry, read our article Working In Travel in the Leisure & Hospitality section of this site.

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[Add a Comment]
I'm only five ft 5 would it be a problem
El - 12-Jul-18 @ 8:43 PM
I forgot to mention i am an 18 year old British person
El - 12-Jul-18 @ 8:41 PM
Hey I was wondering I'm leaving college in Sheffield when I'm 22 and I'm living in my own house I was wondering. What qualifications I need I have level one English and level 2 mathsI can speak some Frenchso was wondering how many hours I would have to work ? I would have to ask my mum about the job first to see wether I could do it or not would I need to go to college as have no experience of being a air host desk
El - 12-Jul-18 @ 8:38 PM
Hi I am 15 years old, and I want to know what courses I can take at either Sixth form or College. Also the height requirements to become an air hostess. Is it a requirement to go to university.
vh19 - 16-Jun-18 @ 9:06 AM
Miss Mair - Your Question:
I am nearly 30 years old and free and single. I have been in hospitality for many years. I love people and traveling to which I would like to expand on. I have the right qualifications to meet the criteria however I am 5ft 1. Would this be a problem?

Our Response:
Some airlines have restrictions based on the height you need to be able to reach to place/remove items and open/close the overhead lockers. Cabin Crew Wings gives an overview here
ACareerChange - 6-Jun-18 @ 11:31 AM
I'm a mature 41 year old and am inquiring into becoming an air hostess A.S.A.P and would like to be sent some guidance on the correct path on which to go from here?I keep fit and think I look after my self for my age,would it be possible for someone to contact me regarding how to get started?I would appreciate some feedback with all the info I need to move forward.i currentley live in Gloucestershire in the UK.im a 5"6 slim build female.thank you.
Missmax - 6-Jun-18 @ 12:46 AM
I am nearly 30 years old and free and single. Ihave been in hospitality for many years. I love people and traveling to which I would like to expand on. I have the right qualifications to meet the criteria however I am 5ft 1. Would this be a problem?
Miss Mair - 5-Jun-18 @ 10:57 AM
Hello , I have my English and maths but have just finished college studying health and social care. I didn’t enjoy this at all and have looked into the air hostess job and it’s everything that I would like to do. I am 17 years of age and I would like to know what I need to do this and when and how ?
Daisy Lewis - 1-Jun-18 @ 6:18 PM
ellie - Your Question:
I’m currently doing my gcse & stuck on what course should take at collage, I will deffinatly be taking travel and tourism but still deciding weather I should take either/or geography and business studies?

Our Response:
Either of those subjects would be appropriate for applying for air crew jobs, so choose whichever one you enjoy most.
ACareerChange - 29-May-18 @ 12:54 PM
I’m currently doing my gcse & stuck on what course should take at collage, I will deffinatly be taking travel and tourism but still deciding weather i should take either/or geography and business studies?
ellie - 28-May-18 @ 2:33 PM
Am 24 years of age. A ghanaian and a senior high school lever. Being an air hostess has been my dream since childhood . Actually in Lebanon . Can speak arabic and French a side English language. I want to know more about this decent career andthe qualifications . Thanks
KnaaAdoma - 5-May-18 @ 10:00 PM
I'm actually 42 yrs, only finishing my role as single mum , as daughter finishing her exams and tending her own life n career of choice, hence , I ask of you, wether I'm to old to choose career in air travel,, hospitality?, I check off all the boxes required needed ?.
Blondebearbloo - 15-Mar-18 @ 5:45 PM
I'm an upper 6 learner at Regina mundi secondary school my dream is to become an airhostess ,but I'm not good in maths is there any problem about that,what is needed for me to become one
shazy - 15-Mar-18 @ 4:19 PM
I'm a form 4 learner at Fatima high school at Zimbabwe my dream is to become an airhostess but I'm not that good in maths is it a problem, actually what do I need to become one
masheza - 15-Mar-18 @ 4:15 PM
Hi; I would like to ask you that i am doing my GCSE'S and next year i will be doing my A levels but only for 1 year and can i start the job when i am 17 instead of 18.
Simran - 7-Mar-18 @ 5:34 AM
I'm 27 and considering a career change. I have my English and maths GCSEs and wondering what else I would need to be an air hostess? In total I have 5years of working experience but in various sectors, is this ok? Are there any specific qualifications needed? I've always dreamed of travelling and would love to do this
stokesy90 - 17-Feb-18 @ 7:24 PM
Jj123 - Your Question:
Hey I've got my maths abd English gcse. And I'm doing my a levels. I know what I wanna do in the future but I don't know if I'll be good enough to get into university sof was wondering if the 5 years of work experience are they really needed or can I just started as soon as I'm 19 (

Our Response:
The five year's employment is not necessary - it just means that if you've not been in education, you have to be able to show what you were doing/have refences etc.
ACareerChange - 9-Feb-18 @ 3:36 PM
Hey I've got my maths abd English gcse. And I'm doing my a levels. I know what I wanna do in the future but I don't know if I'll be good enough to get into university sof was wondering if the 5 years of work experience are they really needed or can I just started as soon as I'm 19 (
Jj123 - 9-Feb-18 @ 1:45 PM
Hello, i am 16 and i want to become an air hostess in the future. I didn't do very good with my GCSE's and now i'm retaking my Maths and English in college. I'm currently in a health and social course but next year i want to train to be a air hostess. If i directly apply to a airline agency when i turn 18 and pass my Maths and English will they train me?
Georgia - 24-Jan-18 @ 10:13 PM
thx for respning to my comment
heena ?? - 24-Jan-18 @ 5:29 PM
Heena?? - Your Question:
I am 13 and I REALLY want to become and air hostess.English is not my first language, I can speak up to 4 languages.4 languages: English, Hindi, Gujarati and I am currently learning Spanish. Because I have dimples people surrender to my simile(apparently??).People think that I shouldn't be an air hostess but I have always learnt to follow my heart.And now that I am at the stage of choosing my GCSE I want to help because; I want to choose that correct subjects so that I can be qualified to be an air hostess. I would be an honoured if you replay to my message. Thx

Our Response:
Any subjects at GCSE will be fine as long as English and Maths are included.
ACareerChange - 24-Jan-18 @ 12:24 PM
HirhostDreamer - Your Question:
Hello. I'm Irena I'm 12 years old and i've always wanted to become and airhostes its my dream job and I reaserched about every single fact about AirHost and all the posebility, I've always wanted to become a Wizz Air Hostess and I know Bulgarian and English perfectly but I'm not that good in Maths, is Maths really involved in this job? And do I need O levels or A leves? Do I need to go to University for this job? And how long does it take to become this job? May you answer all my questions please, It will be my pleasure to know all those thing from now, and I will try to work hard on this process, Thankyou

Our Response:
Applicants must have at least GCSE level English and maths. You don't need A levels or a university degree. Please read the article above for more details.
ACareerChange - 24-Jan-18 @ 12:14 PM
I am 13 and i REALLY want to become and air hostess.English is not my first language, i can speak up to 4 languages.4 languages: English, Hindi, Gujarati and i am currently learning Spanish. Because i have dimples people surrender to my simile(apparently??).People think that i shouldn't be an air hostess but i have always learnt to follow my heart.And now that i am at the stage of choosing my GCSE i want to help because; i want to choose that correct subjects so that i can be qualified to be an air hostess. I would be an honoured if you replayto my message. Thx
Heena?? - 23-Jan-18 @ 7:11 PM
Hello. I'm Irena i'm 12 years old and i've always wanted to become and airhostes its my dream job and i reaserched about every single fact about AirHost and all the posebility, I've always wanted to become a Wizz Air Hostess and i know Bulgarian and English perfectly but i'm not that good in Maths, is Maths really involved in this job? And do i need O levels or A leves? Do i need to go to University for this job? And how long does it take to become this job? May you answer all my questions please, It will be my pleasure to know all those thing from now, and i will try to work hard on this process, Thankyou
HirhostDreamer - 23-Jan-18 @ 3:00 PM
Livs - Your Question:
Hiya I just have a question about any specific A levels. I am just completing GCSE's and am in the process of choosing A levels are there any specific subjects I should choose to be an airhostess?

Our Response:
Not really, as long as you have the relevant GCSEs as detailed in the above article. Airlines may consider it useful if you have a foreign language or a vocational qualification in travel, tourism, hospitalityetc.
ACareerChange - 10-Jan-18 @ 3:37 PM
Hiya I just have a question about any specific A levels. I am just completing GCSE's and am in the process of choosing A levels are there any specific subjects i should choose to be an airhostess?
Livs - 9-Jan-18 @ 8:37 PM
Hi, I’m 20 years old, I’m from England, I’ve experience of working with children, the elderly and working as a sales assistant and also a freelance makeup artist. I’ve got a C in English and btec science but a D in maths. Is it possible becoming an air hostess with a D in maths. I’m really wanting to become an air hostess, I need a different lifestyle and a career, I feel this is the best for me as it’s a dream job.
Sheila - 6-Dec-17 @ 10:27 PM
Ayuni - Your Question:
Hi I am Ayuni and I'm from Sri lanka. I'm 16 and I dream of becoming an air hostess. I have 1A* , 5As and a B for my GCSE O/Ls. To be an air hostess do I need to do any special courses? Do I just apply directly to a airline agency where they will train me?

Our Response:
Yes usually it's a case of applying directly to airlines that have vacancies for trainee air crew. The above article gives an indication of the criteria and what you need to do.
ACareerChange - 4-Dec-17 @ 11:16 AM
Hi I am Ayuni and i'm from Sri lanka. I'm 16 and i dream of becoming an air hostess. I have 1A* , 5As and a B for my GCSE O/Ls. To be an air hostess do i need to do any special courses? Do i just apply directly to a airline agency where they will train me?
Ayuni - 3-Dec-17 @ 7:17 AM
My name is Ellie Queen and my dream is so become a qualified air hostess and a job that is exciting and I’m so looking forward to it when I leave school is they anything specific that I need to do
Ellie - 15-Nov-17 @ 5:28 PM
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