Beware Of Flight Attendant Training Schools That Are Overpriced and Undervalued

Most flight attendant training schools brochures are slick in presentation because they have to be. How else are you going to sell what I think is overpriced and undervalued? 

However, I have to voice a disclaimer because for me, this really is a contentious issue and I have to take two views.

Why? Let me explain...

First point, I can’t say do not waste your money by attending a flight attendant training school because on the odd occasion I have heard of airlines recruiting candidates that have attended such a school. I might add here however that they also recruit many flight attendants that have never attended such a school.

Now if you observe a brochure from any such school, it will likely be very glossy, portray to be very real with candidates dressed in uniforms in what appears to be very realistic mock-up’s of aircraft and the photography will be very professional.

The school will spout a certificate of some sort at the completion of the course, probably in a Certificate in Aviation or a Certificate in Flight Operations or a Certificate of Operational Cabin Crew or whatever they decide to called it.

I have even seen a Certificate of Completion! I’m suggesting here that if I were to spend $5000 or $6000 on any course I would want more than a pretty piece of A4 paper stating ‘Certificate of Completion’ for my money.

Flight Attendant Training Schools should at least give you some recognised bonifide certificates such as

  • Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA)
  • Senior First Aid (SFA)
  • And possibly a course certificate in security of some sort although this may be a bit of an ask from some training providers and not necessary unless you would like to learn a bit of self defence and ‘some alternative moves’ from a personal perspective

Now when you see the price of attending one of these courses at flight attendant training schools(be it $2000, $5000 or $6000 or more) you would also expect the inclusion of material to actually complete the course.

One such course states as benefits what I believe should be a list of ‘standard inclusions’ but they have to try and build the value or at least try to justify the price for what they have on offer.

(NOTE: Sorry to appear cynical here and apologies to anyone that has gone on to get a flight attendant job having been through one of these flight attendant training schools but I am trying see through the salesmanship of this for you and look at the content totally objectively for you).

So here is what they so generously include... 

  • Theoretical training (Really... how else would you conduct the course?)
  • Practical training (See above)
  • All text books and work books (In light of them providing the course you would hope that they actually supply these also)
  • All personal protective equipment (Well maybe they do comply with all OH&S requirements but this is a requirement of any training organisation as stated by law not an added extra!)
  • All training consumables (I guessing here but do they really expect you to supply them... whatever they define as ‘training consumables?)

Incidentally, I was at one of those training schools recently and they couldn’t even supply tea and coffee! How’s that, you pay $5000 to $6000 for a training course that lasts some 10 or 12 weeks and they can even supply a ‘training consumable’ such as a cup of tea or coffee let alone a biscuit for morning teas!

(In fact they had a tea and coffee machine dishing out coffee you would even put in your petrol tank and charged you $2 for the privilege.)

Let me get back on track with the flight attendant training schools

Most airlines will require that you have both RSA and SFA on application. As far as security training goes, while it may be useful for you to know this as a civilian, this will be conducted during your training school free of charge.

It should be remembered that Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) can be done online for about $75 to $100 through any qualified registered training organisation (RTO) that offer this course. Two that come to mind in the USA are (TBA-Link)

If you’re in Australia you can do this course online here

Senior First Aid (SFA) is run by many RTO’s of which St John and Red Cross are constant suppliers of such courses for approximately $160 to $180 and will take you two days to do.

Looking at the rest of one of these Flight Attendant Training Schools courses reveals the following topics covered in individual modules:

Initially you’ll receive an introduction to the Aviation Industry

(This is covered quite extensively in the AIRLINES Be a Flight Attendant today program and in the bonus flipbooks of Aviation 101 and 102.

Next is a module on Human factors.

(Again, you’ll find some of this included in Aviation First Aid flipbook bonus and Video Manual 1 of the AIRLINES Be a Flight Attendant today program Additionally you’ll discover more in aviation medicine which you’ll do in airline flight attendant training school.

It should be remembered also that this is not so much a pre-requisite or an essential to getting a flight attendant job.


Customer Service

THIS is a module that is often included and while it is always very good to learn more about being a customer service professional, it’s practice and experience that really count. My suggestion from the possibility of employment point of view is to go and get customer service experience firsthand.

Roles and Responsibilities of a Flight Attendant 

Obviously you will have a module on this but again this will be covered in any airline ground school that you join. (All you’ll need to know is also covered in the AIRLINES Be a Flight Attendant today program.

Next in flight attendant training schools course is aircraft systems and components

Again you’ll learn this in ground school and yes you’ll find detail on this in the AIRLINES program. However in short, whatever aircraft that you trained on or more properly need to be endorsed on you will need to know its systems and components that affect your job role backwards.

You’ll need to know the fire detection system for toilet fires for example. You’ll need to know what lights illuminate and what colour, whether they flash or are a steady light, where they will be seen in the cabin, what sounds or alarms you hear and if, how and where you can cancel them. (Has anyone guessed that I might be describing an airbus toilet fire detection system here? - Boeing have a different system.)

The oxygen system is something that you will also need to know all about. How many masks in each passenger service unit (PSU) inboard and outboard, including Flight Attendant and toilet units.

You have to know how to get them working, what to do if they don’t drop, how long they last and what to do when a safe altitude has been reached etc.

Flight Attendant Training Schools and Safety procedures

Again, this is not a pre-requisite to getting a Flight attendant job because you’ll learn this in ground school. Plus, while there are many similar procedures, each and every airline will adopt their own procedures.

For example, one such procedure is the Cabin Evacuation procedure ‘check list’ that you must know word-for-word verbatim.

In all the airlines that I have flown for, the check list has some 9 to 11 points. Every time that I have joined a new airline I have had to forget the old procedure and learn or at least adapt the new procedure. This might be seemingly insignificant wording such as the wording used be it a seat-belt or harness. Two words that essentially mean the same thing but remember this is word perfect material with each airline so it needs to be 100% correct.

Here’s the point. Why learn a procedure that you have to forget? It is good enough at the early application/interview stage that you are aware of this only. I would also go so far as to suggest you won’t even be asked a question about any of this and in effect will have no bearing on your being employed.

Some things are ‘need to know’ and others are just ‘good to know’ and I guess so much of what flight attendant training schools are all about is just ‘good to know’ and if I save you money by you reading this page I’m happy. 

Flight Attendant Training Schools - Cabin and Galley services

Some, not all airlines will offer this in ground school. Low cost airlines generally, believe that you will pick it up online under the guidance of the other crew. Mostly because there is very little service that you will have to do. Some do a bar/snack cart service which is not very involved as far as service goes. Full service airlines however do ‘service train’ you because it can be very involved. While preferably you should already have service skills experience, the training will be in the conduct, order, how to and flow of service. Not in service skills per say.

However again, why learn a service when each and every airline will have their way of doing it.

Dangerous goods

No airline I know of will recruit you just because you have done a dangerous good course. Leave this to flight attendant training schools.

Dangerous goods courses also have an expiry date and need to be repeated every 24 Months. Plus you’ll do this course for free courtesy of the airline you join and for many you will do it online in less than a day.


Emergency equipment

Most airlines operate with pretty much the same sort of emergency equipment. This you will learn in Flight attendant training schools obviously but here is the emergency equipment that you will learn about. This is included in more detail in The Secrets of Flight Attendant Interviews 

You will learn all about the:

  • Crash Axe
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Life jacket
  • Megaphone
  • ELT transmitter
  • Torch
  • Life raft
  • MRT (Manual release tool)
  • Fire gloves
  • Restraint equipment
  • Oxygen bottles and drop down oxygen
  • Smoke hood

You will need to know how many pieces of individual equipment are on board an aircraft type, their stowage position, their pre-flight serviceability checks and their operation. Again don’t worry about this as you will learn it all in ground school if you are successful in your application and obviously your interview. Application and interview skills are also covered extensively in Secrets.

Flight Attendant Training Schools - Evacuation procedures

Again this will be similar to all airlines because the law (Regulatory body such as CASA) dictates that any aircraft full of passengers (off the street, ie not trained evacuees) must be able to be evacuated within 90 seconds with only half exits available.

Again I state, ‘Why learn something that you will have to relearn in ground school.’

However for your interest, this is just one of the check lists (without identification) that I have learned over the years for evacuation...

  • Maintain brace position
  • Commence evacuation on command or initiate in a ditching
  • Unfasten your harness
  • Initial commands
  • Check external conditions
  • Open usable exits/guard exits not to be used
  • Evacuate passengers
  • Check assigned area
  • Collect equipment
  • Evacuate

Now each point has a particular duty, command or action attached to it. Initial commands for a land evacuation for example might be...

Unfasten seat belts, leave everything behind, get out! (This is a command that I learnt from nearly 20 years ago and I still remember it!) I’ve had a few in-between with different airlines but here’s my point, in times of stress such as an emergency it has been proven that time and again we revert to our initial training. So why put a command in there (your brain) from a flight attendant training school that may or may not be from the airline that you want to join only to find you have to try to forget it and relearn another for your new airline. Certainly it’s great that you know about this ‘stuff’ but again it is not necessary to get you the job in the first place.

Now it’s obviously your choice if you want to do a course at one of the flight attendant training schools or not because there are some positives to it in that it may be a confidence builder for some and it may also offer a greater understanding of the airline industry.

Remember some of these courses cost upwards of 4, 5 and even 6000 thousand dollars! Plus you’ve got to find 10,11, 12 or more weeks in which to do the course full time. (It’s slightly ironic that most flight attendant training schools are between 4 and 6 weeks!)

I can tell you right now that 6000 thousand dollars is a lot of money and the chicken feed price that you would pay for the AIRLINES Be a Flight Attendant program for flight attendant applicants is (yes chicken feed) in comparison. Not only will it tell you what I have learned in almost 20 years of flying and some just for good measure... sort of an introduction to aviation if you like that I think is relevant, interesting and from time to time very useful.

Plus you get to read and learn at your own pace and in your own time and for most it is giving you what you need to know to get the job not what you need to pass training school.

Certainly I give you some ‘good to know’ information but that’s on top of what you ‘need to know’ and all included in the cost of the AIRLINES program.

It will give you a great head start to your intended future, it has worked for many others and can work for you too.

The core thing that you have to remember about flight attendant training schools is that none that I know of are in anyway affiliated with an airline. Yes every airline conducts their own training with the candidates that they select on merit. From my perspective it is about your interview and all that goes with that.

If you need ‘customer service skills’ get a job in a customer service roll! It will teach you far more than any flight attendant training school ever will and pay you considerable more. If you need confidence with people find a job that gives you that. Maybe a tour guide or perhaps volunteer in a nursing home, anything that you can feel comfortable in to get that experience.

I should add again...

that some flight attendant training schools teach you skills that you never use as a flight attendant simply to ‘pad’ the course.

I’ve heard of some flight attendant training schools teaching ‘check in’ computer skills and for the life of me I don’t know why for any other reason than they had to make their asking price for the schools program seem justified. Let me advise you that 99.9% of airlines bigger than a single person operation will not require you to use the check-in computer and then board the aircraft and carry on your duties as a flight attendant.

And don’t fall for the ‘Guaranteed placement’ statement either. Even tho’ they will say that X number of trainees have gained positions with airlines. So what really! So too have an X number of people who have never been to flight attendant training schools and they still have the 4,5 or 6000 dollars in their pocket and got all their training for free from the airline that they joined.

It’s all in how you read the information that they provide you because some of the brochures I have seen really do appeal to the aspiring flight attendant.

So, unless you have money to burn to be sold a 10, 11 or 12 week course that gives you a Certificate in Aviation or Flight Operations or Operational Cabin Crew or whatever they have called it, I seriously discourage you from enrolling into any of those ‘aviation’ or ‘travel college’ courses at these flight attendant training schools.

I hope I have given you enough reason as to why this is so above. And remember, these flight attendant training schools courses will not give you any ‘real’ edge over the average person from the street who has read and followed the Secrets ebook.

And just to finish off...

How do I know? Because I have sat opposite flight attendant applicants doing the interviewing and I have been to enough interviews (5 of them successfully where I was the applicant) with other airlines spanning a period of over 20 years.

More information on 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 

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