Every time I sit in a plane, I observe and admire the flight attendants whose faces are decorated with a radiant smile all the time. Minutes before the take off – a smile, take-off – a smile, serving refreshments – a smile.
They spend the entire flight on high heels and are available at every passengers’ request.
I could not help it and I asked LOT’s crew members: „How do you do that and smile all the time? Are there any tricks or perhaps any helpers?”
„After so many years working in that business, I smile automatically while appearing on board. Besides, we really like our work” – I heard.
I decided to continue with the conversation related to the profession. And then, especially for you, LOT’s crew decided to tell how to become a flight attendant.
What kind of skills should a person wanting to become a flight attendant have?
Dorota: If I were to list the most important skill, and I must admit that all of the skills are equally important, I would say that it is the ability to keep calm. I am not talking about emergencies, as this is obvious, but about everyday situations, i.e. contact with passengers, with the crew or servicemen. Having no ability to keep calm, it is very easy to have a conflict. This starts an entire chain of events so it is important to avoid that.
Other important features of character are above all openness, easiness in making contact, kindness and optimism.
It is not easy to bring all those features together, but I would call it simply positive energy!
Tom: The flight personnel should always be characterised by good manners, openness and empathy. It has to be remembered that this is hard work actually and it includes providing service to passengers in different conditions and to ensure their security of passengers above all, so one also has to be able to keep calm.
You have to fly at different times of the day, to different countries with different nationalities and their customs. No mistakes are permitted here – when you put in your uniform, you have to leave your personal problems behind even if you have them and for more than a dozen of hours you have to focus only on your work.
The plane’s board is a kind of a stage – we are constantly being observed by passengers, and all our facial expressions are interpreted by them. This is especially important during emergencies – keeping calm and being professional.
Are there any pre-conditions to take part in the exam/course/training?
Dorota: The first step is ours – it is sending one’s CV. The airlines usually announce the recruitment process and provide the address where you should send your application.
Then, you are waiting for a phone call with an invitation to take part in several stages of recruitment process. What awaits us is an individual interview, group work and language test.
After a careful verification, we are waiting for the verdict. Sometimes you have to wait for months and you should not lose your hopes. The company’s demand for workers changes seasonally.
When the results of the recruitment process are positive, we are invited for a training that lasts about a month. We have an exam when we successfully complete the entire course.
What does the exam look like?
Tom: There are many exams – during the one-month-long theoretical course there are several to more than a dozen test, an exam on a flight simulator (mimicking real emergencies that might happen on a plane such as fire, decompression, evacuation), health tests and finally a „graduation test” supervised by an instructor. Only then you can fly on your own at certain positions in a plane.
Who carries out such an exam?
Tom: The exam is carried out by the airline in accordance with the standards determined by flight supervision authority, in our case, by Civil Aviation Authority.
If a flight attendant passes the examination, are there any trainings introducing them to flying?
Dorota: After passing the exam you have to complete two flights – introductory flight and admission flight.
During those flight you also have to answer several questions and we are observed by our instructors who organise the flights for us. After being admitted for service, we can go on board and fly.
Is it the flight attendant who chooses the airline upon passing the examination or is it a worldwide licence and you can change the airline?
Dorota: I would say that it is the airline that chooses the flight attendant.
Upon completing the course and passing the examination we get the CCA (Cabin Crew Attestation) certificate that authorises us to work as flight attendants in Europe on particular types of planes.
In the Middle East and in other parts of the globe the things are different. For example in the United Arab Emirates we get a licence for several years and for a particular type of plane that is valid only in Persian Gulf countries.
Tom: If you do get a licence for a given type of plane, and pass the exam in LOT, you can work in LOT. Having a licence actually facilitates finding a job on planes for which you have such a licence. This, however, is not a deciding factor for getting a particular job.
Thank you for the conversation.
Now, a question for you: What do you think, how many flight attendants are working in PLL LOT? The task is to specify the one, general number.
Four people who provide the answer that is closest to reality will receive a coupon with a 15% discount for PLL LOT tickets to be used until 15 December 2015, and an additional present from LOT. If there are 10 people who will be 100% correct, what will count is the order of sending answers. The deadline for sending answers is 7th October.