Can I Become a Flight Attendant with a Felony Record?

felony flight attendant

Would you like to work as a flight attendant but are worried that your criminal record will keep you from achieving your goal?

Well, do not worry!

Having a criminal record can be tough, but it doesn’t exclude you from becoming a flight attendant

Don’t let fear of rejection or concerns about trustworthiness deter you. While background checks are stringent, a past mistake doesn’t necessarily clip your wings.

Let’s explore the possibilities together.

💡 Key Takeaways

  • A criminal record doesn’t automatically prevent you from becoming a flight attendant; the decision depends on the airline’s policies and the nature of the crime.
  • Applicants must pass a comprehensive background check conducted by the airline and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
  • Misdemeanors may impact your application, but minor traffic violations generally do not.

Requirements to Become a Flight Attendant: A Quick Reminder

Here are the main requirements:

  • Age: You must be at least 18 to 21 years old.
  • Education: You must have a high school diploma or equivalent, though higher education is sometimes preferred.
  • Physical Fitness: Health, fitness standards, and swimming skills may be required in order to meet the demands of the job. This is because flight attendants may have to perform emergency evacuations in the water, so if you are a confident swimmer, it’ll be advantageous.
  • Language skills: You’ll need strong communication skills, including fluency in English (and possibly other languages).
  • Medical Requirements: You’ll need to pass specific medical exams, including vision tests, hearing evaluations, and general health assessments.
  • Legal Right to Work: You must be legally allowed to work in the country where you are applying.

Additionally, it is mandatory for aspiring flight attendants to pass a criminal record check. Offenses such as violent crimes, theft, drug-related offenses, or any activities that could endanger passengers or the airline’s reputation may restrict your entry or exit from certain countries and end up disqualifying you.

Now, let’s address the burning question:

Can You Become a Flight Attendant with a Felony Record?

The answer is not a simple yes or no. It depends on several factors, including the nature and severity of the felony or the specific airline’s policy.

But first, what do they call a felony?

A Felony is a serious crime that involves fines and a sentence of more than one year of prison.

The requirements differ among airlines in the US and Canada.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Some airlines have strict policies against felony records and others don’t.
  • You must be able to get security clearance from airports and enter and exit countries legally.
    Canadian law, for instance, prevent anyone with felony convictions from entering the country unless they complete the Canadian Criminal Rehabilitation process. We’ll get back to it…

Other airlines may review each case individually by considering:

  1.  The nature of your offense
  2.  The time that has passed since the conviction 
  3.  Your rehabilitation efforts

It is important to do research and familiarize yourself with the qualifications of the airlines you are interested in. Be honest and transparent while disclosing your criminal history during the application process.

What Is a Background Check?

The airline’s background check on potential candidates happens after the interview, before the training.

When Air Canada did my background check, it covered the past 10 years and included questions about my criminal records and everyone in my household,  my employment history, credit checks, and references.

It took about 1 month to get an answer.

There are 2 types of background checks:

  • one by the airline
  • one by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). 

The FAA’s check is required to obtain clearance for working in the aviation industry. It involves verifying your fingerprint-based criminal history records and cross-referencing them with various databases.

Can I Become a Flight Attendant with a Misdemeanor?

It depends on the nature of the misdemeanor and the airline’s policies.

What do they call a misdemeanor?

A misdemeanor involves penalties of less than one year in prison, sometimes punishments, and lower fines.

But even if misdemeanors are considered less severe offenses compared to felonies, it may still have an impact on your application. Depending on the airline’s policies and depending on the offense.

Here are some examples of misdemeanors :

  • drunk driving
  • petty theft (including shoplifting)
  • minor assault
  • battery
  • trespassing
  • vandalism.

👉  Infractions, such as minor offenses or traffic violations, are typically less serious and do not appear on criminal background checks.

DUI (Driving Under the Influence)

DUI  infractions are minor offenses that involve breaking the law but do not result in jail time.

It won’t appear on your criminal record, so you don’t need to disclose it during a background check.

What Happens After Your Background Check?

  • Clear background:  If your background check comes back clear, that’s great news! You move forward in the process.
  • Unclear Background: The airline may ask you for more information or paperwork if the background check turns up a felony or misdemeanor conviction. You might not be eligible for further consideration, depending on the seriousness and recentness of the offense.
  • Expunged or Over 10 Years: Expunged records or offenses that occurred more than 10 years ago, it may work in your favor.   The legal procedure of sealing or removing a criminal record is known as expungement. However, airlines may still ask you to divulge the information and give explanations.

If you have the opportunity to explain the situation, it’s crucial to be honest.

  • Explain the circumstances surrounding your conviction
  • Demonstrate personal growth and responsibility
  • Highlight any steps you have taken to rehabilitate yourself.

Airlines value integrity, and being forthright about your past can make a significant difference in their decision-making process.

Other Factors That May Disqualify You

Apart from criminal records,  other factors may disqualify you from becoming a flight attendant.

These include:

  • Drug Use: Airlines have strict policies regarding drug use. If you have a history of drug abuse or positive drug test results, you may be disqualified.
  • Medical Conditions: Certain medical conditions that pose risks during flight or hinder job performance can disqualify you as well.
  • Eyesight: Good vision is essential for performing safety-related duties, and specific eyesight requirements must be met.


A criminal conviction or misdemeanor record may affect your eligibility but it does not automatically disqualify you from working as a flight attendant.

Each airline has its own employment policies and guidelines, and they’ll consider many factors before making their decisions. Remember being honest, demonstrating personal growth, and highlighting your qualifications and skills can improve your chances.

If you’re determined, research airlines’ specific requirements, understand the regulations and present your best self while addressing any past mistakes, your dream of soaring the skies as a flight attendant is within reach!

So, do, buckle up and stay hopeful—the skies may still hold opportunities for you!

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