Are you strong enough to be Cabin Crew?

The strength that airlines are looking for is both psychological and physical. Cabin crew operational procedures can involve physical effort. Not just gliding a full laden trolley effortlessly down the aisle, but you may need to evacuate an aircraft full of passengers, operate heavy doors and survival equipment, as well assist people with their sometimes awkward hand luggage. So overall fitness will be a real asset when you are a member of the crew. There is also the psychological strength that is needed to be part of a cabin crew team, your mental resilience and strength.

Do you have what it takes?

Many people pursue a career as part of the cabin crew team because they thrive on variety. The role of cabin crew has plenty of variety and this is partly due to the fact you need to be constantly prepared to deal with the unexpected.

We have listed below some of the unexpected and challenging situations that cabin crew have told us about:

  • Dealing with a difficult or angry customer
  • An emergency medical situation at 35,000 feet
  • An emergency landing or take-off
  • Long shifts, working anti-social hours
  • Jet lag and sleep deprivation when you can’t get a decent sleep pattern
  • Working if you are feeling unwell or have worries in your personal life
  • Missing family or social events due to work commitments
  • Not getting on with someone in the crew who you are flying with
  • Last minute changes to your roster which means you have to change plans last minute

With these few examples you can see the relevance of being mentally resilient, having a strong ability to cope and being able to react professionally when the unexpected happens even when you are tired! The good news is, even with the ups and downs (literally!) of the job they all told us they wouldn’t change being a member of the crew.

They all said that the benefits such as; travel, job security, good pay, great team ethos and working for established well respected companies far outweigh any on-board troubles! We all have good and bad days wherever we work, so having some good coping strategies is the advice that many Cabin Crew suggest. The main consistent piece of advice from existing Cabin Crew, on how to succeed in the job is about being, robust, resilient and tough. Toughness is the ability to push through barriers and stay calm and professional, no matter how awkward a passenger is being or how rubbish you might be feeling. This toughness is definitely something recruiters will be looking for when you apply.

So how can you demonstrate that you are resilient?

  • You should always try to find a positive outcome however difficult or challenging the situation may be.
  • Show a positive and helpful attitude, irrespective of what you are feeling inside.
  • Being able to cope under pressure is really essential but not always easy. The good news is that coping is something that will get easier with experience but will be there to some degree because you always need to prepared for the unexpected regardless of how long you have been in the job.
  • Building strong relationships with your team is important- you want to know there are people you can call on for help if you find yourself stuck. But equally, you need to have confidence in your own ability to roll up your sleeves without getting flustered, as you never know when a colleague or passenger is going to need YOU to step up.
Thinking about the above tips and suggestions now consider this question; when was the last time that you were ‘thrown in at the deep end’?

Think about

  • How you coped?
  • What you did?
  • Would you do the same again?
  • How could you have reacted differently?

Give yourself time to really think about this, after all you never know what recruiters might be asking YOU!

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Hannah is a Chartered Occupational Psychologist specialising in recruitment, selection and assessment. This means she designs and assesses at selection days just like the ones airlines use.

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