Before you can begin your career as cabin crew, you will have to complete the pre-employment training. This really is the final hurdle as your secured offer of employment is dependent on you passing the training.
For many, it will be their first ‘hands-on’ experience of the job. Candidates with previous experience of being crew should not get complacent either, as parts of the training will differ from airline to airline.
There may be a wait between the completion of the background and pre-employment checks and the commencement of your training. Some airlines might also ask for you to complete tasks online during this time, such as e-learning courses.
In this blog, our industry partner, Cabin Crew Wings, share their thoughts on the pre-employment training process and what you can expect.
Are There Costs Involved in the Training?
The initial training doesn’t usually cost anything upfront. However, certain airlines will expect you to pay off the cost of your training over the course of your employment.
Some airlines will give you an allowance during the training period, which again may be deducted from your wages over a set period when you commence employment.
You might also have to pay (fully or partly) for your own accommodation and meals during the training. As an example, an airline might cover your accommodation and breakfast costs, but not compensate you for lunch or dinner.
How Long Will the Training Last?
In general, the training will be completed in around six weeks. However, this is a rule of thumb and can vary depending on the airline.
Airlines who offer more choice in routes, cabin classes and aircraft, may run a longer training course, simply because there is more content to cover.
There are two main parts to the training – safety and security, and service.
Ensuring the safety of the passengers on board is the main role of cabin crew. It stands to reason that this should make up such a large section of the course.
You can expect to cover:
- Pre-flight safety drills
- Emergency landing procedure (on land and water)
- Use of life rafts and life vests
- Cabin pressure loss procedure
- Firefighting and control
- First Aid
- Emergency resuscitation/CPR
- Use of on-board Safety Equipment
- Conflict Management, and occasionally basic self-defence
- Security procedures, and dealing with dangerous goods and items onboard
There will also be a ‘wet-drill’ in which you’ll be asked to swim, practice survival techniques in the water, and climb onto the life raft. There will also be a section on basic survival techniques which you would need to know following an emergency landing.
You’ll learn about the specifics of each type of aircraft you will be working on, including their layout, features and where the emergency exits and equipment are located. You’ll also be shown the door operation systems for each aircraft.
An important part of your training, Crew Resource Management (CRM,) looks at communication between you and your fellow crew. Good communication is crucial to ensure that there is less chance of miscommunication during an emergency.
There will also be training in customer service, passenger announcements, food and drink service and onboard sales. This includes the extra duties you may have to undertake in different cabin classes.
You’ll also receive advice on personal grooming, and details on how to conduct yourself as a representative of the airline.
You will be assessed and tested on an ongoing basis during your training, and you must pass to go onto employment with the airline.
Some bits of the training are exciting and fun, but you will also need to put in the work. If there is anything which you’re struggling with, or find unclear, speak to one of your trainers as soon as possible – they’re there to help you!
Following the successful completion of your training, you’ll be given a date for your first flight.
You’ll normally work under supervision on at least two flights before you officially earn your wings – this is when all of your hard work and perseverance will finally have paid off.
After this, you will be expected to complete ‘refresher’ training every year, to make sure your knowledge of the latest procedures is up to date.