Customer services

Air cabin crew

Air cabin crew look after airline passengers, making sure they have a safe, comfortable and pleasant flight.

Annual Salary

£12,000 to £30,000

Average UK salary in 2018 was £29,588 (source Office for Statistics)

Working hours

30 to 40

What's it all about?

Before a flight you could be:

  • taking part in a meeting about the flight and its schedule 
  • checking that there are enough supplies on the plane and that emergency equipment is working properly
  • greeting passengers
  • demonstrating emergency equipment and procedures 

During a flight you might be:

  • making sure passengers are comfortable 
  • serving food and drinks, and selling duty-free items
  • making announcements 
  • reassuring passengers in the event of an emergency, and making sure they follow safety procedures

At the end of a flight you'll often be:

  • making sure passengers leave the plane safely
  • writing a flight report, including about any unusual incidents
  • adding up and recording food and drink orders, and duty-free sales

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly

College

You could do a college course like a Level 2 Certificate in Air Cabin Crew or study a cabin crew module as part of a broader travel and tourism course.

You may need:

  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D) for a level 2 course

Apprenticeship

You could start by doing a cabin crew advanced apprenticeship.

This will usually take one year to complete. You'll do on-the-job training and spend time with a college or training provider.

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), usually including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

Direct application

You could apply directly to airlines for a cabin crew job. Entry requirements vary but good customer service skills will be expected.

Career tips

Some airlines and private providers run 2-day cabin crew courses, which may help your chances of getting a job.

Restrictions and requirements

You'll need to:

Usually you'll also be expected to:

  • have a smart appearance
  • have a valid passport with no restrictions for the countries the airline travels to
  • live within 90 minutes of your base

Many airlines also ask that you're able to swim up to 25 metres.

There are rules about height and weight - these vary between airlines. As a general guide, most look for people between 5ft 2in (157cm) and 6ft 2in (188cm) with weight in proportion to height.

£12,000 to £30,000

Starter salary: £12,000 to £14,000

Experienced salary: £15,000 to £21,000

You could earn more with overtime work and flight allowances.

Some airlines offer free or discounted flights to cabin crew staff and their families.

These figures are a guide.

30 to 40

You'll work shifts that include weekends, nights and public holidays. The amount of time you'll spend away from home will depend on the flight routes you choose to work on.

The work can be physically demanding, and you'll spend time working in small spaces like the kitchen galley.

The airline will provide you with a uniform.

With experience, you could progress to cabin crew supervisor or a senior air cabin crew role.

You could also work in a ground-based role like cabin crew training, recruitment, passenger services, marketing or sales.

You'll find details about working as air cabin crew from Careers That Move.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • customer service skills for working with passengers
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • to enjoy working with other people
  • knowledge of public safety and security
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • sensitivity and understanding for dealing with customers’ needs
  • a desire to help people and a friendly manner
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
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