How often do you hear this comment: “A flight attendant is just a glorified waitress in the sky.” Really? People who believe this have probably flown and been served a drink, snack, or even a meal by a flight attendant. And they have probably never experienced anything, but an ordinary, mundane ride.
But a flight attendant’s work life can be anything but normal and mundane. If you have applied for such a position and are looking toward an interview, you will need to come fully prepared.
Popular Interview Questions for Flight Attendants and Sample Answers
A flight attendant interview isn’t some talk about how to smile, greet passengers, and push a drink/snack cart down the aisle. It’s a more personality-driven assessment, designed to assess your customer service, flexibility, and adaptability skills.
Here are the top seven flight attendant interview questions you may get, paired with sample replies you can use to model your answers.
1. Why Should We Hire You as a Flight Attendant?
This question is usually asked as an “icebreaker” and to gain some insight into your personality. And the interviewer will want to see certain things in your answer.
What you don’t want to say is something like, “I really want to travel and see new places, and being on a flight will let me do this.” This tells the interviewer that you are focused on what you can get out of this job, not what you can contribute to the airline’s needs.
A good answer:
“I am a people person and have strong customer service skills. In fact, my resume outlines several positions I have held in this capacity. I have previous experience working in the hospitality industry, where I consistently received positive feedback for my ability to provide excellent service to guests. Also, I am a calm and composed individual, which I believe would be an asset in the fast-paced and sometimes stressful environment of a flight”.
Read more about how to answer the “why should we hire you?” interview question.
2. What Are The Top 3 Characteristics of a Flight Attendant?
In this case, an employer wants to hear your take on the core competencies of this profession.
You will want to highlight several characteristics here – friendliness, emotional intelligence, multi-tasking, conflict resolution, positive attitude, interpersonal skills, etc. Narrowing all of these character traits down to three specific ones will be tough. Think about how you can combine some of these together. For example, friendliness could be included in a positive attitude.
“I have always believed that empathy, communication skills, and keeping a positive attitude in stressful situations are the most important qualities of a flight attendant. Empathy allows me to see the situation from the other’s perspective as I look for a resolution to any conflict. Communication skills mean that I can interact effectively with passengers and other team members, as well as actively listen and respond to the customers’ needs. Staying positive and calm during stressful events is important because panic is contagious. If I am calm and confident, this will rub off on customers too and keep them calmer too”.
3. How Does Your Previous Work Experience Relate to This Position?
“I have a long history in customer service positions. And I have dealt with almost all of the types of customers that I would see as passengers on a flight. Except for turbulence or in-flight medical emergencies, I can say that I have been highly successful in resolving customer issues, establishing quick rapport, and leaving customers with a good feeling about me and the organization I represent”.
4. Tell Me About the Worst Customer You Ever Had and How You Dealt With Them
The interviewer is looking for your problem-solving skills and your ability to deal with a stressful situation. If you’re new to the industry, talk about a past experience from another role. If you have already worked as a flight attendant, recount a story from one of your flights.
“I once had a customer who wanted a refund on a large purchase that she had made two years before. The warranty was long since passed, and I had to refuse her request as nicely as I could. She would not take “no” for an answer and began to scream so that everyone at the store could hear her. She threatened to sue and trash us all over the Internet. I was in a position to offer her a large discount on a replacement item and did so. This calmed her down a bit, and I then involved the manager as she began to tell me what discount amount she wanted. Ultimately, we were able to get her off the floor and into an office where we were able to reach a reasonable solution”.
5. How Would You Handle an Argument Between Two Passengers Over Seating?
Scenario-based interview questions are common for flight attendant roles. The airline wants to “test” your communication and problem-solving skills. Use the STAR method to give a compelling answer.
“My first step would be to check the seat assignments on their boarding passes and to point out where each of the passengers should be sitting. If one of them remains unhappy (wants a specific seat and insists that the other passenger switch with them), I would then tell that passenger that once everyone is seated, I will look for an open seat that suits them better ”.
Read more about popular problem-solving interview questions.
6. What Do You Do About a Passenger Who Won’t Follow Takeoff and Landing Instructions?
And yet again, the airline wants to make sure you can effectively resolve a conflict. The best way to answer this flight attendant interview question is to provide a walkthrough of your actions.
“I first assume that they may not have heard the instructions or just weren’t listening carefully. So I repeat the instructions to them. If they still refuse to comply, I then try to explain how the instructions are for their own safety and that the plane cannot take off or land until everyone is ready. If they still refuse, I will have to alert the cabin manager or the ground personnel”.
7. What do You See as Your Main Responsibilities as a Flight Attendant?
The interviewer just wants to see how much you really know about the position you are applying for. If you did some background research (which you should!), this should be an easy question to answer!
“The main responsibilities of a flight attendant are welcoming passengers onboard and helping them find their seats, assisting with overhead bag storage, providing instructions for takeoff and landing, checking to see that passengers have complied with instructions, serving drinks and snacks, making announcements for the captain, and generally keeping an eye out for passengers who may be nervous or under stress. Additionally, flight attendants have to perform special duties in case of an emergency event.”
Even More Flight Attendant Interview Questions To Practice
Each airline emphasizes different types of interview questions. Some are more interested in learning about your personality and motivation for joining the industry. Others are eager to probe your communication, teamwork, and problem-solving skills.
Below are several more frequent flight attendant interview questions, we sourced from interviewees with popular airlines like Delta Air, Southwest, and United Airlines.
- If a coworker isn’t doing an assigned job to them, how will you handle the situation?
- As a flight attendant, what do you find most exciting and what do you find most challenging?
- How would you deal with an unruly or drunk passenger onboard?
- If the plane must Make an emergency landing because of mechanical problems, what would be your job?
- Describe what “excellent customer service” means to you.
- Tell me about a time when you and your colleagues ran into a problem and had to come up with a quick solution.
- Did you ever have a conflict with a coworker or a superior? Please describe, how you have handled the situation.
Scenario Questions, Asked in United Airlines Flight Attendant Interview
United Airlines is one of the most prestigious companies to work for. They also offer excellent compensation to flight attendants, ranging between $70,296 and $98,242 per year. But interviewing with United Airlines can be stressful since they are known to ask a ton of scenario-based interview questions.
Here are several examples to help you better prepare for the actual interview:
- A passenger doesn’t speak any English. How would you interact with them during the flight (e.g. ask for their meal preferences or ask to store baggage in the overhead compartment)?
- Can you describe a situation when someone was rude or obnoxious to you and you had to work with them or help them?
- You are about to begin meal service but notice a woman, who looks distressed. When you walk past her, she bursts into tears. What would be your actions?
- It’s your first day as a flight attendant and you have to work with a staff who already knows one another well. How would you ensure that you make a good first impression and build a rapport with the rest of the team?
How Do I Prepare for a Flight Attendant Interview?
To prepare for a flight attendant interview, it’s important to research the airline. Read the company’s history, mission statement, and core brand values. Check reviews from past and current staff to get a better sense of what personal attributes the company values.
Next, familiarize yourself with the specific duties and responsibilities of a flight attendant, and think about how your skills and experience make you a good fit for the role. In particular, line up examples of providing great customer service, showing flexibility, and emotional intelligence in difficult situations.
Finally, don’t forget to practice the common flight attendant interview questions we’ve lined up in this post! If you have read through this list and sample answers and prepared your own responses, you are more than ready for your interview. You’ll be a star candidate.