What Disqualifies You From Being A Flight Attendant?

Have you ever dreamt of jet-setting around the world as a flight attendant? It’s an exciting career that allows you to travel and meet new people every day. But not just anyone can become a flight attendant. Airlines have strict requirements and qualifications that applicants must meet.

Failure to meet these airline flight attendant requirements will disqualify you from being hired.

If you’re short on time, here are some quick examples of what would disqualify you from being a flight attendant: not meeting the minimum height requirement, having visible tattoos or body piercings, inadequate communication skills, a criminal background, and failure to obtain an FAA certification.

Age Requirements

Minimum Age

Being a flight attendant is an exciting and rewarding career, but there are certain age requirements that must be met in order to qualify for the position. The minimum age requirement varies from airline to airline, but typically ranges between 18 and 21 years old.

This is to ensure that candidates have reached a certain level of maturity and are legally able to work and travel internationally. If you are passionate about becoming a flight attendant, it’s important to check the specific age requirements of the airline you are interested in applying to.

Maximum Age

While there is a minimum age requirement, there is also a maximum age limit for becoming a flight attendant. Again, this limit varies from airline to airline, but it is usually around 35 to 40 years old.

The reason behind this age limit is mainly related to physical fitness and the ability to handle the physical demands of the job. As a flight attendant, you may be required to stand for long periods of time, lift heavy objects, and have the stamina to handle irregular working hours and time zone changes.

However, it’s worth noting that some airlines may have exceptions or provide opportunities for older individuals to join their cabin crew.

It’s important to remember that age requirements for flight attendants are set by individual airlines and are subject to change. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to check the specific requirements of the airline you are interested in applying to.

Physical Qualifications

Height and Weight

Being a flight attendant requires meeting certain physical qualifications, and one of the most common disqualifications is not meeting the height and weight requirements. Airlines typically have specific height requirements to ensure that flight attendants can reach overhead compartments and perform their duties effectively.

The exact height requirements may vary between airlines, but it is generally expected that candidates should be within a certain range.

Weight is also an important consideration, as flight attendants need to be fit and agile to handle any emergency situations that may arise during a flight. Airlines have weight guidelines to ensure that flight attendants can move swiftly and maintain their overall physical health.

It’s important to note that these requirements are in place to ensure the safety and well-being of both the flight attendants and the passengers.


Good vision is crucial for a flight attendant, as they need to be able to read and understand safety instructions, communicate effectively with passengers, and be aware of any potential hazards on the aircraft.

Airlines typically require candidates to have at least 20/30 vision, with or without corrective lenses. This ensures that flight attendants can perform their duties efficiently and respond quickly in case of an emergency.

It’s worth noting that some airlines also have specific requirements for color vision, as certain tasks may involve distinguishing between different colors. However, there are also airlines that provide accommodations for color-blind individuals, recognizing that they can still perform the necessary duties effectively.


Hearing is another important qualification for flight attendants. They need to be able to hear and understand instructions from the flight crew, communicate with passengers, and be aware of any potential safety concerns.

Airlines typically require candidates to have normal hearing or a level of hearing that can be corrected with hearing aids. This ensures that flight attendants can effectively communicate and respond to any announcements or emergency situations while onboard.

Overall Health and Fitness

Flight attendants need to be in good overall health and fitness to handle the physical demands of the job. They may be required to stand for extended periods, lift heavy objects, and maneuver in tight spaces.

Airlines may have specific health requirements, including a certain level of cardiovascular fitness and flexibility.

It’s important for flight attendants to maintain a healthy lifestyle and take care of their physical well-being to ensure they can meet the demands of the job. Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and proper rest are all essential for flight attendants to stay fit and perform their duties effectively.

For more detailed information on physical qualifications for flight attendants, you can visit the websites of major airlines such as Delta or United.

Communication Skills

One of the most essential qualities for a flight attendant is excellent communication skills. Flight attendants are constantly interacting with passengers, fellow crew members, and airport staff. They need to be able to effectively communicate instructions, provide information, and handle any issues that may arise during a flight.

Strong verbal communication skills are crucial for flight attendants to clearly convey safety instructions, emergency procedures, and general announcements to passengers. They must be able to speak clearly and confidently, ensuring that all passengers understand the information being provided.

Additionally, flight attendants should have good listening skills to understand and address passengers’ needs and concerns.

Furthermore, flight attendants must possess strong interpersonal skills. They need to be friendly, approachable, and able to build rapport with passengers from diverse backgrounds. This includes being able to handle challenging situations calmly and professionally, such as dealing with an upset passenger or mediating conflicts between passengers.

Written communication skills are also important for flight attendants. They often need to complete paperwork, write reports, and communicate with their colleagues and superiors. Being able to write clearly and concisely is essential to ensure effective communication within the airline industry.

According to a study conducted by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), 93% of passengers consider clear communication from flight attendants to be important for a positive flying experience. Therefore, airlines prioritize candidates with exceptional communication skills during the flight attendant hiring process.

Flight attendants must also show proficiency in speaking multiple languages, as they may encounter passengers who do not speak English fluently. Being able to communicate in different languages can facilitate smoother interactions and enhance the overall passenger experience.

Flight attendants can improve their communication skills through training programs offered by airlines or by enrolling in courses specifically designed to enhance their communication abilities. These programs focus on developing effective communication techniques, active listening skills, conflict resolution, and cultural sensitivity.

Background Checks

When applying for a position as a flight attendant, candidates must undergo a thorough background check to ensure the safety and security of passengers on board. This process involves investigating various aspects of an applicant’s personal history, including their criminal record and drug usage.

Criminal History

A major factor that can disqualify someone from becoming a flight attendant is having a criminal history. Airlines prioritize the safety of their passengers, and any past involvement in criminal activities can raise concerns about an individual’s trustworthiness and ability to handle stressful situations.

Felony convictions, especially those related to violence, theft, or illegal substances, are viewed particularly seriously. However, it’s important to note that each case is evaluated individually, and minor offenses or misdemeanors may not necessarily disqualify someone outright.

Drug Testing

Flight attendants are responsible for the well-being of passengers during the flight, and airlines have a zero-tolerance policy for drug use. As part of the background check, candidates are typically required to undergo drug testing.

This can involve both urine and hair follicle tests, which can detect the presence of illegal substances in the body. A positive drug test can disqualify an applicant from being hired as a flight attendant.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), flight attendants are subject to random drug and alcohol testing throughout their career to ensure their ongoing compliance with safety regulations.

It’s important to note that the specific requirements and regulations regarding background checks for flight attendants may vary from one airline to another. It is recommended that individuals interested in pursuing a career as a flight attendant carefully review the guidelines provided by the airlines they are applying to.

Education and Experience

High School Diploma

One of the basic requirements to become a flight attendant is to have a high school diploma or equivalent. This educational qualification ensures that candidates have a certain level of academic knowledge and the ability to handle the responsibilities that come with the job.

A high school diploma demonstrates that an individual has completed a minimum level of education and is capable of understanding and following instructions, which is crucial for maintaining safety protocols on an aircraft.

Foreign Languages

In today’s globalized world, being bilingual or multilingual is a valuable skill for flight attendants. Airlines often prioritize candidates who can speak multiple languages, as it allows them to communicate effectively with passengers from different parts of the world.

Knowing a foreign language not only enhances the overall customer experience but also helps in handling emergency situations or providing assistance to non-English speaking passengers. If you have proficiency in languages such as Spanish, Mandarin, or French, it can significantly increase your chances of being hired as a flight attendant.

Customer Service Experience

Customer service experience is highly valued in the airline industry, and it is an essential requirement for aspiring flight attendants. Airlines seek candidates who have a background in customer-facing roles, such as retail, hospitality, or tourism, as they have developed the necessary skills to provide exceptional service to passengers.

Having prior experience in dealing with customers prepares individuals to handle challenging situations, manage conflicts, and maintain a positive attitude, even in stressful circumstances. If you have worked in a customer service role before, be sure to highlight your experience and relevant skills in your application or during the interview process.

It is worth noting that while education and experience play a significant role in qualifying for a flight attendant position, each airline may have its specific requirements and preferences. It is important to research and understand the qualifications and expectations of the airline you are interested in working for.

Additionally, acquiring additional certifications, such as CPR training or first aid certification, can also boost your chances of standing out as a qualified candidate.

For more information on the qualifications and requirements for becoming a flight attendant, you can visit FAA.gov or AirlineCareer.com.

FAA Certification

One of the key requirements to become a flight attendant is obtaining an FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) certification. The FAA is the governing body that sets the standards and regulations for the aviation industry in the United States.

This certification ensures that flight attendants are trained and qualified to handle various aspects of inflight safety and customer service.

To obtain the FAA certification, aspiring flight attendants must complete a rigorous training program that covers a wide range of topics. These topics include emergency procedures, first aid and CPR, aircraft evacuation, passenger handling, and more.

The training program is designed to equip flight attendants with the necessary knowledge and skills to handle any situation that may arise during a flight.

Training Program

The FAA-approved training program typically consists of both classroom instruction and practical hands-on training. The classroom sessions provide flight attendants with theoretical knowledge about aviation safety, regulations, and procedures.

The practical training, on the other hand, allows them to apply what they have learned in real-life scenarios, such as simulated emergency situations.

During the training program, flight attendants are also evaluated on their ability to demonstrate proper safety procedures, communicate effectively with passengers and crew members, and provide exceptional customer service.

These evaluations are essential to ensure that flight attendants meet the high standards set by the FAA.

Continuing Education

Once flight attendants obtain their FAA certification, their training does not stop there. The aviation industry is constantly evolving, and flight attendants are required to undergo regular training and recertification to stay up-to-date with the latest safety protocols and procedures.

Continuing education for flight attendants includes attending refresher courses, participating in emergency drills and simulations, and staying informed about any changes in FAA regulations. This ongoing training ensures that flight attendants are always prepared to handle any situation that may arise in the cabin.

For more information on FAA certification and the training requirements for flight attendants, you can visit the official FAA website www.faa.gov.

Appearance Standards

When it comes to being a flight attendant, appearance plays a crucial role. Airlines have specific guidelines and standards in place to ensure that their flight attendants present a professional and polished image.

Here are some factors that can disqualify you from being a flight attendant based on appearance:


Flight attendants are expected to maintain a neat and well-groomed appearance at all times. This includes having clean and well-styled hair, trimmed nails, and a clean shaven or well-maintained facial hair for male flight attendants.

Excessive body odor or unkempt appearance can be considered a disqualifying factor.


Female flight attendants are usually required to wear makeup as part of their uniform. This is to ensure a consistent and professional look among the cabin crew. Failure to meet the airline’s makeup standards, such as not wearing enough or wearing too much makeup, can disqualify you from being a flight attendant.

Tattoos and Piercings

Visible tattoos and excessive or unconventional piercings can also disqualify you from being a flight attendant. Airlines typically have strict policies regarding visible tattoos, requiring them to be covered up by clothing or makeup.

Similarly, excessive or unconventional piercings, such as facial or body piercings, may not align with the airline’s image and can be grounds for disqualification.


Flight attendants are required to wear a specific uniform provided by the airline. It is important to fit into the uniform properly and maintain its cleanliness and appearance. If your body shape or size does not meet the airline’s uniform requirements, or if you fail to properly maintain the uniform, it can disqualify you from becoming a flight attendant.

It is worth noting that appearance standards may vary slightly between airlines, so it’s essential to research the specific requirements of the airline you are interested in. Additionally, these standards are in place to ensure a consistent and professional image that represents the airline’s brand and values.


Becoming a flight attendant is an extremely competitive process, with many applicants vying for limited job openings. Airlines must adhere to stringent FAA regulations when selecting candidates. While failure to meet just one of the qualifications covered here will disqualify you, don’t let that discourage you.

Thoroughly research the requirements for your airline of choice. If you meet all the criteria and are truly passionate about the career, you have an excellent chance of living your dream of traveling the world as an airline flight attendant.

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