Given the glamour and glitz of globe-trotting free of cost, attractive salaries, and a chance to meet some of the worlds most interesting celebrities, the clamour for jobs as air hostesses and stewards shows no sign of abating despite a host of other exciting career options available these days.The contemporary air hostess has come a long way. No longer is air-hostessing a frivolous pastime; today its widely acknowledged as a job that requires just as much dedication as any other career that women may choose to pursue. It not only offers the excitement of travel across five continents and good monetary returns, but with the advent of giant commercial aircraft which have raised passenger capacity, it offers increased opportunities as well. Moreover service conditions have improved. The retirement age has gradually been raised and air hostesses are permitted to marry, and even have children.
The basic qualification for this job is fluency in English and Hindi. Knowledge of foreign languages and regional languages is an additional qualification. Thereafter academically, the most useful qualification is a diploma from a reputed airline training school.
The aviation industry in India is flying high and the civil aviation ministry projects a growth of at least 35 percent per year over the next decade. In this scenario, theres booming demand for cabin crew with estimates indicating that the industry will create 3 million new jobs in the next ten years. Little wonder airline training schools, which impart theory and practical training for all types of airline jobs, have mushroomed across the country. The basic qualification for entry into these schools is Plus Two with graduates enjoying an edge.
Some of these top cabin crew training schools are:
Frankfinn Institute of Airhostess Training, Indias largest aviation school with 79 centres in 55 cities and small towns offering a one-year diploma programme.
Kingfisher Training Academy, with nine centres in major cities, offering a nine-month certificate course in aviation management
Excellence Aviation Academy launched in April 2007 in Bhopal, Jabalpur, Gwalior and Kolkata offering a one-year cabin crew training programme
Flying Cats with 30 centres, with its head office in Chandigarh and training centres in Mumbai, New Delhi, Guwahati and other cities which offer a one-year diploma
Aptech Aviation and Hospitality Academy, which already has 10 centres (including one in Mumbai) with plans to open 10 more in cities such as Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Hyderabad, and Bangalore, offers a one-year cabin crew training course
Livewel Aviation Training Academy with two schools in Mumbai offers a six-month programme for air hostesses and flight stewards
Airhostess Academy – AHA, New Delhi, offers a one-year diploma in aviation and hospitality management
British Air-Hostess Academy, Chandigarh, offers a one-year diploma in aviation management
Armed with certification and a pleasing personality you are all set to hop on board and with the skies crowding with airliners, theres no dearth of jobs.
Aspirants should be below 25 years of age with a minimum height of 157.5 cm (5ft 3in) barefoot. Weight should be proportionate to height and your eyesight with minimal uncorrected vision should be 6/24 in each eye. A pleasant personality, communication skills, self-confidence, a flair for tackling unusual situations, and a cool head on your shoulders as well as the ability to work as part of a team are the non-academic qualifications required. Poise and plenty of stamina are also essential.
Flight attendants — male and female — discharge a variety of pre-flight and in-flight duties. They check the aircraft for supplies, passenger safety equipment, ensure that passenger cabins are neat, orderly, and adequately furnished, and check the plane galley for food and beverages for serving in flight.
The selection procedure varies from airline to airline. There are interviews, group discussions, and tests for specific abilities like proficiency in English and general awareness. Good grooming and manners are vital.
While most airlines advertise vacancies, interested candidates can also apply on their own. A resume with a photograph could be mailed to preferred airlines. The pay is good and freshers can expect emoluments in the range of Rs.30,000–50,000 per month in domestic airlines and Rs.75,000–100,000 in international airlines.
Ive been flying all over the world ever since I was a year old as my father is a senior manager with Air India. And thats how I got hooked on flying. After getting a B.Com degree in 1996 I joined the Law College, Mumbai and while studying sent out applications to several airlines. I was lucky to be selected by Air Club, a Canadian company which had a wet lease contract with Air India. That was the beginning of my career as an air hostess,” says Mumbai-based Delna Zaveri who has nine years of experience of this high flying career.
In 1998 her two-year contract with Air Club came to an end and Zaveri joined the ranks of thousands of women aspiring to air hostess jobs. Its a much sought after career. So many aspirants but many more jobs now! Even people in modelling and films want to join this profession. I was however lucky to land a job with Delta Airlines, an American company which has been flying the Mumbai-Frankfurt route for the past 15 years,” she recalls.
Nine years into air-hostessing, Zaveris enthusiasm for flying the skies is undiminished. Flying gives you opportunities to widen your horizons. I fly three times a week to Frankfurt and get plenty of free time to recover from the odd hours and hard work. The civil aviation industry takes good care of you. Moreover since all hostesses today are well-qualified academically, its easy to land a good ground job after one stops flying, perhaps even in the managerial cadre,” she says.
With its combination of glamour and generous pay scales, this career is as popular as ever. No longer are hostesses glorified maids in the sky”. With the world getting smaller by the minute and the global air transport networks becoming commensurately larger, for anyone interested in a career as an air hostess the skys no limit.