The Things Airlines Don’t Tell You About the Cabin Crew Recruitment Process

So you’ve decided that now is the time to become Cabin Crew — Let the journey begin. You’ve researched the airline, found out all about the recruitment process and got your application ready to be submitted. But there are a few things you won’t find on many recruitment websites. The things that airlines don’t tell you about the Cabin Crew recruitment process.

When I started my journey I was really naïve. I didn’t know how hard it was going to be or how long the process could possibly take. What I went through was enlightening and at times amazing. But there was plenty of frustration, self-doubt and disappointment along the way as well.

This is what I learnt on my journey:

It Will Take Longer than You Could Possibly Imagine

When I first committed to becoming Cabin Crew I had it in my head that I could show up at an Open Day and within a couple of months I would be flying high. How wrong I was. The process takes a long time — longer than you imagine. For me, I successfully passed the application process just over a year after my first Cabin Crew Open Day. It was half a year later until I actually joined the airline.

Unfortunately, I was knocked back several times at the beginning. I had to commit a lot of time to improve my application. Then there’s the time taken up attending Assessment Days and the waiting and waiting to hear back from an airline.

Even if you’re successful on your first try, don’t expect the process to be much quicker. You’ll have to get medical approval and pass rigorous security screening — this is not a fast process. Once you’ve got through that you have to wait for a training course. Airlines can only train a small number of new Cabin Crew at any one time so expect to be put on a waiting list for several months.

And in that time, everything could have changed. The aviation sector is fast moving and the needs of airlines are constantly evolving. One day an airline is actively recruiting Cabin Crew — the next, they’ve suspended recruitment and withdrawing training courses. It does happen and its heart-breaking.

Some people worry that in the time they wait to achieve their dream, they’ll be too old to become Cabin Crew. There really is no need to worry. There are very few airlines that put an upper age limit on new applicants. The recruitment process takes a long time even if many airlines don’t publicly admit it.

It Will Cost a Lot of Money

I’ve never worked out how much money I spent in total to land this dream job. I shiver at the thought of how much it would come to. Let’s just say that it will be a lot. The costs just seem to come and come and come.

Cabin Crew are expected to adhere to exceptional grooming standards so there’s the cost of buying a new outfit and looking the part for the Assessment Day. If you’ve applied for a Middle East airline you’ve probably also spent money on having professional photographs taken.

And of course, airline recruiters can only visit a limited number of cities around the world. If you’re not lucky enough to live in one of these cities you can add the transport and hotel costs on top as well. I’ve known candidates to travel thousands of miles just for the opportunity to attend an Open Day.

If you get offered the job you have to pay for medical tests, doctors reports and security vetting. If you’re not successful, multiple that initial outlay two or even three times. None of this will be reimbursed by the airline.

In fact, some airlines will even expect you to pay for your initial training course and your uniform. It’s all worth it in the end but the money you spend to get to this point can be staggering.

You’ll Meet A Lot of Amazing People

I could never have imagined I would meet so many talented and truly fantastic people on this journey. You’ll speak with people who have the most amazing stories. People who have had such wonderful experiences and who truly widen your outlook on life.

No doubt, you’ll make friends with other candidates. I would positively encourage it. They’re not competitors but a vital source of support. Throughout your journey, you’ll swap numbers and stay in touch through Facebook. They know exactly what you’re going through unlike anyone else.

People from all walks of life make the decision to become Cabin Crew. It’s inspiring and heartwarming.

You’ll Become Obsessed with the ‘Job’

Remember the cartoon, Pinky and the Brain? In every episode, Pinky would ask: “Gee, Brain, what do you want to do tonight?, to which Brain always replied: “The same thing we do every night, Pinky — try to take over the world.”

Change the last bit of the sentence to “try to become Cabin Crew” and you’ll have some kind of idea of how obsessed I became. I spent hours upon hours creating my resume and application, researching possible interview questions and practising the answers. I meticulously researched the airline I wanted to work for and sought advice everywhere.

Getting through the Cabin Crew recruitment process seemed to take over my life. It was the last thing I thought about at night — and the first thing in the morning. Oh, and I guarantee the same thing will happen to you too!

You Will Grow as a Person

When I attended my first Open Day I thought I had more than enough skills and experience to make a great member of Cabin Crew. I was quickly rejected but my hopes and passion never faded.

Almost immediately, I looked at ways that I could improve myself — I took a training course and started to learn a foreign language. My new skills improved my performance in my day job and I became a voluntary worker for a local charity. I continued to travel and meet new people around the world.

It was my desire to become a Flight Attendant that spurred me on to do these things. I was a better person for it and it showed on my application.

Of course, there was plenty of disappointment and heartache along the way. But this journey taught me how to deal with these feelings and turn them into something constructive.

But it Will All Be Worth It

After the tears and heartache. The countless hours worrying. The money spent and time used. It will be worth. Whatever reason you want to become Cabin Crew you’ll come out the recruitment process a better person.

This article originally appeared here: The Things Airlines Don’t Tell You About the Cabin Crew Recruitment Process

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