Can a Felon Become a Flight Attendant? -
Finding Employment

Can a Felon Become a Flight Attendant?

Can a Felon Become a Flight Attendant

Felons often believe no one will hire them after their release from prison, but there are resources available as many employers have found that felons make good employees. However, they may have to learn new skills or start a different career. This blog post will address the issue of whether or not a felon can become a flight attendant.

  • What is a Flight Attendant?
  • What Education/Training Does a Flight Attendant Need?
  • How Much Does a Flight Attendant Earn?
  • An Opportunity for Felons?
  • Recommended Action

What is a Flight Attendant?

A flight attendant provides routine services and responds to emergencies to ensure the safety, security, and comfort of airline passengers. The main responsibility of a flight attendant is to keep passengers safe by ensuring that everyone follows security regulations. A flight attendant also tries to make flights more enjoyable for passengers.

A flight attendant typically does the following:

  • Inspects emergency equipment prior to flights
  • Demonstrates the use of safety and emergency equipment
  • Ensures that passengers have their seatbelts fastened when required and that all other safety requirements are observed
  • Serves beverages, meals, and/or snacks
  • Takes care of passengers’ needs
  • Communicates with passengers during the flight
  • Administers emergency medical care
  • Instructs passengers as to how to evacuate the aircraft in an emergency

Someone wanting to become a flight attendant must possess many important skills, including:

  • Service orientation to be attentive to passengers’ needs
  • Interpersonal skills to interact with passengers and other flight staff
  • Listening skills to understand and respond to passengers
  • Verbal communication to clearly convey instructions to passengers
  • Critical thinking to solve problems and make decisions
  • Attentiveness to be aware of any security or safety risks during the flight
  • Decision-making skills to act decisively in emergencies
  • Physical stamina to move service items, open and close overhead bins, and stand for long periods of time

What Education/Training Does a Flight Attendant Need?

A high school diploma or GED is the minimum requirement for anyone who wants to become a flight attendant, although many employers prefer to hire candidates with a college degree. All flight attendants receive three to six weeks of formal on-the-job training from their employers.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) states that a flight attendant must be at least 18 years old, although some employers have higher minimum age requirements. Most airlines prefer to hire job candidates who have experience working with the public.

All candidates must be between 5’0” and 5’11” in order to reach overhead bins. Vision must be correctable to at least 20/40. An applicant typically needs one or two years of work experience in a service occupation.

After someone is hired, an airline provides initial training, ranging from three to six weeks at the airline’s flight training center.

Trainees learn emergency procedures such as:

  • Evacuating aircraft
  • Operating emergency equipment
  • Administering first aid

They also receive instruction on:

  • Flight regulations
  • Company operations
  • Job duties

A candidate will have to pass a proficiency test after completing an employer’s initial training program. He or she will receive the FAA Certificate of Demonstrated Proficiency. Flight attendants are certified for specific types of aircraft and must take training for the type of aircraft on which they are to work.

A flight attendant will continue to receive additional on-the-job training as required by his or her employer to maintain certification.

How Much Does a Flight Attendant Earn?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that there are approximately 116,600 flight attendants in the United States. The median annual wage for flight attendants was $48,500 in 2016.

The median salary is the salary at which half of the flight attendants earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $26,570, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $78,650.

Their earnings depend on factors such as amount of experience and region of the country. A flight attendant working on the East or West coast tends to have a higher income than those in other regions of the country.

This occupation is expected to show a 10% growth by 2026.

An Opportunity for Felons?

According to the FAA, a flight attendant applicant must successfully complete:

  • A 10-year background and credit check
  • An FBI fingerprint check
  • Pre-employment and random drug and alcohol testing

If there was a felony conviction within the past five years or if there was more than one felony, someone will not be eligible to become a flight attendant. The reason for this is that most airlines require all flight attendants be able to enter and leave Canada legally.

According to Canadian law, any U.S. citizen convicted of a felony cannot enter Canada unless he or she completes the Canadian Criminal Rehabilitation procedure to ensure legal entry into Canada. A felon may also be able to obtain a waiver from Canadian Immigration to be eligible to become a flight attendant.

It is important to be honest when applying for a job as a flight attendant. If a felony isn’t disclosed but is found on a background check, this constitutes fraud and is punishable. It is a crime to falsify an application which could result in being sent back to prison.

In order to be successful as a flight attendant it is essential for felons to be honest about their background. They are already viewed with negative perceptions of being dishonest, untrustworthy, and unwilling or unable to follow directions from authority figures.

Having their record expunged can give them the chance needed to begin with a clean record and succeed in becoming a flight attendant. Expunging a criminal record allows anyone to honestly state on an application that he or she has not been convicted of a crime.

Recommended Action

It is a significant challenge, but it might be worth it for a felon that wants to become a flight attendant. Having his or her record expunged and also documenting any training programs or additional education could make the essential difference in a felon succeeding.

Having support from family, friends, or previous employers can make a huge difference. A felon doesn’t have to be defined by his or her crime. We are not defined by our mistakes but by how we recover from them. He or she can begin again and live an honest life no matter how difficult it might seem.

What do you think about this blog post? Have you or someone you know been in the situation of trying to become a flight attendant with a felony? What was that like for him or her, and how did he or she achieve success? Please tell us in the comments below.

One response to “Can a Felon Become a Flight Attendant?”

  1. Deb says:

    Having had 20+years of hospital administration experience, along with 5 years as a flight attendant, a mom of 4 and grandmother of 2…i am having such a hard time getting the confident me back. My mistake plagues me with the fear of how I will be perceived, rejection and essentially trying to be find my way again. Your resources are so appreciated!!! Thank you

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