The Crew Room - Cabin Crew Introduction Page

If you have a dream to become an Airline Cabin Crew member, you have come to the right place. This website is a great source of all the information you need. Remember that we use the terms air hostess and flight attendant as well as cabin crew, they all mean the same thing.  

Competition for this career is intense, and you need to prepare yourself well for your first interviews. Most airline receive far more applications than they can accept. 

The basic Cabin Crew requirements are a Matric with English, the ability to swim, a minimum height of 1.55m, and customer service experience. You should have a genuine desire to care for, and assist, others

We suggest that you first read our Cabin Crew career notes below, then take a trip through our other pages, and also visit a typical training school site, EPT Aviation

This is the main index page to find all of our Cabin Crew information. We call it the Crew Room. We provide information on training, requirements, opportunities, and other useful hints. You can find out more about the Cabin Crew workshops that we present, and see some good books to read about the subject.

Click the links below for additional helpful information

Cabin Crew in South Africa
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Cabin Crew as a Career

based on an article by

Cabin Crew Requirements
Information on cabin crew and what they do

Working a Flight as a Cabin Crew Member
An overview of a typical flight.

Applying To Be A Cabin Crew Member
A brief look at interviews and how the airlines make their selections.

Cabin Crew Salaries
What kind of salary can you expect

Once Recruited As A Cabin Crew Member
What to expect once you have been recruited as cabin crew and the training the airlines will provide for you.

The Highs And Lows Of Working As Cabin Crew

10 Reasons To Become A Cabin Crew Member

Cabin Crew Requirements

Cabin Crew are primarily on board an aircraft for the safety and welfare of the passengers. They are required to understand and operate all cabin safety equipment such as medical and fire-fighting apparatus. Since this is seldom required, Cabin Crew fulfil the additional role of providing customer service and ensuring passenger comfort. Because cabin crew members are one of the main faces of an airline they are expected to excel in customer service and always remain friendly, approachable and enthusiastic with a good sense of self presentation. The role of cabin crew is physically demanding and you must be prepared to be flexible to work any day of the year. Cabin Crew encounter many different situations whilst working on board an aircraft and must be excellent team players with the ability to work on their own initiative using quick thinking and organisational skills.

Working a Flight as a Cabin Crew Member

Its 3.30 in the morning. Your alarm goes off and its time to get up for your flight to Nairobi, which is due to depart at 7.00am. You attend to your bathroom rituals, put on your uniform and make sure your appearance is immaculate (Even at 4.00am in the morning!). Cabin Crew need to check in up to 2 hours prior to flight departure, so you will need to report for work (in the briefing room) at about 5.00am. You arrive at base, park in the car park and head for the briefing room. Dawn is just about to break.

You sign in, check your notices and messages, and check your cabin manual to refresh yourself with the emergency procedures and location of emergency equipment for the aircraft you are operating on. You go into the pre-flight briefing and the senior crew member talks you through the flight details. This will normally include the order in which the services will operate for the flight, your responsibilities for the day and if there are any passengers with special needs flying e.g. you may be given the responsibility to explain the emergency facilities to a blind passenger on the particular aircraft you are operating on. You should also be prepared to be asked questions regarding safety and emergency procedures.

Now the crew are ready to proceed to the aircraft, and may do so either on foot or by crew shuttle bus. You will need to complete the necessary customs and immigration formalities before boarding. On entering the aircraft you will move to your position and prepare to start work.


It’s now time for you and your team to check your emergency equipment, that you have enough meals, drinks and duty free for the passengers, stock all the toilets with the necessary hand towels and tissues. Now the passengers are on their way, this is your final chance to check that your uniform is immaculate and presentable, all that’s left to do is smile and greet the passengers on board (bearing in mind its 6.30am in the morning). Remember you are the face of the airline so smiles are essential throughout the whole flight.

In Preparation of Take Off All the passengers are now seated and the aircraft pushes back and prepares to taxi to the runway. It is now time to perform the safety demonstration so passengers can familiarise themselves with all the aircraft's emergency facilities. This will include pointing out the available emergency exits and lighting, the use of oxygen masks, seat belts and life jacket. You will complete your demonstration by checking through the cabin ensuring seatbelts are fastened and loose articles are secure for take off. You will now take your seat for take off.


Once the aircraft is airborne you will be released from your seat. You will perform your duties as discussed in the pre-flight brief. The order of services varies from one airline to another. Some services may be charged for. This includes the sale of headsets for the in-flight entertainment, drinks and duty free goods. 

Typical services which may be offered are the following:

  1. Headsets for the inflight entertainment system

  2. Drinks service

  3. Meal service - including special request meals for some passengers

  4. Tea & Coffee

  5. Cold towels offered to passengers to freshen up after their meal

  6. Clearing & collecting the meal trays from the passenger

  7. Sales of Duty free goods

  8. Handing out Immigration cards/forms

  9. Preparing the cabin for landing.

During this time you must also remember to check the toilets every 20 minutes to make sure that they are clean and stocked up. 

You might have to deal with a number of questions and queries, but most importantly you need to maintain the safety and comfort for all of the passengers. Some passengers may have more flights under their belt than you do and therefore require careful handling.


You now take your seat for landing. Once landed you say goodbye to the passengers and then prepare the aircraft for its return journey. (This is referred to as the turnaround). Duties to perform during the stop include restocking the bars for the drinks service, restock and check the catering, restock all the toilets, take out any rubbish from the seat pockets and ensuring all passengers have reading literature i.e. airline magazine, safety card, in-flight sales brochure and a sick bag. Before your new passengers board you will have to complete a security check to ensure no one has left any items on board as this is obviously taken very seriously. Last but not least check your appearance before the new passengers arrive. The passengers arrive so once again you have to greet them and assist where needed. When they are all seated its time to begin the same emergency briefing and cabin service all over again!


Once you have landed back at your base airport and the passengers have disembarked, its time to go back to the crew centre to count the money and to make sure that the amount of goods sold throughout the flight balances with the amount of cash you have taken. Once this has been done its time to check your file for any changes to your future flying programme and then you are free to go home. Congratulations - you have completed a thirteen-hour day and you will feel like you have walked to Nairobi and back! GOODNIGHT!

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Applying To Be A Cabin Crew Member

With air travel still growing very fast, and the world becoming an ever smaller place, people are now realising that there are alternatives to the  normal 9-5 routine and are looking towards careers such as cabin crew as more fulfilling with the opportunity to travel the world. This has generated a lot of competition for Cabin Crew positions, and consequently airlines are able to be rather selective about who they employ. Typically less than 10% of those who apply will be offered a position.  When airlines look for possible new recruits to work as cabin crew they have to make sure that the people they employ know exactly what would be expected of them, have all of the right qualities needed and will be dedicated to the airline. This is because an airline will spend significant sums of money on each new entrant for their uniforms, training and development. The airlines therefore do all they can to ensure that they recruit the right people.

On a typical airline screening session there could be up to 250 prospective candidates attending per day and they are subjected to a rigorous selection process. The assessors will give the applicants written tests, group work and the opportunity to present themselves to others to evaluate how they are suited for the role. Airlines particularly prefer people that go to the interview with an awareness of what the role of cabin crew is all about and those who have taken an interest in the airline that they have applied to. They must be able work well in a group and that have a friendly, confident and caring nature. Good communication skills, both written and verbal, are a must.

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Cabin Crew Salaries

The starting salary for a new recruit is entirely dependent on geographic location. Starting salaries are from ZAR 4000 per month. With allowances this could be almost doubled if you do a lot of flying. In certain locations accommodation is provided. Usual company perks such as medical insurance and pension are also available. Salaries increase as you obtain more experience, and promotion to management is also possible for those who excel.

Once Recruited As A Cabin Crew Member

Once you have been successfully accepted by an airline to work as a cabin crew member you will have to complete a mandatory 4-6 week training course which is governed by the Civil Aviation Authorities. This training course is sometimes called SEPT (Safety & Emergency Procedures) and is usually paid for by the airline (plus you will also get your first month’s wages). 

The newer low-cost airlines prefer to cut cost by employing ready-trained crew, in which case the applicant would have to fund his or her own safety training before applying for a position.

During this time you will be trained on:

  • Aircraft Evacuation

  • Ditching(landing on water)

  • Decompression

  • Fire Fighting

  • Passenger Management

  • Security Related Issues

  • Extraordinary Situations

  • First Aid

  • Survival

  • cabin crew training

Some of this training can be conducted within different simulators to practice the drills and procedures needed to deal with different types of emergencies. Because this training is extremely expensive it is only offered to people recruited as cabin crew, however there are airline recognised training courses available which would give you an excellent insight into what you can expect. Once you have successfully completed the SEP training you will then be put on a probationary period from 3 to 6 months where your performance will be assessed by senior cabin crew and airline trainers. Also every cabin crew member has to undergo recurrent training every 12 months and be re-tested.

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The Highs And Lows Of Working As Cabin Crew

There are many highs to being a cabin crew member and most current cabin crew would say that they definitely outweigh the lows. So what are the highs to working as cabin crew: 

  • No two flights are the same - you meet different people everyday. These range from babies right up to the elderly - and passengers can be fun.

  • You may get cheap flights for friends and family depending on the airline, you will be amazed how quickly your friends come out of the woodwork! Imagine going to Mauritius for a couple of days, just to top up your tan.

  • If you fly abroad then as crew you can purchase duty free goods.

  • Time off patterns are different to almost any other job. You may work for 4 or 5 days and then have 3 days off, sometimes even 5 if you have been put on standby and have not been called in to work!

  • When working as cabin crew you gain self-confidence and have a great sense of achievement. You will acquire knowledge of many languages, cultures, and customs.

  • For the lucky ones that do long haul flights then you will often stop over in the country you are flying too. You stay in 4 or 5 star hotels and may have a short time off whilst you are there.

Well, as with any job there are a few lows as well:

  • You are obliged to work any day of the year and at any time. Weekends tend to disappear. You may have to work on your Birthday or significant holidays.

  • It can be tiring work - your flights can be delayed and the days can be long. There are many overnight flights.

  • The work is physically demanding, and you could encounter health problems.

  • Passengers are becoming more and more demanding, making it more difficult for the cabin crew to satisfy customer needs.

  • Your work schedule can be changed at a moment's notice which could disrupt your life.

10 Reasons To Become A Cabin Crew Member

  1. Enjoy a different work/time off pattern.

  2. See the world and stay in some beautiful hotels whilst being paid.

  3. Have a good social life and meet new friends.

  4. Enjoy variety - Forget the predictability of 9 to 5 office life!

  5. Meet new people with different cultures.

  6. Get free or reduced-cost travel benefits for yourself, immediate family and friends.

  7. Feel more independent.

  8. Feel more responsible.

  9. Feel a sense of pride and accomplishment when helping passengers reach their destinations.

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