There are many reasons to become a flight attendant. Career growth for flight attendants is faster than average, and the median salary for a flight attendant is more than 50K per year. That’s pretty impressive for a career that doesn’t require a college degree, and that includes many desirable perks.
Of course, a career field that’s this attractive is also quite competitive. This means that people seeking jobs as flight attendants must take action to ensure that they stand out among many other applicants. Airlines invest quite a bit of time in money in training flight crew, and they want to spend that investment wisely. People who want to enter this field, or who want to advance in it, know they must be proactive in bringing the most desired skills and experience.
While there’s no guarantee that it will lead to a job, people who are multilingual do have a bit of head start compared to other applicants. Below, we’ll explore the three ways in which knowing more than one language can absolutely boost your career as a flight attendant.
Let’s face it, airlines have earned quite a bit of press over the past few years when it comes to their treatment of passengers. This isn’t just because passengers, with smartphones, stand ready to act as de facto journalists at any given moment. It’s because now more than ever, people are interested in sharing their brand experiences with others. Additionally, marketers all around the world have recognized that the most powerful marketing tool isn’t an advertisement campaign. Rather it is the recommendation of someone who is close to you – no matter if it is family or a close friend. That is why, airlines, like most other brands, recognize this. As a result, companies are investing more and more time to improve the customer experience. Boosting ticket sales is crucial for airlines in order so that they can stay afloat. As operational costs increase, more and more airlines are struggling to survive.
They can contribute to these better experiences by hiring flight attendants that speak more than one language. How does that track? It’s simple. Even when a customer is fluent in another language, they would prefer to have their customer experiences in their native language. A flight attendant is, among other things, an in-air customer service agent. When a customer has a question or concern, airlines win points when they have someone on staff who can speak their language. In the air, that person is going to be the flight attendant. That bodes well for attendants who wish to advance or improve the likelihood over them being hired.
It’s not that flight attendants who are multilingual get a higher salary or more pay per hour. In fact, there’s no real guarantee of that. It’s that airlines are more likely to hire them for international flights. That’s where they get better pay. It’s important to remember that flight attendants are paid for flight hours. That means hours that they are actually in the air.
Now, think about a regular four-hour trip from the Midwest to somewhere in Florida. The flight attendants on those flights aren’t paid to greet passengers or to do their pre and activities. On the other hand, imagine an international flight. Much of the pre and post flight activities are the same, but attendants spend much more time in the air. This means more pay.
While it isn’t guaranteed, a bilingual flight attendant is much more likely to be assigned to an international flight crew. As a result, it’s pretty likely that they will bring home more money overall. There’s also another added bonus. They’re more likely to accumulate earned time off. That’s always a perk.
There is a small downside here that bears mentioning. Flight attendants go through a bidding process to get the routes they want. However, airlines can deny bids in order to meet their staffing needs. Sometimes, multilingual employees are denied their bids to change routes simply because they have language skills that are needed where they are.
Now a bit of bonus to balance things out. What can a flight attendant do while they’re ‘grounded’ for any reason? If you are multilingual, you could work part-time for a translation service such as The Word Point. Your travel knowledge could make you the perfect candidate for travel-related translation work.
As with any other career, finding a good job is sometimes just a numbers game. There are numerous ways to become a flight attendant, but nothing is guaranteed. However, if you speak more than one language as a flight attendant, the numbers skew in your favor, sometimes significantly. Airlines that cross oceans and continents are especially looking for multilingual candidates, as the company then can assure a better passenger experience.
Clearly, demand is consistently high for attendants who speak more than one language. When you take a moment to consider that this is a challenging field to enter, that’s something that’s important to note. If you’ve been wondering if learning a new language could help, by all means, sign up for that language learning course. By becoming fluent, you open yourself up to significantly more job opportunities. Even if you decide not to work as a flight attendant one day, an extra language on your CV won’t look bad!
Knowing multiple languages may not guarantee you a great job as a flight attendant, but it can certainly improve your chances. Now more than ever, airlines are prioritizing people who are multilingual. Even better, they are reserving some of the highest paying jobs just for them.
So, if you want to travel the world, experience new cultures and meet a lot of different people while also earning quite a salary, add an extra language to your skillset. Do not be afraid to invest in yourself, because you can guarantee a better future for yourself!
Interested in working as a Flight Attendant? Check out this link for career advice and job opportunities: /en/flight-attendant-jobs
Pauline speaks Portuguese, English, Spanish and Italian. She traveled the world to immerse herself in the new cultures and learn languages. Today she is proud to be a voting member of the American Translators Association and an active participant of the Leadership Council of its Portuguese Language Division.
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