American Airlines Flight Attendant Requirements: Things to Know

american airlines flight attendant requirements
What are AA’s requirements? Let’s break them down (Photo credits: tash_vera)

Have you ever dreamed of working for the world’s largest airline? Then you’re in luck because American Airlines is in the process of hiring thousands of new flight attendants!

But do you have what it takes to become an AA Stew?

Let’s find out! In this article I will cover everything you need to know about the requirements American Airlines has set for aspiring flight attendants.

American Cabin Crew Requirements

American Airlines lists eleven official job requirements on their flight attendant application.

In other words, in order to become an American Airlines flight attendant, you must:

  • Have a high school diploma, GED, or an accepted foreign equivalent.
  • Have either a college education or two years of customer service experience (preferred).
  • Be able to make announcements, give emergency orders, and communicate fluently in English.
  • Be at least 20 years-old.
  • Be in possession of a valid US passport, or a Foreign Passport with all the necessary VISAs to stay and work in the United States.
  • Have the legal right to travel unrestricted to and from all states and countries served my American Airlines.
  • Keep your travel documents current and valid through all phases of employment, including training.
  • Have the legal right to work in the United States.
  • Be able to attend up to 6.5 weeks of unpaid training in Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas. And, if employed, be willing and able to move to the city where you will be based.
  • Be able to serve on call and report for duty at your assigned base upon short notice (reserve duty). Noting that reserve duty may continue for an undetermined number of years.

That’s a long list, and it might not be clear at first glance what each requirement actually entails, but don’t worry, we have plenty of hints and information to help you decide if you meet these requirements or not.

Let’s jump into the nitty-gritty!

High School Diploma / College Education

Like most airlines, American requires you to have some form of school-leaving qualification to prove that you completed and graduated from high school.

In the US this is usually in the form of a high school diploma or a GED certificate but there are also a number of acceptable foreign alternatives.

Inability to provide proof of high school graduation could result in your disqualification from the selection process. 

College Education

While it is not required that you have a college or university degree, it can set you apart from the other applicants, giving you a critical advantage in the highly selective application process.

Other forms of advanced professional training can be equally beneficial to your application because they prove you have the ability to learn and apply new skills.

Areas that AA finds particularly valuable include:

  • Nursing/Emergency Medicine
  • Hospitality/Tourism
  • Cultural and Linguistic Studies

Two Years’ Customer Service Experience Preferred

Again, it is technically not required that you have prior customer service experience, you can be hired without it, but it is preferred for a reason.

Having customer service experience is a very important qualification if you are hoping to become a flight attendant because it will help immensely in your daily duties if you get the job.

Speaking from experience, AA does not spend much time at all on customer service during their training program. Therefore, it is ideal when you already have the experience you need to do your job well.

Ability to make announcements, give emergency orders, and communicate in the English language

Being able to communicate fluently in English is absolutely necessary to succeed as an American Airlines flight attendant.

Practically speaking, you need to be fluent in English because you have to pass the training program which is taught entirely in English. And to pass the exams at training you have to be able to confidently make announcements and give emergency orders in English.

If you want to do a free language proficiency test, I recommend this free resource from transparent.com. As a native speaker, I scored 45/50 on the test, so if you can beat my score, chances are you are fluent enough for AA.

Must be at least 20 years of age

To apply for a cabin crew position with American Airlines, you must be 20 years old at the time you submit your application.

This is because FAA regulations require that you are 21 years old by the time you start flying.

If you are 20 years old when you receive a conditional job offer (CJO) from American, the company will schedule your training close to your birthday, so that you will be 21 by the time you complete it. Two people in my training class actually celebrated their 21st birthdays in the middle of the program.

Along those same lines, there is no maximum age limit to apply at American Airlines.

Must Be Able to Satisfy All Legal Requirements

There are a few legal requirements necessary to work for American Airlines.

Possession of a Valid US or Foreign Passport with all applicable VISAs and the Ability to Travel Unrestrictedly

Flight attendants travel for work and must be able to enter and leave multiple foreign countries in order to do their jobs.

For this reason, all would-be American Airlines flight attendants must have a valid passport and be able to legally travel to and from all destinations served by AA.

You will need to keep your passport valid throughout your career, including during training. But don’t worry about getting visas for specific destinations ahead of time, AA will help you with that once you are hired.

The Legal Right to Work in the United States

In order to work for American Airlines, you have to have the legal right to work in the United States.

If you are a US citizen, you can check off this box and move on.

Otherwise, you have to make sure you have the proper permits to work in the US.

If you are unsure about your legal status, I recommend visiting the E-Verify Website.

Ability to Attend Training

 

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If you are lucky enough to get a CJO you will need to be able to attend up to 6.5 weeks of unpaid training in Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas (DFW).

This means temporarily relocating to DFW.

American Airlines does not pay its trainees, but it does provide you with room and board for the duration of your training program. 

Ability to Relocate to Your Assigned Base City

Upon successful completion of the training program, you will be required to relocate to your new “domicile” (the city where your new base airport is located).

You are given 10 days to make this move, but you will usually know where your intended base is by the fourth week of training, giving you time to search online for a place to live.

Ability to be On Call and Available to Report for Duty

In the aviation industry there is a system known as “reserve.”

To be “on reserve” means that you are on call and must be able to report to your base airport within a specified amount of time (two to three hours depending on the city you are based in.)

Reserve at American Airlines lasts for one year straight, known as “straight reserve” and then transitions to “rotating reserve.”

The frequency of reserve assignments on rotating reserve is dependent on seniority.

Eligibility for Language Speaker Positions

If you visit the American Airlines jobs portal you will likely see calls for applications with titles like, “Flight Attendant Trainee German and English Bilingual.”

This application pool is specifically for people who are bilingual in the specified language.

To qualify to be a “Speaker” you need to be functionally fluent in the designated language. And you will be tested!

When I applied as a German and English bilingual flight attendant, I had to do an oral exam over the phone to prove my fluency.

You can always apply in the “regular” application pool and take the language test later. Once you are hired you can take the test when you’re ready, and it never hurts to try.

Other Requirements

Due to American labor laws American Airlines is not allowed to discriminate against applicants due to height and weight.

Therefore, it sets lose physical requirements.

At the in-person interview you will be asked to do the following physical tests:

  • A reach test: This ensures you are able to reach the emergency equipment in the highest of the overhead bins in AA’s fleet. (Ladies you may do this in heels!)
  • The jump seat test: This ensures you can fit into the jump seat and strap in securely. In other words, you cannot be larger than the capacity of the jump seat’s harness on the smallest aircraft in AA’s fleet.

Conclusion

American Airlines is a great company to work for, and as far as employment requirements go, their expectations are in line with all other major airlines based in the United States.

I hope this article was helpful, and if you decide to apply to be an American Airlines flight attendant, I wish you the best of luck!

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