Flight Attendant Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

nature of work, training requirements, qualifications, procedures, employment rate and earning rate as well as merits and demerits of the service occupation of flight attendants. The Works Cited three sources in MLA format.

Service Occupation: Flight Attendants

Since air transportation industry has been in the process of development and is well on the path to persistent positive change, matchless success and constant prosperity, it is not only the increase in mobility of global population that is evident but this ever-flourishing industry has also created innumerable job opportunities. This is because, the nature of this industry encompasses various activities (Career Guide to Industries, Air Transportation). On the same account, primary airlines "provide transportation for passengers and cargo, and airports, provide the many ground support services required by aircraft, passengers, and cargo. Air taxi companies and commuter airlines also provide commercial transportation, such as passenger and cargo service, often to and from small airports not serviced by the airlines (Career Guide to Industries, Air Transportation). Other companies provide air courier services -- which furnish air delivery for individually addressed letters, parcels, and packages -- and helicopter and sightseeing airplane services for tourists. This industry also includes services related to air transportation, such as aircraft repair, cleaning, and storage" (Career Guide to Industries, Air Transportation). Thus, with these significant and mobile activities emanate some of the most integral job opportunities. Airlines, whether giant names symbolizing quality service and generating massive profits or small-scaled airlines enjoying lesser share of the aggregate, have various job opportunities to offer including jobs for the posts and functions of aircraft mechanics, dispatchers, customer service representatives, airline security representatives, airline cargo agents, baggage handlers as well as general designated jobs of accountants, lawyers, managers, secretaries (Career Guide to Industries, Air Transportation). However, flight attendants apart from pilots are the most translucent occupations in the industry of air transportation (Career Guide to Industries, Air Transportation). Their nature of work involves a wide array of activities.

Nature of Job of Flight Attendants

Almost all airlines provide their passengers with flight attendants in order to assist their customers travel comfortably. Since, the law demands airlines to hire flight attendants the individuals joining this occupation shoulder various responsibilities including making sure that passengers on board comply with the safety regulations and keeping a strict check pertaining to the availability of first aid kit and other safety equipment (Service Occupations: Flight Attendants). Moreover, flight attendants inform the flying public regarding the use of such emergency equipment, welcome their passengers on board, check their flying tickets as well as provide instructions to them regarding the placement of "carry-on items" (Service Occupations: Flight Attendants). In order to satisfy the queries of their passengers, "at least 1 hour before each flight, flight attendants are briefed by the captain, the pilot in command, on such things as emergency evaluation procedures, crew coordination, length of flights, expected weather conditions and special passenger problems" (Service Occupations: Flight Attendants). Flight attendants also shoulder the responsibility of distributing meals, snack as refreshments and other items including pillow, shawls, puzzles for kids and beverages (Service Occupations: Flight Attendants). "After the plane has landed, flight attendants take inventory of alcoholic beverages, monies collected, and headsets and may report on medical problems of passengers and cabin equipment conditions or incidents. Lead or first flight attendants, sometimes known as pursers, oversee the work of the other attendants aboard the aircraft, while performing most of the same duties" (Service Occupations: Flight Attendants). Hence, the readers can well comprehend the importance of flight attendants and the vital role that they play in the success or failure of any and all airlines.

Employment of Flight Attendants

In 1996, all flight attendants held jobs that amounted to a total of 132,000 jobs (Service Occupations: Flight Attendants). In addition to the above, "a small number of flight attendants worked for large companies that operated company aircraft for business purposes" and some of them perform efficiently for major firms to date. The table titled, "Employment of wage and salary workers in the air transportation industry by occupation, 1998 and projected change, 1998-2008" shows the employment number of flight attendants 98,000 in 1998 making a total of 8.3% with an expected change of 30% from 1998 to 2008 (Career Guide to Industries, Air Transportation). "Since Federal Aviation Administration safety rules require one attendant for every 50 seats, more flight attendants will be needed" in the near future (Service Occupations: Flight Attendants). On the same account, air transportation industry offers a promising future for flight attendants and those trained and educated in the similar fields. Hence, from the above discussion, it is evident that the employment rates as well as the earnings rate is directly proportionate to the changes in economy. When the economy of thriving nations is positively moving upward, the demand for flight attendants augments due to an increase in the air traveling by people of the prosperous country. Similarly, in times of financial and economic depression, when fewer people prefer and can afford to travel by air, the demand for flight attendants decreases (Service Occupations: Flight Attendants).

Earnings of Flight Attendants

According to the databases from the Association of Flight Attendants, "beginning flight attendants had median earnings of about $12,800 a year in 1996" (Service Occupations: Flight Attendants). Moreover, "flight attendants with 6 years of flying experience had median annual earnings of about $19,000, while some senior flight attendants earned as much as $40,000 a year. Flight attendants receive extra compensation for night and international flights and for increased hours. In addition, flight attendants and their immediate families are entitled to free fares on their own airline and reduced fares on most other airlines" (Service Occupations: Flight Attendants). A large number of flight attendants are members of the Association of Flight Attendants. Some are members of Transport Workers Union of America, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and so on and so forth (Service Occupations: Flight Attendants). Most of the airlines offer a small amount to their flight attendants in order to help them maintain cleanliness of their uniforms that they are suppose to wear regularly while on duty (Service Occupations: Flight Attendants). The table titled, "Median hourly earnings of the largest occupations in air transportation, 1997" shows the earning rate of the occupation of flight attendants as to be $16.79 for all air transportation and $16.82 for all industries (Career Guide to Industries, Air Transportation).

Training, Qualifications and Appraisals

Airlines give preference to those candidates and applicants for the post of flight attendants who can manage both stress and time and can smoothly interact with passengers of all ages, backgrounds, cultures and temperaments (Service Occupations: Flight Attendants). For the similar reason, applicants who are tactful and composed are preferred and must be at least nineteen years of age. Speaking ability is also a highly significant job requirement. In addition to the above, "highly desirable areas of concentration include such people oriented disciplines as psychology and education. Flight attendants for international airlines generally must speak an appropriate foreign language fluently. Some of the major airlines prefer candidates who can speak two major foreign languages for their international flights" (Service Occupations: Flight Attendants). Flight attendants are also entitled to complete performance appraisals either in the form of incentives or bonuses or in the form of job promotion. They are usually then promoted to the status of supervisors or recruiters or instructors. All flight attendants receive at least four to six weeks of complete training wherein they learn a great deal about their duties, safety regulations and other related operational and legal policies. "Trainees learn emergency procedures such as evacuating an airplane, operating emergency systems and equipment, administering first aid, and water survival tactics. In addition, trainees are instructed to deal with hijacking and terrorist situations. Flight attendants also are taught flight regulations and duties, company operations and policies, and receive instruction on personal grooming and weight control. Trainees for the international routes get additional instruction in passport and customs regulations. Towards the end of their training, students go on practice flights. Additionally, flight attendants must annually receive recurrent 12 to 14 hours of training in emergency procedures and passenger relations" (Service Occupations: Flight Attendants).

Working Conditions of Flight Attendants

There is no fixed working hours for flight attendants. "The combination of free time and discount airfares provides flight attendants the opportunity to travel and see new places. However, the work can be strenuous and trying. Short flights require speedy service if meals are served and a turbulent flight can make serving drinks and meals difficult. Flight attendants stand during much of the flight and must remain pleasant and efficient regardless of how tired they are or how demanding passengers may be. Flight attendants are susceptible to injuries because of the job demands in a moving aircraft. Back injuries and mishaps opening overhead compartments are common. In addition, medical problems can occur from working in a pressurized environment and breathing recycled air, irregular sleeping and eating patterns; and dealing with stressful passengers"…

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