Flight Attendant Career Advancement - where to from here?

Flight attendant career advancement options within an airline are many however not all of them are about working in the air. I guess the possibilities depend not only on what you do, learn and get good at whilst you are employed within ‘your airline’ work place and job role as flight attendant, but also what you bring to the table so to speak, from previous jobs, your qualifications and skill set.

Previous leadership or management experience and certificates or diplomas in Work Place training and Assessment or Occupational Health and Safety (OH & S) and even Event Catering and Hospitality to name just a few, will open up lots of opportunities for flight attendant career advancement within the airline you join.

The critical thing for applicants and job holders as far as airline governing bodies go CASA (etc) is that people have the certificated qualifications that go with their positions. It is not just a function of filling a job role. Just because you have been a teacher for example doesn’t mean you can teach first aid without at least a Cert 4 in training and assessment and a qualification in first aid.

The advancement in career possibilities available to a flight attendant who wants to remain in the same on board ‘cabin service’ field would see progression from flight attendant to several options namely and in no particular order are: Line trainer, Cabin Service Standards, Service and Safety, Flight Attendant Uniforms, and Cabin Manager.

Other options or flight attendant career advancement opportunities open to candidates would for the most part, see you fly a lot less or see you what we would term, ‘fly a desk’ a lot more.

Flight Attendant Career Advancement

One could say the sky is the limit here, however many of the common areas that flight attendants progress to due many reasons such as looking for more responsibility, wanting more regular hours or family time, wanting a new challenge or more pay etc are generally more diverse to the flight attendant job role. This can range from being in the thick of it as a trainer of new flight attendants or perhaps recurrent aviation first aid or even dedicated emergency procedures training through to Document Controller for pilots or Tech Crewing.

Flight attendant manager, team leader or even Base Flight Attendant Manager are also flight attendant career advancement roles that are regularly filled by flight attendants who have gained the required experience.

Time Frame for Advancement

The time frame that any type of career advancement that can happen within an airline is entirely dependent on the airline that you fly with. Some new start airlines will provide significant opportunity far more quickly than an airline that is already a fixture of the landscape, particularly so with legacy airlines. 

In my experience for example, I have seen flight attendants with legacy airlines having to wait at anywhere between 7 to 15 years (and more with some) before they get the opportunity to become a Cabin Manager. Alternatively, I have seen flight attendants become direct entry Cabin Managers with ‘New Start’ airlines. 

“There really is no hard and fast rule but the more that you can bring to the table on application and extracurricular study that you do whilst at work, the better the chances for your flight attendant career advancement opportunities.

I might add that I have seen flight attendants get the flying bug so bad they actually left their much loved Cabin Crew positions, went out and got their pilots licence and some years later returned to the company as a pilot.

Personally I went down this path and got about half way. That is, I got my commercial pilots licence, did a few charter flights and decided due the circumstances at the time that I would continue as a Chief ‘Hostie’ and become a property investor because I loved the position of Cabin Manager that I held at the time.

I also believe that financially... “It is not what you earn but rather what you do with what you earn that matters most when it comes to financial freedom”. That however, is a whole new story, suffice to say that some others who started out as Cabin Crew now sit up the ‘pointy end’ as pilots.

If your flight attendant career advancement goal is to become a pilot then getting your foot in the door as a flight attendant is a great way to start. Becoming a pilot however is a huge step in dedication, application and what is required to get this job. If this interests you, let me briefly just share some of what is required to achieve this.

Money I guess should be first on the list. If you do your pilots licence privately you’ll need in the vicinity of $120,000. If you are lucky enough to go through a cadet program with an airline, this needs to be stretched upwards of $150,000. This increased price through an airline cadet program of course involves aircraft type training and endorsement.

You’ll be looking at anything up to two years study and some 20 plus exams covering initial subjects such as the principles of flight, engines and instruments, meteorology, flight planning, navigation, radio telephony, jet engines, instrument rating and so on.

Typical flight attendant career advancement within the cabin services role however is the most common for most flight attendants and while it will involve some study, it’s nothing like that required to become a pilot and will cost you nothing with most airlines of course.

Personally I love the flight attendant lifestyle because it gives me constructive time to do what I want to do. For instance, while most people are at home sleeping in the early mornings or watching TV after work and in the evening, I’m very probably at work. It means I get to have time off during business hours and when the TV programs are less than exciting.

That means that I tend not to waste time and get to be constructive with things I want to do with the time that I do have off.

One of the ‘things I want to do’ and have been doing for example is this flight attendant website

More information on airlines and Flight Attendant jobs and career availability with every other airline on this web site (plus others) can be viewed via our facebook page from post to post as news becomes available.

You're also invited to view The Secrets of Flight Attendant Interviews for more information.

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