What Is an Air Hostess? (Duties, Skills and Career Advice)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 14 October 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Air hostesses of commercial and chartered aeroplanes assist passengers and ensure their safety and comfort during a flight. The role requires excellent people skills and involves a lot of travel to different locations. By understanding the duties and responsibilities of an air hostess, you can make an informed decision about pursuing this career. In this article, we answer, "What is an air hostess?", outline their job duties and skills and explore the steps for how to become one.

What is an air hostess?

An air hostess is a member of a commercial aeroplane's cabin crew who undertakes several pre-flight, in-flight and post-flight duties to ensure passengers are safe and cared for during a flight. Air hostesses can work for national and international flights and often need to undergo training that prepares them for their job. They typically work for a single airline.

What does an air hostess do?

During commercial and chartered flights, an air hostess performs a diverse range of responsibilities, including:

Communicating safety procedures

An air hostess briefs passengers about safety procedures and flight regulations before the aeroplane takes off on its route. The information, which covers emergency gear, aircraft features and weather conditions, is essential for ensuring the safety of the passengers and the cabin crew during the flight. Following safety procedures and regulations helps them and passengers reach their destinations safely. Air hostesses also check to make sure that all the cabin equipment and tools, such as life vests and fire extinguishers, are in proper working condition.

Managing emergencies

If an in-flight medical emergency arises, air hostesses provide medical aid and report the incident after the aeroplane lands. In case of an emergency, air hostesses, along with other cabin crew members, take charge and manage the situation. They remain calm and instruct passengers about how to use emergency equipment. They are also responsible for completing the evacuation procedures, if necessary.

Ensuring passenger comfort

Air hostesses may brighten the cabin lights during meal times and dim them when passengers are resting. They may provide passengers with eye masks, blankets and pillows and offer various items for sale. They may conduct periodic checks to ensure everything is in order in the cabin.

Assisting passengers

Air hostesses welcome passengers, check their tickets, direct them to their seats and help them put their hand luggage in the overhead storage compartment. They make sure passengers are seated, have stowed their tray tables and fastened their seatbelts before take-off. They may make announcements before, during and after the flight, and respond when a passenger presses a button to summon them for assistance. They answer any questions or concerns that passengers may have while onboard.

After the aeroplane lands at its destination, they wish the passengers goodbye at the exit as they disembark. They may assist elderly, sick or disabled passengers into wheelchairs and escort them from the aeroplane.

Related: What Is Customer Service? Definition and Career Advice

Serving food and beverages

On long-duration flights, air hostesses serve passengers prepackaged snacks, meals and beverages on service trolleys. The timing of serving the meals may differ according to the departure and arrival times of the flight. On early morning flights that take longer than 10 hours, air hostesses may serve breakfast, lunch, tea-time snacks and dinner. On late-night flights, they may provide dinner after take-off and breakfast before landing. They also serve snacks when passengers order them from the onboard menu.

Maintaining cleanliness

Before, during and after the flight, air hostesses check to ensure the aeroplane is clean and tidy. They have to clear up after every meal and take away the trays, cutlery and crockery. They also dispose of wrappings, tissues and any other garbage. Additionally, they may replenish paper products and empty dispensers in bathrooms and may spray air fresheners.

Keeping track of inventory and purchases

Air hostesses are responsible for maintaining an inventory list of all items they have on board for sale. They also process transactions for passengers. Before take-off, they check to make sure they have enough meals on board.

Important skills for an air hostess

Here are some important skills that air hostesses can use to do the job well:

Communication skills

Since air hostesses communicate with people from diverse backgrounds, the ability to speak clearly is essential for them. It is also important for them to develop good public speaking skills so that they can speak confidently before large groups of people. Knowing English is essential, and it can be helpful if they are also fluent in two or more languages.

Related: How To Improve Communication Skills

Interpersonal skills

Air hostesses use their interpersonal skills for in-flight interactions. They come across as friendly and helpful and can get along well with everyone. They remain calm under pressure and know how to defuse difficult situations politely and amicably.

Related: Interpersonal Skills: Definitions and Examples

Ability to follow a flexible schedule

They may be assigned to different flight schedules and need to serve on early morning, mid-morning, afternoon, late afternoon, evening, night or late night flights. Their shifts may require the air hostesses to be away from home at different times and change their sleep patterns. Air hostesses must be willing to accept these schedule changes and perform their job responsibilities well.

What is the eligibility criteria for an air hostess?

These are some typical criteria to fulfil if you want to apply for an air hostess position:

  • Age: between 17 to 26 years

  • Height: at least 5.16 feet or 157.5 centimetres in height

  • Weight: proportionate to height

  • Appearance: pleasant, well-groomed appearance, with a clear, fair complexion

  • Health: good health and physically fit

  • Eyesight: 20/20 vision

  • Language: local language and English

  • Education: at least 10+2 and computer skills

How to become an air hostess

If you meet the basic eligibility criteria, you can become an air hostess by following these steps:

1. Clear 10+2

You can pursue your higher secondary education in any stream from a recognised board. Most employers look for at least 50% marks in 10+2. It can improve your career prospects if you have studied English or other foreign languages and are fluent in them.

2. Get a certification

After 10+2, you can join a certification programme to become an air hostess. The admission process may include an interview and a test to assess your communication skills and aptitude for the career. The course duration is of eight months, and the syllabus covers topics like airport familiarisation, aircraft familiarisation and flight evaluation. You can also study in-flight procedures, emergency situation handling and passenger psychology.

3. Earn a diploma

The air hostess diploma is a one-year course and may also require you to pass an interview and a test to gain admission. The syllabus is similar to the certification course. Alongside the subjects mentioned in the certification course, you can study leadership and inter-departmental coordination and technical training about aircraft functions and safety procedures. You can also take classes in first aid, personal development and grooming and presentation.

4. Obtain a bachelor's degree

While not essential for the job, a bachelor's degree in English, a foreign language, hospitality, tourism, public relations or communication could broaden your outlook and improve your communication skills. With a foreign language degree, you could get job opportunities with international airlines. Additionally, if you decide on a career change later, a degree may help with other career alternatives in the aviation sector or elsewhere.

5. Get work experience

If possible, get work experience in the customer service industry while you are still completing your education. It can provide you with the customer interaction skills that air hostesses need. The airlines' recruiters may shortlist your resume if it lists work experience as a receptionist, waitress or barista.

6. Apply for a position

Research different airlines and find out about the areas they serve and the schedules they offer. That may help you to find an air hostess position that suits your lifestyle and travel preferences. Before sending your application, customise your cover letter and resume to suit the specific job requirements of that airline.

Related: Top 25 Cabin Crew Interview Questions (With Sample Answers)

7. Complete training

Depending on the airlines, basic training for airline hostesses can be for four to six weeks and cover information about the airlines' operations, specific job responsibilities and safety procedures. You may also have to do a five or seven-day training course in security equipment procedures. After completing the training, you can officially start working as an air hostess.

What is the salary of an air hostess?

The national average salary of an air hostess is ₹25,787 per month. Your salary as an air hostess may vary depending on the employer and the types of flights you attend. Also, your salary increases as you can gain more experience and skills.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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