So you’ve decided you want to join the weird and wonderful world of being a Trolley Dolly. Where do you start?
Well here at Confessions of a Trolley Dolly we’ve come up with some useful guides to help you with the whole process – from deciding if cabin crew is the right job for you, applying, the initial interview process and surviving training.
Where do I start?
Well first of all you need to have a think about what airline would be the best fit for you. Have you always wanted to wear those killer red heels with Virgin Atlantic? Do you want to fly the flag with British Airways? Maybe orange is your colour and easyJet is your airline? Or do you dream of the Dreamliner with Thomson or Norwegian? There are countless airlines to choose from and you should really have a think before picking the best one for you.
Do your research. This will not only help you deciding the right airline, it will also help you to have some background information when you go for interviews.
Do you want time away or would you prefer to come home every night? Are you prepared to relocate for your job, to move away from your friends and family? Do you want to see the world or are you happy seeing an airport for 25 minutes? Do you want to battle jet-lag on long haul or do countless sectors on short-haul?
There are so many carriers to choose from and making the right choice is crucial to you enjoying your job fully.
Do you have any friends or family already in the industry? Be sure to ask them for their advice. Do they have any hints or tips on what to expect? Utilise every avenue open to you to pick the best airline.
There are a number of qualities that airlines look for in their Cabin Crew. Above all they want people who are resilient, supportive, caring, hands on and positive. Crew come from all walks of life, which means you don’t need previous flying experience, most airlines are more interested in what you can bring to their company.
To see which airlines are currently hiring be sure to check out our list of airlines recruitment pages coming soon.
Am I Qualified?
Airlines will require that you have a good standard of basic education. You must also ensure you meet the basic requirements of – minimum height (usually between 5’0-5’1), weight (in proportion to your height), good vision (don’t panic if you wear glasses or contact lenses this is still acceptable) and good health (you will have to undergo a medical physical and agility test so be prepared for this).
Do you have any previous customer service experience? If so, no matter how small, this will put you in an excellent position as many airlines would prefer you to have some background in this area, although, again, it’s not essential – we all have to start somewhere, it just means you might have to prove your worth a little more in the interview.
Have you got a passport? Sounds ridiculous but the amount of people who don’t yet still go and apply for the role is enormous. If you don’t have a passport – get one sorted.
Are you a resilient person? Life as crew is hard. Long days on your feet, awful sleep patterns, travelling over different time zones, dealing with jet-lag (although you can find some great remedies on how to deal with the dreaded jet lag here) and one of the most difficult to master – juggling a good work/life balance. If you can handle all this and more, then make sure you include it in your CV/Interview, it’s a great selling point.
Set up an email address and a professional one at that. My first email address included my favourite drink and did not go down well on my initial assessment day!
Remember you’re NEVER too old to apply.
- You must have the right to live and work in the UK with no criminal convictions.
- You must be aged 18 years or over.
- You should hold a valid passport which permits you to travel to all of the destinations that your chosen airline flies to.
- You need to be fluent in written and spoken English (a second language is desirable)
- Can you swim without the aid of a flotation device?
- Able to reach to a height of 6’2” (188 cm approx.) without shoes, with weight in proportion to height.
- Fit and able to obtain an EASA Aero-Medical Certificate. For more details on this click here.
- Able to provide a five-year history with verifiable references.
- Willing to cover any visible tattoos and remove any body piercings or tooth jewellery.
- Uniformed colleagues must have hair of natural colour, coloured or tinted hair must appear to be a natural shade.
- Live within 90 minutes of your allocated airport base and willing to travel every day, at any time of the day.
Below is a look at the cabin crew job itself. Have a read and see if you still feel it’s the job for you.
Cabin Crew Job Description
- Cabin crew must ensure that all emergency equipment is present and in working order prior to take off.
- Cabin crew must give vital professional demonstrations of safety procedures and equipment use before every flight, so no matter how many times a day it needs to be demonstrated, each one needs to be presented as if it is the first of the day, it is your opportunity to make a friendly, positive impression with the passengers.
- Cabin crew need training, knowledge and confidence to effectively deal with any security/emergency situations if they arise.
- Cabin crew are expected to administer first aid to passengers.
- Cabin crew greet and welcome passengers on board so they must be friendly and approachable.
- Cabin crew must consistently deliver outstanding standards of customer service and maintain a high standard throughout the flight.
- Cabin crew must treat everyone professionally, with respect, patience and understanding.
What do Cabin Crew do on a shift?
Cabin crews in-flight duties vary from airline to airline and depending on whether it is a short or long-haul flight and also on the size of the crew you are working with. Typically though, flights include most of these checks and procedures.
- Cabin crew attend a pre-flight briefing, where they are assigned their working positions for the forthcoming flight.
- Crew are notified about the flight details and schedule.
- Cabin crew will be advised if there are passengers with any special requirements e.g. special meal requests, passengers who may have accessibility or communication challenges, wheelchairs, VIPs, frequent flyer passengers, number of infants requiring infant seats are just a few considerations before boarding.
Cabin crew need to carry out pre-flight duties such as: Checking the safety equipment, ensuring the aircraft is clean and tidy, checking that all required refreshments are on board including special dietary requests, relevant landing cards are loaded, first aid equipment is checked and replenished where necessary.On-Board
- During boarding cabin crew welcome passengers on board and directing them to their seats, helping them secure all hand luggage in the appropriate place.
- Cabin Crew need to ensure that all walkways and exits are not obstructed for the duration of the flight.
- Cabin crew need to swiftly and diplomatically resolve any seating issues before preparation for take off.
- Cabin crew inform all passengers of the aircraft safety procedures.
- Cabin crew check every passenger to ensure they and the cabin is now secure for take off.
- Cabin crew ensure that the galley equipment is safe and secure prior to take-off.
- Cabin crew may need to make clear, timely announcements and keep passengers informed of any delays.
- Cabin crew need to be visible to passengers in the cabin to answer questions during the flight.
- Cabin crew provide timely professional service to passengers at all times when serving meals, refreshments and duty-free goods.
- Cabin crew may be required to administer first aid to passenger(s). If/when required, medical situations should be dealt with in a discrete and professional manner whilst keeping the situation and passenger calm and reassured.
- Cabin crew need to ensure that all passengers disembark safely at the end of a flight. All overhead lockers, public areas, toilets and galleys need to be careful checked to ensure that nobody has left their belongings on board the plane and believe us when we say passengers can leave some pretty random things behind. Find out more with ‘The Top Ten Weird and Wonderful Things Left Onboard An Aircraft’
- Cabin crew need to complete all necessary paperwork such as stock control, logging of any faults, incidents or problems which may have occurred during the flight before ending their shift.
Cabin crew need to be excellent communicators – as well as working closely with flight and cabin crew they must also liaise with ground crew. As you can see it’s not all about putting on a fancy uniform and sitting by a pool for a few days sipping cocktails. There’s a lot more to it and you can also check out some of our ‘Day In The Life of Cabin Crew’ from a number of airlines by clicking on the following links – TUI, Ryanair, BA Cityflyer, Virgin Atlantic, CityJet, long-haul.
So you’ve picked your airline and it’s time to see if they are looking for crew. Be sure to check out our careers page which will take you to the major carriers recruitment pages (coming soon!)
First up it’s time for the online application. This is where you will make your first impression so make it count. For every applicant there are countless others wanting the same job, all hoping that they will be successful.
Think about what you plan to include in your application and how to make yours stand out. Start thinking about what you have to offer, you’ll then have a better chance of being able to fill in any gaps in your experience or qualifications before you reach the recruitment deadlines.
Sort out your Curriculum Vitae (CV). Sell yourself. Make yourself shine and tailor your application and CV to the role of cabin crew. Make it work for you. Keep it short and to the point.
Try to avoid using lots of general statements – things like ‘I’m a hard worker’ or ‘I love to travel’ – recruiters hear that all the time. Your application is your chance to prove that you have what it takes to shine, but don’t expect airlines to just take your word for it. If you say you’re hardworking they will be looking for extra hard evidence of this in your application. It’s not enough to just say it, you need to show it.
Use phrases like ‘I am used to working long and unsociable hours’, ‘I am used to working as part of a team’, ‘I am very adaptable and am used to changing and challenging circumstances’.
Keep your application relevant. Point out where your previous job roles and the role of cabin crew are similar. Do you have any qualifications which may be similar to the role. Have you ever done a St. Johns Ambulance (or similar) First Aid course? or maybe a Fire Safety Awareness Course? These sort of things will really impress.
Do you speak a foreign language? If so tell them. Maybe include a little in your application. This will show you recognise how important it is to be able to effectively communicate with passengers in their native language. But make sure you can speak it well – a few words from your GCSE French or German exam is not enough – show how you can use it in your cabin crew role.
Include plenty of spaces, clear headings and section breaks. Recruiters have to read a lot of applications and the better the layout the easier they are to read and the information you’re presenting about yourself will have more of an impact.
When adding a photo make that work for you too. Don’t add a silly one. Make sure you look immaculate. Don’t add a hungover selfie or holiday snap. Look through photo’s of cabin crew and use this as a guide. There’s plenty of cabin crew snaps across our Confessions of a Trolley Dolly social media pages just search – #DolliesoftheDay.
Have you flown with your chosen airline before? If you’re applying for a Middle Eastern carrier – have you visited the country? Be sure to mention if you have.
Some airlines now utilise telephone or video interviews as part of a pre-screening process. It saves companies time and money and is a great way to whittle down the numbers. This may also work in your favour. You’ll be in your own surroundings which could help reduce nerves and it also saves you having to travel long distances for assessment days.
Practice your answers out loud. Knowledge is power. If it’s a video interview look smart, don’t answer in your PJ’s! Smile and hold eye contact with the screen, even if you can’t see the person. Speak a little slower than you usually do and allow for a time delay. And remember to BREATHE!
Many airlines will have cabin crew ‘holding/talent pools’, basically you’ve matched the criteria and are one step closer to becoming cabin crew.
Airlines will frequently start their recruitment campaigns well before the summer months which means that their business needs can frequently change.
You will remain in the Talent Pool whilst airlines finalize their airport base requirements. Offers are made in line with business needs, which means that some bases and candidates may receive offers before others. So don’t be disheartened if someone else you applied with are offered the job before you.
For Part 2 – The Assessment Day – click here.
© confessionsofatrolleydolly.com by Dan Air