Guide to Becoming a Private Flight Attendant with Essential Skills! Working as a private flight attendant offers unique challenges and opportunities for flight service professionals . Pursuing work as a private flight attendant often includes both increased compensation and higher expectations. Learning about the experience of a private flight attendant may help you determine if it’s the right career path for you. In this article, we discuss what a private flight attendant is and what they do, their key skills, the average salary and job outlook and explain how to become a private flight attendant.
What is a private flight attendant?
A private flight attendant is an air service professional who works outside of commercial airlines. They may work for a private employer, working for a single client when needed. They may also work as part of a chartered flight company, serving multiple clients on one flight .
What does a private flight attendant do?
A private flight attendant may have a wide range of responsibilities because of the potentially varied needs of clients. Common responsibilities for a private flight attendant may include:
Cleaning and preparing the airplane before and after trips
Performing safety checks of the interior of the airplane
Preparing seating areas for clients, including upgrading seats based on client needs or availability
Managing inventory on the plane to ensure staff and clients have access to any supplies they require during the flight
Following federal and company safety regulations before, during and after flights
Providing inflight service to clients, including traditional flight attendant services and additional requests
Maintaining the confidentiality of the clients
Private flight attendant skills
When pursuing a career as a private flight attendant, it’s beneficial to focus on developing the key skills employers may look for when hiring, including:
Attention to detail
When serving clients on a private jet, you may face highly specialized requests from clients who expect attendants to follow orders precisely . Attention to detail is a critical skill for ensuring the service you provide meets the expectations of the clients. It allows you to identify areas where you can provide high-quality service.
Strong communication skills allow you to effectively communicate with passengers and other members of the crew. This allows you to relay important information to keep everyone on board safe. It’s also beneficial to your ability to provide services and amenities to clients, as it allows you to relay information about products and services available during the flight.
Private flight attendants are often responsible for maintaining a clean cabin for passengers. Because tickets for private planes may be more expensive, passengers may also expect a higher standard of cleanliness. The ability to maintain pristine conditions inside of a plane may help you make a positive impression on clients and receive stronger performance reviews for your work.
When working as a private flight attendant, you may provide service to high-profile individuals. These passengers may expect a high level of confidentiality, and the ability to protect the discretion of clients can be an important skill. This includes not only any actions clients take or requests the clients make while on the plane, but can also involve keeping details of the flight private afterward .
Maintaining a personable attitude and positive mood can be beneficial as a private flight attendant. A friendly flight attendant can help passengers feel at ease and welcomed on the plane. This allows you to provide passengers with the pleasant experience they expect during their flight.
As a private flight attendant, you may have opportunities to travel to foreign countries. You may also have instances where individuals from foreign nations hire you or make use of the charter service. Being fluent in one or more foreign languages may make you a more appealing candidate for a private flight attendant position, as it can increase your ability to communicate in these situations.
Passengers on a private flight may hold high standards for service. Time management skills allow you to complete multiple tasks on time through prioritizing tasks and allocating time to each task properly. This can help you ensure you meet the standards of your guests by quickly providing the service they desire.
How to become a private flight attendant
If you’re interested in a career as a private flight attendant, follow these steps:
1. Earn a high school diploma
When considering becoming a flight attendant, the first step is to earn your high school diploma or GED. Most airlines and private flight attendant employers require a minimum of a high school diploma or its equivalent. Completing your high school education can supply you with basic skills that may help you complete basic flight attendant tasks.
2. Get certified in basic first aid
Earn your first aid and CPR certification. Passing a certification program teaches you how to apply CPR and other basic first aid maneuvers. This is beneficial as a private flight attendant, where there may not be medical professionals on board in the event of an in-flight emergency.
3. Gain customer service experience
Seek employment in a customer service position while completing your education. Gaining service experience teaches you how to interact with customers and provide high-quality care. A potential employer may view previous experience in the service industry positively when considering your application.
4. Apply to work as a commercial flight attendant
Update your resume and apply to positions as a flight attendant with commercial airlines. Private flight attendant opportunities may list previous commercial airline experience as a prerequisite for consideration. Working for a commercial airline provides you with valuable experience interacting with guests on a flight and also teaches important flight safety procedures.
5. Attend a flight attendant training program
Participate in and complete your flight attendant training after a commercial airline offers you a job opportunity. When accepting a position as a first-time flight attendant with a commercial airline, they commonly enroll you in their training program. This teaches you basic flight attendant skills and the specific procedures and policies of your employer.
6. Refine your skills
Develop your key skills as a flight attendant during your time working for a commercial airline. This allows you to refine the skills a private employer might find appealing so you can raise your chances for consideration. Pay attention to performance reviews you received during your time as a commercial flight attendant, as this can alert you to your strengths and areas you can improve to be a more effective flight attendant.
7. Update your resume and apply for positions
Search for private flight attendant job opportunities and submit your application. When applying, note any skills or job duties listed in the job posting and highlight areas in your resume that display your previous experience and talents. You may seek work opportunities with an individual employer seeking a crew for their personal jet or with a charter company that hires crew and rents flights on their jets to clients.
Salary and job outlook
The national average salary for flight attendants is $32,512 per year. Professionals working for charter companies or as private jet employees often earn higher salaries than commercial airline flight attendants. Private flight attendants working flights that require overnight stays may also benefit from a daily stipend to cover living expenses while traveling for work. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) projects the job outlook for flight attendants to increase by 30% from 2020 to 2030, a pattern higher than most jobs because of a return to regular flight patterns.
FAQ: How Many Hours Does a Flight Attendant Work?
A flight attendant can work various hours that require flexibility because they often change from month to month. Flight attendants may work nights, weekends and holidays while they travel the country or the world. Airlines and federal guidelines dictate attendants’ flying hours, although individual flexibility can change the more seniority a flight attendant gains. In this article, we answer questions about the number of flight and ground time hours flight attendants can expect to work and the regulations and circumstances that dictate flight attendant schedules.
What are a flight attendant’s hours?
Flight attendant hours are an accumulation of time an attendant spends onboard the airplane performing their specified duties. They can expect to spend 65-90 hours in the air, and an additional 50 hours preparing the airplane, processing passengers during boarding and performing post-flight procedures. Typically, flight attendants work 12-14 days and log 65-85 flight hours each month, not including overtime.
Flight attendant schedules can change month-to-month and some attendants may work more weeks than others. New flight attendants typically work a reserve schedule, also known as on-call or standby, as needed, with little choice in where they will travel or how long the shift lasts. Flight length, destination and layover determine flight attendant schedules. For example:
Turns: Turns are the shortest routes, with attendants flying to a single destination with no layover, and immediately returning to their home-based airport.
Two-day trip: For these flights, attendants complete one leg, or flight, in one day, have a layover, then return the following day. Most airlines complete three flights per day with layovers anywhere from 10 to 24 hours long, though longer layovers may extend into a three-day stay.
Three-day trip: Three-day trips require flight attendants to complete more than one leg per day. They may experience multiple layovers, or a very lengthy one.
Four-day trip: Flight attendants can fly for seven consecutive days before taking a day off, allowing time for longer trips. Trips that last over three days may involve multiple flights, cities and layovers.
Long-haul trips: Long-haul flights are over seven hours long, are usually international trips and flight attendants can choose where they fly. Assignments for these long-haul flights often go to senior attendants who fly the same trip repeatedly or trained on specific aircraft.
Are there restrictions on flight attendants’ work schedules?
The Federal Aviation Administration sets guidelines for flight attendants’ working schedules to ensure ample rest periods. The FAA limits attendant duty hours and regulates the number of staff per flight.
Duty hours are the time attendants work immediately before the aircraft embarks from the origin gate to the time it arrives at the destination gate and does not include layover or commuting time. Rest times are the time between completion of one duty period to the beginning of another and are separate from commutes or layovers.
FAA requirements for flight attendant rest periods are:
For a duty period of over 14 hours, a rest period of nine consecutive hours must take place.
Eight-hour rest periods are acceptable as long as a scheduled 10-hour rest takes place within 24 hours of a reduced rest period.
Duty periods of over 18 hours require a 12-hour rest period.
Dependent on the number of passengers, the FAA requires a certain number of attendants during flights to ensure rest periods throughout the flight.
How often do flight attendants work?
A flight attendant’s schedule may depend on the preference of the attendant, their seniority and location. Some flight attendants may prefer to log lots of flight hours, while others prefer shorter trips with more days off. Some attendants may travel to their home-base airport and commuting is a consideration when choosing trips. Attendants who live close to their home-base airport may work more flights than those who must drive or fly to their home airport.
New flight attendants typically work a reserve schedule and must be close to the airport, or sometimes wait at the airport for a call to duty. Senior flight attendants enjoy more flexibility in their schedule and choice of destinations. Both roles enjoy the same travel benefits with about 12 days off per month.
The two general schedules are:
Flight attendants on reserve schedule remain available 24 hours a day and typically work flights rejected by senior staff, which can cause long legs or layovers. Depending on the airline, new attendants can expect to work at least 18 reserve days and remain on a standby schedule for a few months or years, depending on the airline or home city.
Line holder schedule
Line holders bid for desired routes or workdays and can swap or drop trips. Bidding for trips begins at the same time each month, and flight attendants can choose their schedule according to their preferences. Line holders can work up to 25 days a month, although individual airlines may cap the number of hours attendants can work.
When do flight attendants get their hours?
Flight attendants may receive their schedules at the beginning or end of the month, and at least two weeks before their first assignment. The schedule, or roster, contains all the information the flight attendant needs to know about each leg. Their schedule also lists additional information such as the attendant’s accommodation information and transportation details to and from the airport. Schedules also provide coded information for:
Airport codes for each destination city
Equipment and aircraft type
How long the attendant is in a location before flying again
An attendant’s assigned position during takeoff and landing
The day the attendant reports for duty
Estimated length of flight time
Expected layover time
Can flight attendants change their hours?
When flight attendants are new, they may first work on a reserve or standby schedule. As flight attendants gain time and experience, they become senior flight attendants who have access to more desirable schedules or routes. Senior flight attendants can request schedules according to their desired destinations, days off or layover times. Some airlines may provide systems so they can swap flights with another attendant or find coverage for a trip.
Do flight attendants pay for their own accommodations?
Airlines cover the cost of meals and accommodations for flight attendants who travel overnight or longer. Once flight attendants receive their schedules, they know how long their layover is and where they are staying. A flight attendant’s regular paycheck also may include food allowances.
Are flight attendants paid during layovers?
Technically, flight attendants are no longer on the clock once the plane reaches its destination. A flight attendant’s official duty time begins when the plane pushes from the gate until it arrives at its destination. Preflight, boarding, post-flight, delays and layovers are not official duty time so attendants can use layover time as they wish.
What are the benefits of flight attendant seniority?
As people progress from junior to senior flight attendant, working for the same airline over time may come with benefits. Here are four benefits of earning flight attendant seniority:
They can design their schedule: Senior flight attendants often can choose or create their schedules. Though they may not get every request, senior flight attendants have scheduling priority and flexibility, and some may choose to work the same line to maintain a routine.
They can choose their flights: Senior flight attendants may prefer to work close to home or travel extensively. They earn the flexibility to alternate between routes, layover lengths or destinations.
They can choose a home base airport: Some senior attendants may prefer particular routes and choose to commute by flying to their home base airport, though others may choose an airport close to home to reduce commuting time.
They qualify for better pay: Senior flight attendants earn higher pay on longer flights and can choose to fly more often to earn more. Schedule flexibility also lets senior flight attendants earn according to their preferences so they can work as much, or as little, as they want.