Is it too late for me to start a career as Cabin Crew?

Although age is just a number, it’s all too easy to sometimes worry that you’ve ‘missed the boat’ when it comes to a change of career later in life.

From the moment you realise that your dream job is to be cabin crew it makes sense to start making the dream a reality, however many steps it takes. But for some people, concerns about their age does stand in their way, and ultimately, stops them from even trying.

When time slips by…

Whether you have done the same job for years, have dedicated yourself to bringing up children, or simply never quite got round to it, your age alone is not a strong enough reason to give up on your dream. We’ll probably all be employed until we are older than we expected when we first started work. So it makes sense to make sure we spend most of that time in a job that gives us the lifestyle and perks we really want.

Could you apply?

To be considered for a cabin crew job you need to be over 18 for many airlines, although it is over 21 for some (e.g. Middle Eastern airlines like Emirates)

A cabin crew career appeals to people at all stages of their life, and most of the UK airlines do not have an upper age limit. This isn’t just because it’s not ethical/legal to discriminate against age any more than it is other individual factors, but also because the wealth of work and life experience can make more mature applicants a very credible option.

Common concerns

There are common fears which may put people off applying to the airlines.

Will I manage the training?

As long as you are fit and healthy, with no limiting health issues, you should be fine. (Health concerns aren’t unique to older people of course!) You may be a bit ‘rusty’ when it comes to learning new things, but this isn’t down to age, its about practice and familiarity with the learning process and with dedication you’ll soon get back in the flow of it.

Will I fit in on the training course?

Everyone in your training group will be in the same situation and you’ll all work together, building bonds and helping each other, pulling through the tough times and celebrating the successes. You might find you are a good source of support to younger members of the group. With your life experience you may be more confident, more able to adapt to unfamiliar challenges. Younger people might find it more disconcerting, both being away from home and in a completely new work environment. Your age and wisdom may make you a popular support to turn to!

How will I cope with the hours?

The hours associated with a flying career can be a bit of a shock to the system, and perhaps if you haven’t done shift work for a long time, or ever, it might take longer to adapt. If you are older you simply have had longer of doing it a different way! You’ll find a way of coping, and if you’ve made a conscious choice which you knew would disrupt your daily routines it should feel much easier. For many parents, sleep deprivation is probably something you’ve mastered more than younger crew! If you are worried about unsocial hours and being away from home at strange times you could apply to a different role first (hospitality or caring professions) to see how you manage. And do keep in mind that with a flying career, comes a wonderfully flexible and varied schedule with plenty of days off and who could possibly fail to enjoy each and every working day being totally different.

Do I have the right qualifications?

It’s much more about your experience than your qualifications when it comes to a cabin crew position. If you have mostly worked in the home and are worried about how to convert this to ‘work’ experience, you don’t have to worry; there are always ways to present your experience of caring/ trouble-shooting/ organising and risk managing as highly relevant to the role of cabin crew! If you have plenty of work experience you will also probably have a good set of skills to offer. Again, you just need to present it in the right way, to show what a fabulous asset you would be to any airline. (If you’re not sure you know how to do this get in touch, we can help!)

Closing thoughts

Many organisations including airlines actively look to recruit ‘mature’ men and women as they recognise the unique skills and values they can bring to the workplace, such as a strong work ethic and communication and people skills evolved through years of life experience. So if being cabin crew is something you have always wanted to do or something that has only just caught your interest, go for it, you are NEVER too old for new adventures.

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Michele is current serving long haul cabin crew & also an associate travel & tourism lecturer at Exeter College. Having worked within the aviation industry for over 30 years, both in the UK and the Middle East, she has a wealth of industry knowledge and experience to share with us here at Cabin Crew Wings.

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  1. I started at 49 and here I am, still living the dream at 63. I find the job keeps me young, working with such a variety of age groups. Yes, the hours can be very hard on an older body, but the buzz of flying keeps you going. I can’t imagine doing anything else now or going back to 9 to 5.

    1. Wow, Good to know… and even i wanted to become a cabin crew but unfortunately i have some sort of weight issues and even eye sight issue..
      If u can advise me something then that will be very very helpful.

  2. Great article. I’m a 56 year old male and attending the BA assessment day soon. I’m going to give it my best shot. Thanks for the encouragement.

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