Kat Kamalani, a former flight attendant, has shared a ton of behind-the-scenes info about airlines and travel. She’s shared everything from packing tips to tips on how to get treated like royalty by the flight crew.
Now, the content creator is giving us the low-down on what it takes to be a flight attendant. While some standards have changed, some restrictions are still in place. So, what does it take to become a flight attendant?
To start, all airlines have different standards. But across the board, it seems like a GED or high school diploma is required. Other requirements include having no visible tattoos, a clean background check, customer service-related experience, etc.
As recently as the late ’90s, many airlines also had specific height and weight requirements—even going so far as to have flight attendants step on a scale before boarding.
And while things do look different today, they don’t look that different.
Physical Requirements Of A Flight Attendant
In the early ’90s, many US airlines dropped their weight limits and charts for flight attendants. This was mainly due to legal action taken by several women. There were antiquated regulations on how much a flight attendant could weigh at any given age, when returning from having a baby, and dependant on their height.
In the video, Kamalani states, “In order to be a flight attendant back in the day, there truly was a weight restriction that you had to meet.” She continues, “But now they don’t necessarily have you step on a scale.”
She says airlines have a way of getting around not having a specific weight limit, though. Now, it’s called a performance test. Performance tests are meant to show that you can move easily down the aisles, fit through an emergency window, and sit in the jumpseat.
According to Kamalani, if you make it to in-person interviews, they will have you sit in a jump seat and buckle it up. A jump seat is a small seat on an aircraft that can fold up. Next, they’ll have you close an overhead bin to ensure you can reach it easily. Kamalani says they’ll also have you close a “mock door to make sure you’re strong enough.”
A Rose By Any Other Name
We’ve come a long way from the cringey, overtly sexual flight attendant ads of the ’60s and ’70s. However, there’s no denying that someone’s height and weight still play a part in their qualification for the job.
The airline industry has had a long history of discriminating against overweight and obese individuals, from flight attendants to passengers. Most airlines require obese individuals to pay for an extra seat, which can add hundreds of dollars to the flier’s total.
Suddenly, those “friendly skies” seem far less welcoming.