Cabin Crew: Job Profile and Role

We are fairly certain that you have been on board a plane at least once. Here, you will have met personnel who are in charge of your safety and wellbeing on board: cabin crew or flight attendants. One of the perks of this job is that cabin crew get paid for seeing the world. This perk, however, can also be a downside since it has a great impact on a flight attendant’s working hours.

In the following blog, we will not only explore the working hours of cabin crew. We will also take a look at the annual salary, potential employers, and the qualifications and skills required for this job. We will also give you an idea of your possible career as cabin crew as well as insights into a day in the life of cabin crew. Last, but not least, you will get invaluable tips for thriving as a flight attendant.

Short Summary

  • As cabin crew, you are responsible for the safety and wellbeing of your passengers during any given flight.
  • As cabin crew, you are required to have a high level of cultural sensitivity to help you deal with your passengers’ various cultural backgrounds and perspectives.
  • As cabin crew, you are responsible for liaising with your colleagues and pilots. This way, you ensure that you always have the latest updates on flight times, possible delays, and potential turbulence.

Job description

It is the job of cabin crew members to ensure the safety and welfare of their passengers. This includes instructing the passengers on health and safety measures, catering during the flight and making sure that the passengers have all they need for their comfort at any given time during the flight. It is also the job of a flight attendant to liaise with on-ground personnel, for example, to discuss connecting flights and what to do in case of delays. As cabin crew, you should have a strong and diverse skill set, including communication skills, resilience, attention to detail, quick and rational thinking and customer service skills.


  • Reporting Security Issues
  • Regulatory Compliance
  • Passenger Assistance
  • Crew Coordination
  • Safety Procedures
  • Passenger Service
  • Cabin Cleanliness
  • In-Flight Services
  • Communication
  • First Aid

Different types of Cabin Crew

  • Long-Haul Flight Attendant
  • Corporate Flight Attendant
  • Regional Flight Attendant
  • In-Flight Supervisor
  • Cabin Crew Trainer


Typically, cabin crew in the UK can expect to be paid between £43,000 and £57,000 per year. These annual salaries refer to flight attendants with work experience. Generally, entry-level cabin crew should expect lower annual wages which tend to range from £15,000 to £20,100. Work experience is not the only salary-affecting factor. The employer and the location will also decide on a flight attendant’s annual salary.

Working hours

The weekly working hours of cabin crew can range from an average of 20 hours to 90 hours. These working hours depend on both the employer/airline and the scheduled flights. Typically, transatlantic and other international flights accrue more working hours. You should also keep in mind that the working hours do not only apply to your time spent on board a plane. Even though unpaid, you need to factor in the time you need to get to the airport, for example.

UK Cabin Crew Rules that Regulate the Working Hours 

There are applicable rules to the working hours and working days of cabin crew. Duty hours typically amount to 60 hours in seven days, and 110 hours in 14 days. Cabin crew should not work more than 190 hours in 28 days. Furthermore, the overall flight time must not exceed the following guidelines: 100 hours in 28 days, and 900 hours per year.


Cabin crew can find employment with various airlines, ranging from major to smaller airlines. Even though cabin crew tend to work on passenger flights, you may also find employment with airlines specialising in cargo and freight. Also, potential cabin crew employers can be found in the private sector. In this case, a flight attendant works in a private aircraft.


You do not need a specific academic degree to become cabin crew. Typically, flight attendants approach this job through doing an apprenticeship or a college course. Appropriate apprenticeships and college courses are a cabin crew advanced apprenticeship and a Level 2 Certificate/Diploma in Air Cabin Crew, respectively. Completing an advanced apprenticeship usually takes 12 months. 

Note that both approaches require either two or five GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D) and 9 to 4 (A* to C), respectively. GCSEs in both English and Maths are mandatory which you should also keep in mind. As cabin crew, you should also be competent in aviation first aid, for example, by earning your AVMED training.

The job as cabin crew could be suitable for you if you have one or more of the following qualifications:


Strong communication skills, strong attention to detail, and customer service skills are but three skills a cabin crew member should have – or should definitely develop. They ensure that a flight attendant performs an outstanding job. They are, by no means, the only skills cabin crew members should have. 

In this section, we will explore three more vital skills a flight attendant should have or develop.

Is the cabin crew job a good fit for you? Typically, cabin crew should have or develop the following skills:


It is one of the charming “perks” of every customer-related job that things do not always go according to plan. Even though most customers/passengers will be happy with the provided service and care, some will always find the proverbial fly in the ointment. Keeping calm and professional is not always easy, especially when you are having a “cabin crew bad hair day” and the passenger in question is being extra difficult. Strong resilience is mandatory – and not only if and when someone is on the complaints warpath. Resilience will also see you through tricky and potentially dangerous situations.


And it should go hand in hand with the ability to keep a clear head at all times. Just imagine your flight is facing turbulence or even a threat inside the plane. Naturally, both scenarios will scare the life out of you. Nevertheless, you will need to keep a clear head. It is a fact that panic and fear – as important as they might be as self-protection measures – will cloud your judgement and paralyse you, effectively meaning that you will not be able to react and act. A clear head, on the other hand, will help you find solutions. It will also help calm your passengers and colleagues.

Lightning-fast Reactions

This brings us to our third important skill you should have as cabin crew: quick reactions. Let’s go back to potential turbulence. This can result in the overhead compartments opening and suitcases and bags falling out. In consequence, they turn into health hazards. If you have very fast reactions, you can ideally avoid injuring your passengers. The same goes for a passenger in urgent need of medical care. The quicker your reaction and thinking, the more likely that you will be able to help him or her.

Career Path

Your career as a cabin crew member starts with an entry-level position, such as a junior flight attendant. With a few years of work experience, you can advance to more senior positions, for example, as a senior flight attendant, or a cabin crew superior.

Alternatively, you can look into cabin crew ground jobs. Possible jobs can be the job of a cabin crew trainer or a job in passenger services as well as airline marketing.

Educational Background

Your educational background as a flight attendant is either a completed advanced apprenticeship or a Level 2 Certificate/Diploma in Air Cabin Crew. An academic background is not required. Note, however, that becoming cabin crew will still require you to finish school with two to five GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D) or 9 to 4 (A* to C). Also, note that GCSEs in both Maths and English are required.

Entry Level

After you have completed your apprenticeship, you start your cabin crew career with an entry-level position. This can be the job of a junior flight assistant, for example. This entry-level position enables you to gain relevant and important work experience. It also helps you decide if the job of a flight attendant is the right fit for you.

Continuous Learning

During your first job as cabin crew, you not only gain experience. You also learn and should do so continuously. This includes staying up-to-date with regulatory changes, health and safety measures, and new approaches in customer service, to name but a few. Your continuous learning curve will also ensure that you thrive as a flight attendant.

A Day in the Life of Cabin Crew

Have you ever wondered what a day in the life of a cabin crew member looks like? Or do you think all a flight attendant does is make sure that the passengers have something to drink and eat? Even though cabin crew are responsible for the culinary welfare of the passengers, a day in the life of cabin crew is a lot more diverse. Let’s take a look at some things that can shape a typical working day of a flight attendant.

Personal and Cabin Inspection

After you have arrived at the airport, the first thing you do is check your personal appearance. Is your cabin crew uniform neat and tidy? Are you happy with the way you look, do you think that you come across professionally? If you can answer these questions with a “Yes!”, you can board the plane. Here, you also need to make sure that everything is shipshape. You inspect the cabin for cleanliness and make sure that all the necessary safety measures are in place.

Safety Briefing

Talking of safety measures: one of the first things you are in charge of after welcoming your passengers on board is the safety briefing. Here, you show your passengers where the emergency exits lie, how to free oxygen masks and how to react and act in an emergency. You also show your passengers how to fasten their seatbelts and tell them that mobile devices need to be switched off until told otherwise. During the flight you have to make sure that your passengers adhere to the safety measures at all times.


Depending on your flight schedule, layovers may be part of your working day as cabin crew. Those layovers can take place in different cities and countries as well as at different airports. Depending on the time you have during your flights, you may have the chance to explore a city. You should also make sure that you get plenty of rest and relaxation during this time to prepare you for your next flight.

Tips for Thriving as Cabin Crew

Continuously improving your communication and customer service skills are two ways to thrive as cabin crew. But more ways to help you thrive in your chosen profession. In this section, we will look at three more of those ways, and they are our tips for thriving as cabin crew:

  • Cultural sensitivity and diversity training
  • Multilingual skills
  • Safety and emergency training

Cultural Sensitivity and Diversity Training

As cabin crew, you will deal with different cultural backgrounds, sensitivities, and perspectives – whether you work on national or international flights. Therefore, you should be both diplomatic and sensitive when it comes to these backgrounds. You should also familiarise yourself with a) the most common cultural backgrounds and b) make sure that you avoid their potential pitfalls. You can attend and complete specific training courses that also function as a cabin crew qualification.

Multilingual Skills

Our second tip for thriving as cabin crew is closely connected to our first tip. As cabin crew, you should have multilingual skills. Or, if you do not already have them, you should work on them. Even though English is understood and spoken by a vast majority of your passengers, there will always be the odd one out who does not speak English. Knowing several languages does not only overcome language barriers. It is also a way to show your passengers that extra bit of attention and service. And being multilingual will definitely ensure that you thrive as cabin crew.

Safety and Emergency Training

Even though most flights are smooth, you should always be up-to-date when it comes to safety and emergency. You never know if a passenger might need first aid or if there are turbulences that require swift action and emergency supervision. Completing appropriate safety and emergency training will not only help you thrive as cabin crew. It might also be mandatory for you to become a flight attendant.

Other jobs that are similar and might also interest you:

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does cabin crew member earn?

UK-based flight attendants with work experience can expect annual salaries ranging from £43,000 and £57,000. Note that you will earn considerably less when you start as an entry-level cabin crew member. Here, the annual salary varies between £15,000 and £20,100. Furthermore, the annual wages are affected by a flight attendant’s employer and the location of the airline.

What qualifications do I need to become a member of a cabin crew?

You can become a flight attendant by doing a cabin crew advanced apprenticeship or a Level 2 Certificate/Diploma in Air Cabin Crew. Both approaches require either two or five GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D) and 9 to 4 (A* to C), respectively. Note that GCSEs in English and Maths are mandatory. It is also recommended that you complete an aviation first aid course, such as your AVMED training.

What is the job of cabin crew?

It is the job of cabin crew members to ensure the safety and security of a flight’s passengers. This includes briefing them on safety measures and ensuring that they adhere to these measures at all times. As cabin crew, you are also responsible for your passengers’ wellbeing. This ranges from welcoming them on board to providing them with drinks and snacks, selling on-board goods, and wishing them a safe onward journey. As cabin crew, you are also asked to liaise with the pilots, your colleagues, and on-ground personnel. Here, you should discuss things such as ETAs, potential delays, and connecting flights for your passengers.