The interview process involved with becoming an American Airlines flight attendant can be a long, multi-step process.
So don’t be surprised if it takes four to five months to receive an invitation to the in-person interview in Dallas, Texas.
Once you do have that invitation, this article will help you prepare for the types of questions you will be asked.
As a former AA flight attendant, I will briefly provide examples of the types of questions you will be asked by your interview team and give you some advice on how to successfully answer them.
Organization of the American Airlines Face-to-Face Interview Process
The American Airlines flight attendant interview is organized into 9 parts.
The first five will take place in the same order as they are presented here.
The last three can take place in any order, but in general, they seem to take place in the order I have listed here.
At this point, it might be good to note that all of the recruiters on your interview team are flight attendants themselves.
One of the members of the interview team will even be in uniform.
This person is your host, they will not be actively engaging in the evaluation aspect of the interview.
Their role is to ensure that the interview goes well and to answer any questions you might have.
1) Flight to Dallas
If you live within the United States, American Airlines will generally fly you to Dallas on the same day as your interview.
This is on purpose because it usually means you have to be up really, really early.
They do this because it tests your ability to handle the stress of waking up early, getting to the airport, getting on your flight, and finding your way to the interview location without losing your cool.
In other words, this is the practical test portion of the interview process.
2) Check In
Once you arrive at Skyview One, the headquarters campus of American Airlines, you will be directed to the interview location.
Once you find your way there you will be greeted by a member of your interview team.
There you will be asked how your flight was and be asked to present a valid passport and a printed copy of your resume.
This is the moment when you can make a good impression!
Engage in some light small-talk with the person checking you in because the recruiters will be observing you to see how you initiate conversation with them, and the other interviewees in the room when you first arrive.
Check In Writing Assignment
At check in you are given a very short writing prompt.
You will only need to write a few sentences to answer it adequately so don’t stress it too much because you will also want to use this time to get to know your table-mates.
3) Group Interview
The group interview involves a few things, usually there is some sort of ice breaker at the beginning, followed by a question posed to the whole group, and then a small-group interview that takes place at each table.
The ice breaker is pretty standard, they go around the room and ask each person to introduce themselves, in this phase you will be asked to tell the group where you are from and fun fact about yourself.
Hint: try to make your fun fact authentic and unique, but also make sure it conveys something about who you are and your character.
First Round of Questions
After the ice breaker, the recruiters will go around the room asking each person a question at random.
Based on the information I gathered, they cycled through a few questions, so a few people were asked the same question.
It is important, if you are answering a repeated question, to make it clear you were listening to others while they answered the question.
Agree with something that was said earlier and then add on your own answer.
It shows the interview team that you are an active listener and a collaborative thinker.
Small Group Questions
After the whole group has answered the first question, you will be split off into smaller groups by table, at that point two recruiters will join your table.
You’ll do another quick ice breaker before answering another question, although from what I have heard this time each person at the table will be asked a different question, so make sure your answer showcases your individual strengths.
The last part of the small group interview is a group activity.
You will be given a prompt and will have to work together with those at your table to solve a problem.
You have to work quickly and communicate effectively to be successful, because you are only given a few minutes to complete the task.
During the group activity, the recruiters will be looking to see who steps up to take on the leadership role, and who is willing to pitch in and help with any of the task work.
4) Presentation of the Company
Once the tasks of the small-group interview have been completed, the recruiters will dismiss themselves and your interview facilitator will give you a presentation about the company, and what it is like to be an American Airlines flight attendant.
They will also be open to answering any questions you might have.
During the presentation, the recruiters will be making their decisions about who gets to move on to the next part of the interview and who will be sent home.
That will be in the back of your mind but try to relax and enjoy the presentation.
5) The Moment of Truth
After the presentation has ended the recruiters will come back to the interview room and read off a list of names.
Those folks will be taken out to the next step, or to the shuttles.
Don’t worry if you aren’t called right away, in fact, that is probably a good sign. While you are still in the interview room, you will be able to continue to ask your facilitator questions and converse with the other interviewees.
If your name is called and you are taken to another room, congratulations, you made it!
But the interview process isn’t over yet.
When I was interviewed the first thing I did was fill out a ton of paperwork including:
- Basic information: name, birthday, current address, passport number, etc.
- Previous employment info be prepared to supply the address, and phone numbers of your former employers.
- Background check forms: You will be asked to list every place you have lived in the last ten years.
- Tax forms: the standard onboarding type of forms you have to fill out whenever you get a new job.
While you are filling out forms, recruiters will come and go, and you might be interrupted several times to complete a few additional tasks.
7) Jump Seat & Reach Test
One of those tasks is the jump seat and reach test.
Due to anti-discrimination laws in the US, American Airlines cannot impose weight limits or height minimums.
But they can reject you if you cannot fulfill your duties due to your physical limitations.
So, you will be asked to buckle into the smallest possible jump seat and reach into the tallest possible overhead bin to grasp emergency equipment.
And if I remember correctly you have to also be able to step through the overwing exit door of the 737 without your body touching the edges. (Picture a human version of the operation game…)
8) One-on-One Interview
The next task is the one-on-one interview.
Here you will be taken into a room with a single recruiter and asked a few final questions.
You will also probably be asked to read an announcement out loud so they can get a feel for your “PA” voice.
They will also offer you the official CJO (Conditional Job offer) at this point.
But I don’t want to ruin the surprise and I really hope they still do it the same way they did back when I was hired.
It was such a special moment.
9) Drug Test
The last step is the drug test.
It’s straight forward.
You either pass it or you don’t.
Examples of Questions Asked at the American Airlines Flight Attendant Interview
All in all, you will probably answer four to five of the following questions during your interview.
This list of questions is by no means exhaustive and I do highly recommend checking out Glassdoor before your interview to help you prepare.
I have identified four general categories of questions that are usually asked at the in-person interview. For each category, I have picked two example questions and provided you with some advice on how to answer them.
Before we get to the questions though, I have one very important helpful hint: always relate your answer back to working for the airline.
This will help the recruiters visualize you in the role.
1) Customer Service-Related Questions
Here are two possible customer service-related questions that you might encounter at your AA flight attendant interview.
➡️ Share a time when you went above and beyond for a customer.
Brainstorm ideas for this question ahead of time because I can almost guarantee you will be asked this question in some shape or form (it might just be phrased differently.)
If you have no prior customer service experience, try to find an example from a similar situation in your professional experience. For example, you could talk about a time you exceeded the expectations set for you or a time you made a personal sacrifice for the good of your team.
If you are right out of college and have absolutely no experience, talk about a time you went above and beyond to help a friend.
➡️ How would you respond to a customer with an unreasonable request?
This one might seem tricky, but it is actually straightforward.
The recruiter is looking for a few specific things, so make sure your response included the following:
- Take responsibility
- Offer a solution
- Thank the customer
If you can articulate the fact that you would do those things, you will have successfully answered the question.
2) Skills Related Questions
When asked a skills related question be sure to place your skills within the context of the job.
Here are two examples:
➡️ Describe a time when you had to overcome a challenge at work.
Describe that situation and relate it to how you would use what you learned from that experience to be a successful flight attendant.
➡️ Do you like to work alone or with others?
I don’t care how you would actually answer this question, repeat after me, “I like to work with others.”
You love people, that’s why you want to work for the airline in the first place.
3) Common Interview Questions
The next two questions are questions I was asked at my American airlines face to face interview.
➡️ Why do you want to be a flight attendant?
You have to do better than: “because I want to travel,” when answering this question.
My answer was something along the lines of, “I want to be a flight attendant because I have a curious soul and I want to be in a career that allows me to meet new people, learn new things, and have new experiences every time I come to work.”
➡️ What do you think is the most challenging aspect of being a flight attendant?
Be honest in your answer, but then reassure the recruiter that challenge is a good thing because it is a source of personal growth, this will give your answer a positive tone.
For example, “I think it will be challenging to be away from my family during holidays, but I know that this will only make the time we are together sweeter and I know my family will understand that my absence is worth it because I will be literally helping to bring other families together during the holidays.”
You could, however, also talk about jet-lag, getting used to loneliness, learning how to not take it personally when a passenger insults you.
Just always make sure you approach the question with a growth-mindset.
4) Unusual Questions
These questions are usually meant to throw you for a loop.
The recruiter will be observing how you handle the unexpected and your ability to think on your feet. They will also ask these questions in order to learn more about your personality, interests, and what makes you tick.
Here are a few examples:
➡️ What do you think about social media’s impact on society, both positive and negative?
If you get this question, keep in mind that airlines are very conscious of what their employees are doing on social media. Flight Attendants have been fired in the past for bad behavior on social media.
I think the important things to emphasize are the positive, (it brings people closer together no matter where they are located in the world) and the negative (social media is very public, and people are constantly judging others based on what they say and do on SoMe.)
➡️ What is one thing you can’t leave home without?
Let your personality and interests shine through on this question.
I was asked it at my interview too and I answered, “I can’t leave home without a notebook. I love writing poetry and I like being able to write things down by hand.”
How Long is the American Airlines Flight Attendant Interview?
My face to face interview with American lasted 16 hours, from the time I got to the airport in the morning, to the time I landed back in my hometown.
The actual interview takes about 6 hours if you are lucky enough to make it past the moment of truth.
It’s a long day, but it’s nothing unusual for a flight attendant, so just think of it as a day-in-the-life.
Tips To Prepare for the AA Flight Attendant Interview
To help you prepare for your interview, I have created a small list of things I would do to get ready.
- Pick out an outfit that is professional, comfortable, and confidence inspiring. You want to feel good about yourself in what you are wearing, and you definitely don’t want your outfit to be too tight because you will swell on the flight to Dallas.
- Pack a briefcase or larger purse with anything you might need during the day: ibuprofen, Chapstick, eyedrops, blister band-aids, etc. You want to make sure you will be comfortable all day so that the little things don’t add to your stress load.
- Practice a few canned answers to standard questions and have examples from your past experiences ready to go.
- Bring a little notebook with the addresses of every place you have lived in the last ten years, and the addresses/phone numbers of all your previous employers.
- Make sure you have your passport!
Once you arrive at the interview you should be prepared to do the following:
- Switch off your cell phone.
- Mingle with everyone.
- Have a good time!
Keep in mind, the face to face interview is split into two sections, and if you don’t make it past the first section you will be sent home without a conditional job offer.
So first impressions really matter and the best way to make a good impression on your interview team is to be authentic, professional, and friendly.