A question about becoming a flight attendant and job security

Hello Heather,

I love your site! I actually got signed on with an airline and waiting for my training date. My first concern is the job security and wondered what you think about the future in the airline industry as a flight attendant. I have waited for my son to grow up and now he has, my husband was laid off last year and still hasn’t found work.

I’m in retail and have a pretty decent job, but I just want to fly. I’m so burned out on retail. I finally have a chance and I wondered also how to handle all of the “unknowns”. Where will I be based and how do I even relocate? Do you stay with other flight attendants and room together? How much $$ can I get by with?

As far as the training, I’m really nervous about what’s involved, like memorizing the airport and city codes. I don’t want to miss this opportunity! I have to pass, because if I don’t, I’ll loose everything, my dream, my home, etc. My training’s supposed to be around the end of April. I had to pass up the training that was offered to me in January. This is my last chance. Any advice would be so much appreciated!



Dear Lorelei,

Whenever anyone shows interest in becoming a flight attendant I always tell them to do it. It’s a great job, especially if you have a tendency to get bored with the 9 to 5 thing, love to be on the move, and enjoy meet interesting people. However, if you’re not flexible, the job is not for you. The airline can reassign you at moments notice, flying you into a day off, and you’ll probably get stuck working holidays for quite a few years. And then of course there’s reserve, which is not easy on anyone, including the families of flight attendants. That said, I’m a firm believer in going for your dreams, experiencing new things, and not being afraid of failure. The fact that you got hired by an airline, especially in this economy, is an amazing feat. Thousands of people apply with the airlines each year and only a select few get chosen. That says a lot about you.

I must admit that when I first read your email I had to sit down and think about what I wanted to write, and I never have to think about what to write! I just write. I almost advised you not to do it, even though you are burned out in your retail job, because a job is a job and you’ve got one that pays the bills. I even called my mother who is also a flight attendant to get her thoughts on your situation. I’m sorry to report that she doesn’t think it’s a great idea, not with what’s happening to airlines and flight attendants these days. Keep in mind my mother is the kind of person who has a tendency to play it safe, the kind of person who almost didn’t go for her dream – to become a flight attendant until later in life. Believe it or not, I’ve got more seniority than her.

No one can tell you what to do, Lorelei. Only you know what’s best for you and your family. What I can tell you is that if it were me, I’d go to flight attendant training, but my husband still has a job and I’m a bit of a gambler. Gambling, as you know, is not always a great idea. Anyone will tell you that. You can’t count on job security at an airline, not when many airlines aren’t doing well and quite a few of them are currently cutting routes and furloughing flight attendants as I type. Yet every time a flight attendant gets furloughed, the majority of them always come back when given the opportunity to return, even though there’s that chance they’ll get furloughed again. There’s just something about flying that gets into the blood.




  1. My advice would be to go for it, if you really want it. While I miss the job security I had in the medical field, I hated going to work on a daily basis. As a flight attendant I enjoy my job a whole lot more, and it did fulfill my dream to travel. I’ve been through one airline shutdown, so I went to work for another airline, and now there is the constant threat of furloughs and layoffs. I still love my job, and would go to work for a third airline in a heartbeat.

  2. First, I have to say that I know nothing about the airline industry in general and the working situation of FA’s other than what I read here and flying few times a year.

    I teach college, and I tell my graduating students that the concept of “job security” that they have in mind, the “job security” that their parents or grandparents had is long gone. They cannot look at a specific company or industry looking for job security. Instead, job security must come from them, from the skills that they can bring to the table, for the skills that make them different from all other others.

    As a FA you will have extensive and rigorous training related to your job. But if you look at the big picture, the skills you are learning go beyond being useful just for FA’s. Instead, between your training in school and your experience, you are learning to quickly react to a situation, you are learning crisis management, you are learning how to solve problems with the resources you have available, you are learning how to observe and predict human behavior, you are learning how to adapt to changing circumstances… All these are skills that will give you this job security, even if your job does not involve flying anymore. You are in control of your own job security, by showing all that you know and all you know how to do.

    This is your real job security: yourself.

  3. Do it, do it! You might not get the opportunity again, especially since airlines are so selective when they do hire.

    I left the social work field to become a flight attendant, and it’s the best thing I’ve ever done for myself.

    At worst, if it’s not for you then give notice. At least give it a shot though.

  4. Do it, do it! You might not get the opportunity again, especially since airlines are so selective when they do hire.

    I left the social work field to become a flight attendant, and it’s the best thing I’ve ever done for myself.

    At worst, if it’s not for you then give notice. At least give it a shot though.

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