20 Essential Skills Needed to Become a Cabin Crew Member

20 Essential Skills Needed to Become a Cabin Crew Member

Being a cabin crew member can be very exciting and glamorous; after all, there are few career paths that allow you to travel and work at the same time. But to be a successful flight attendant you need to have the skills, the personality and the look to fit the description. If you're looking for a job in cabin crew, here's a list of the top qualities you must possess to set yourself apart from the competition.

1. Customer Service Skills

Customer service is probably the most important skill that a cabin crew member should have; your entire job is about ensuring that the customer is safe and happy. You must go above and beyond to make sure their journey with you was memorable and that they will return to fly again with your company. As Cailey Rizzo explains in Travel + Leisure, “it’s the airline employees that set the experience apart”.

2. Teamwork

A successful and happy flight is a result of teamwork. You’ll find that you will rarely work with the same people each day and should be able to adapt and gel with different members of the team for the flight to run smoothly.  

3. Communication Skills

Flight attendants must be effective communicators; you’ll need to advise passengers on proper emergency procedures and convey information clearly. Listening to the clients request and responding to it in a timely manner is essential. In emergencies, cabin crew members need to relay information to their team members and passengers plainly and effectively.

4. Friendliness and Positivity

The long hours and hard work can sometimes take a toll on your mood. But, you need to make sure you remain friendly and positive. A customer won’t know how many unsocial hours you have worked in the past week, or the tough journey you had to work, and they will expect the highest level of customer service. You will be chosen for the job on your bubbly personality so never forget that.

5. Caring and Understanding

Your customers will have a varied range of needs and issues. You need to demonstrate that you can understand those needs and care for all your customers in a timely manner. You must show that you are compassionate and kind when you are dealing with fragile problems.

6. Professionalism and Responsibility

Cabin crew are primarily responsible for the safety of their passengers. You must always perform your duties in a professional manner and show that you are trusted to take the health and safety of your customers and colleagues seriously.

7. Independence and Dependability

A flight attendant is required to perform their duties independently with little or no supervision. It’s important that you’re reliable and dependable and can fulfil all the tasks and obligations to the best of your ability.

8. Empathy

It’s important to be sensitive to others needs and feelings, including passengers and other crew members. If you see that a colleague is struggling, be understanding and helpful.

9. Adaptability and Flexibility

In this line of work, it’s essential that your personal qualities include being adaptable and flexible to changes in the workplace. Although you can receive your scheduled flights a few weeks in advance, it’s important that your diary is kept free as you may also be required to be on standby and available to fly at short notice to cover sickness or another major issue.

10. Cultural Awareness

You’ll most likely be working with a diverse team including people from different cultural backgrounds to your own. You must be someone that can work with anyone, no matter what their race, age, nationality and gender is. In fact, you should be excited to work in a differing environment to broaden your knowledge on humanity and different races.

11. Physical Fitness

As this is a physical job, you need to ensure you have a good fitness level and can endure being on your feet for over eight hours a day. You will also need to meet some specific requirements during your application process.

12. Well Groomed and Graceful

Flight attendants are the public image of the airline and must look the part. Your grooming should be impeccable and your posture graceful. You’ll be working long hours and have to look just as fresh at the end of the flight as you did at the start.

13. Self Control

A flight attendant must keep their composure at all times. Even if you are faced with a difficult situation that can make you angry or upset, you must keep your emotions in check and avoid any behaviour that is out-of-character.  

14. Stress Tolerance

Sometimes, a flight can be very stressful because of certain situations such as flight delays, full flight load, difficult and demanding passengers, or even crew conflict. Flight attendants must be able to accept criticism and deal calmly and effectively with high-stress situations. It’s important to have a stress-management routine that you follow; whether it’s taking a deep breath when you are faced with a demanding situation or learning to let go and not letting something bother you. Phang, a current flight attendant, said that “a tolerant attitude… has helped him greatly in his job. In fact, he found he could also apply such good-natured mien to other areas of his life.”

15. Attention to Detail

Another key skill is having great attention to detail. Paying attention and being careful about details is one of the top qualities that a cabin crew member must have. Most airlines spend a lot of money training flight attendants on how to deliver their core values effectively.

16. Initiative and Leadership

You must have great enthusiasm in taking responsibility and finding quick solutions to problems that arise. This, in turn, shows good leadership qualities; having the ability to take charge, and offer opinions and direction to crew and passengers when required.

17. Organisation

A highly sought skill of a flight attendant; you must be able to display good organisation skills especially in the workplace to maximise time for other tasks. As there is a time constraint on flights you must be able to prioritise. This is also important in your daily life too; you will need to ensure you’re organised so you can be on standby if you are needed to go to work at the last minute.

18. Good Time Management

In a similar vein, good time management is another requisite. It’s important to manage your own time to be at work well before the scheduled flight; otherwise, you would lose your job.

19. Discretion

Discretion is important when dealing with a potential issue with either a passenger or crew member. A metal tube in the sky is not the place for anyone to have a meltdown. There’s a saying amongst flight attendants that “what happens on a flight, stays on a flight”.

20. Numerical Competence

Cabin crew members need to be competent in using basic mathematics; during the flight, you will need to work with money when selling duty-free products and refreshments. You will also need to have an understanding of currency rates and conversions.

Some of these skills will come naturally to you, whereas others will be learnt through previous work experience, or on the job.

Geoffrey Nevine — IT Services and IT Consulting

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