How many languages a cabin crew has to speak?

Making a top 3 of the most asked questions about the cabin crew job, the one we’ll be talking about today is about the languages spoken by cabin crew.

This question is a very important one because a good mastering of certain languages is a requirement for any airline company.

The aviation industry promotes the development of a multicultural workplace. This thing is obvious due to aviation’s main goal – bringing people together. It is well known that big airline companies are recruiting cabin crew from all around the world.

Nationals airline companies are looking for flight attendants that can talk fluently in the official language of their country (besides English). Some examples could be: Turkish Airlines (Turkish), KLM (Dutch) or Lufthansa (German).

A basic rule and general selection criteria is to have an English language knowledge above medium level, both written and spoken. That’s why the interviews and all the instructions are given to the candidates in English. Most times companies will also have a written English exam.

Of course, knowing a second or third language is an advantage but no company is making their choice due to this aspect.

Why English language is so important?

The main reason why flight attendants must have a good knowledge of English is that in this way, they’ll be able to effectively communicate in this field. Human errors, communication barriers can be the cause of a tragedy. The entire crew, pilots, air traffic controllers, engineers, all who deal with an aircraft or the services offered on board an aircraft must talk a common language. Imagine how it would be if flight attendants couldn’t understand the command of the other cabin crew. Therefore, mastering English is a safety criteria in aviation.

I hope this helped you in not giving up on your dream if you don’t know any other languages besides English. Our trainer, Roxana, who flown for Gulf Air (read here her story) speaks only English and Romanian (mother tongue), so it’s a real proof that she made it!

 

We prepare you to pass any airline interview:

1. Join our two days course in Madrid in which you’ll find everything you have to know about aviation, the interview and the stages of it. We will make sure you go prepared to your Open Day or Assessment Day! Also, we will also make you a perfect cabin crew CV and we will be with you during your entire journey to the skies. Details and registration here.

 

2. If you want to have a broad overview of the role and duties of cabin crew, airline companies profiles, stages of each airlines’ interview and how to pass them, we are waiting for you at our courses. We make your perfect cabin crew CV & pictures, we help you gain confidence and learn how to speak in public, so you will have a flawless performance at your cabin crew interview. Details and registration here.

 

3. If you cannot attend our courses, regardless of where in the world you are located, we can work together privately. Through coaching sessions via web video (Skype or Google Hangouts), our trainers can work with you to improve your performance at the cabin crew interview and supporting you every step of the way to get you where you want to be. More details here

Cabin crew life in the Middle East. My experience at Gulf Air

One year ago I was writing on my personal blog about beginnings. About the courage to step in an unknown field, about the strength no build a career from zero. About changes, decisions, risks. Looking now at all those things, I realize that I had the same feelings as many others in my place. The distance between the Middle East and Europe is more than just geographical distance, it’s also about embracing a new culture and spirituality.

Of course, this experience can be different from one individual to another. That’s why, I will share my personal, unique story, in which I learned to fully embrace the Arabic culture and to accept people for who they are, not according to their labels.

I arrived in Bahrain at 8 PM after 3 flights. I was tired, facing unknown, the heat and the dry air weren’t helping me at all. I never thought I’ll get used to such a different climate. I was feeling a total stranger. I guess for me, the most important thing that mattered at that moment was that I wasn’t alone at all. At Bahrain airport, we were greeted by someone from the company and permanently guided by this person. We received all the instructions about what’s next, some money and a sim card. Also, a bus took us straight to the accommodation. The next morning, the same bus picked us up in front of the building at 8 am sharp. So we learned from the first day how important is to be punctual.

I believe getting used to be a flight attendant in the Middle East is different from one person to another. For someone with a strong personality, life here can seem too disciplined. For a free, libertine personality can seem too rigorous. Luckily, I didn’t think those rules were too harsh, I looked within them and found their true meaning. One of the most challenging times for a European is during Ramadan. Ramadan is a strict fast which lasts 1 month. You aren’t allowed to eat in public spaces. The best is to only eat at home at that time of the year. One aspect that I truly respected was the way I was dressing. In Bahrain isn’t mandatory to wear abaya (long black dress) or to have your face covered. You can dress however you want. Still, I considered myself as a guest in their country so I adopted a more formal, elegant dress code when going in public spaces. So instead of wearing a top, I’d wear a T-shirt and because it’s hot all year I wore long skirts which were really comfortable.

If you don’t want to change your style, it isn’t a big problem, but you’ll have to get used to some prying eyes.

I believe training is the start of your aviation career. The training for Gulf Air takes up to 2 months with an 8 hours program, Sundays ’till Thursdays (Fridays and Saturdays are free days). The curriculum is indeed a lot to handle, but luckily it is spared into weeks of study with both theoretical and practical lessons. You’ll learn about medical problems, cabin service, safety and emergency procedures, security, ditching, grooming, crew resource manager, firefight and many more. You’ll have lots of situations in which you can apply your knowledge in practical exercises, so you can be prepared in any of the emergencies.

Even though at first it seemed impossible, the feeling I had when I received my diploma was totally worth it!

On my first day, I understood why the recruitment process was that long. Gulf Air Training Centre was waiting for us with everything prepared. Each classroom, each simulator, the building in which we’ll stay during those 2 months, the manuals, the free transport and many more. This shows that it took lots of preparations and they are really professional.

Our batch was formed by 13 people, 7 of them were Romanians, thing that for me mattered very much. During classes and training, we were talking all the time in English, but in our free time we were talking in Romanian and this is a real help. So if you have in your batch people with the same nationality as yours, make sure you’ll become friends! It really matters with the homesickness feeling. A good thing in Bahrain is that it is a safe city. You can go and have fun with your friends without any problems.

I believe the trainers felt the connection between us, therefore the courses went smoothly. For each course, we had another trainer. They all were well prepared and serious but at the same time very friendly and understanding. At the end of each course (which can last 2 days, up to 2 weeks), we had an exam. In order to pass to the next course, you had to pass it.

I can’t guarantee that each of you will feel the same as I did in an Arabic country, but I advise you to believe in your feelings and if something is not ok, listen to that. Make a change!

“Life can be lived anywhere. The environment is not important, what is really essential is the intensity of it.” – Cezar Petrescu (Romanian author)

 

Warm regards,

Roxi

 

*story written by our trainer, Roxana, from her own experience as a Gulf Air cabin crew. 
*story translated into English by our editor, Georgiana.

Join our courses! We prepare you to pass any airline interview:

  1. If you want to have a broad overview of the role and duties of cabin crew, airline companies profiles, stages of each airlines’s interview and how to pass them, we are waiting for you at our 4 days intensive course. We make your perfect cabin crew CV & pictures, we help you gain confidence and learn how to speak in public, so you will have a flawless performance at your cabin crew interview. Details and registration here.

 

  1. If you cannot attend our courses, regardless of where in the world you are located, we can work together privately. Through coaching sessions via web video (Skype or Google Hangouts), our trainers can work with you to improve your performance at the cabin crew interview and supporting you every step of the way to get you where you want to be. More details here

What it’s like to be a Cabin Crew?

You may have heard many of your friends say that they dream of becoming a member of the cabin crew. After long talk sessions with them about their job, you could have developed the same goal. Before deciding on following their footsteps, there are a few things that you need to know about what it is like being a cabin crew.

The training is no joke. The training that you have to go through is very challenging and will take around four to eight weeks. You have many written and practical exams that you need to complete. This means that you will have to spend long hours to study and understand everything that you learned in the classroom. After some time, there will be aircraft cabin mock-ups that could be dreadful. You are required to pass each exam with at least 90% grade. If you fail to reach this mark three times, the airline will send you home. Once this happens, you won’t be able to reapply for six months. You have to deal with the differences in time and weather in different places. For flight attendants that travel internationally, it is a struggle to adapt to the life of experiencing different time zones and climate or weather every day of your career. Because of the schedule that you are on, you will most likely become sick at the beginning because your body is not programmed to go through that as frequently as you do as a flight attendant. However, after some time, you will become accustomed to that specific lifestyle. All you have to do is to ensure that you are in good health at all times. To avoid getting sick, you can take vitamins and health boosters. Though it is great to be living your dream, you need to remind yourself that health is wealth.

Dealing with passengers is not the easiest task. Every day, you will have to face people with different personalities, behaviour, and temper. As a cabin crew, it is essential to learn how to deal with all kinds of people. You will have to deal with some who will complain a lot or those who have multiple questions that may seem pointless. However, it is your responsibility to make them feel comfortable throughout the flight. Always remember to smile when you face your passengers. You are not their waiter, but you are the one who will save their lives if something happens. Although you indeed have to bring them their food and drink during the flight, you were not trained for weeks to do only that. You will learn what to do in case an emergency arises. There are procedures that you will have to perform during your mock-ups. You will be taught what you have to do if the plane malfunctions or a medical emergency happens mid-flight. As a flight attendant, you have many responsibilities, most of which is to attend to your passengers. However, you should never forget what you trained long and hard for. Although there is only a slim chance of something tragic happening, you still have to review and recall the steps you have to take. You will receive amazing perks.

As a beginner, your salary won’t be as high as you may have expected it to be, but there are several benefits that you can get. During your layovers, while working, your company will let you stay in excellent hotels. You will also receive discounted tickets when you want to travel for personal reasons. Regarding your salary, there is no need to worry. The pay will continue to work up the pay scale as time passes by. There will be no more holidays for you. During the contract signing, your employer will inform you that you will no longer have any holiday or birthday leaves. You will have a schedule that you will have to follow, and if your day-off falls on any of the significant holidays, then you are in luck. However, if you are scheduled to fly on those days, then you will celebrate with your passengers on board. Although it may be lonely, it is an entirely different experience that may be amusing at the beginning. After some time, you will get used to your schedule and spending most of your time away from your loved ones.

It is your responsibility to solve unexpected problems. One example of an unexpected situation is when a bug or pest has entered the plane. Though there are people whose job is to clean the aircraft often, there are still instances wherein you will find one, such as a cockroach, aboard. If this happens, you can perform cockroach control with non-toxic killer products. It may not seem that important, but it is crucial to show your passengers that you value cleanliness. Also, some people have a phobia of these pests. Making sure that the plane is bug-free ensures that none of the passengers will go into a panic attack.

These are only a few advantages and disadvantages of being a flight attendant. If you still want to be a cabin crew member after learning about what it really is like, then you should go ahead and pursue your dream.

Happy and safe flights!

Guest Post by Cora L.

We prepare you to pass any airline interview:

If you want to have a broad overview of the role and duties of cabin crew, airline companies profiles, stages of each airlines’s interview and how to pass them, we are waiting for you at our 4 days intensive course. We make your perfect cabin crew CV & pictures, we help you gain confidence and learn how to speak in public, so you will have a flawless performance at your cabin crew interview. Details and registration here.