Flight Attendants

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Flight Attendants

Flight Attendants - Working Conditions

In a typical work setting, flight attendants:

Interpersonal Relationships

  • Have an extremely high level of contact with passengers.
  • Often speak in front of large groups of passengers.
  • Communicate mostly by face-to-face discussions.
  • Almost always work as part of a team of flight attendants.
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  • Are substantially responsible for the health and safety of passengers and coworkers.
  • May at times deal with conflict situations in which they interact with unpleasant or unhappy passengers.
  • Are somewhat responsible for the work done by others.

Physical Work Conditions

  • Always wear a special uniform.
  • Are often exposed to contaminants.
  • Are exposed to loud and distracting sounds and noise levels on a daily basis.
  • Almost always work indoors. Attendants who work for smaller airlines may work outdoors while helping passengers board aircraft.
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  • Are exposed to recycled air for long periods of time.
  • Often work physically close to passengers and other attendants.
  • May get into awkward positions to reach cramped work places.
  • Are regularly exposed to high places, such as the top of jetways.
  • Are regularly exposed to diseases and infections carried by passengers.
  • Are sometimes exposed to hazardous situations and whole body vibration.
  • Are sometimes exposed to radiation.

Work Performance

  • Must be exact in their work and be sure all details are done. Errors could cause passengers to be injured by falling luggage or runaway carts.
  • Repeat the same physical and mental tasks.
  • Make decisions on a daily basis that greatly impact passengers.
  • Usually don't need to consult someone else before making a decision.
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  • Determine most, but not all, of their daily tasks and goals without consulting a supervisor first.
  • Must meet daily deadlines.


  • May work part time or full time. Schedules are usually fairly regular.
  • May work nights, holidays, and weekends.
  • Usually fly 75 to 85 hours a month. They spend an additional 75 to 85 hours a month preparing for flights, writing reports, and waiting for planes to arrive.
  • Usually have 11 or more days off each month. This may be due to changes in schedules or limits to flying time.
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  • May spend at least one-third of their time away from their home base. Airlines usually pay for meals and hotel costs during this time.
Source: Illinois Career Information System (CIS) brought to you by Illinois Department of Employment Security.