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Becoming a Flight Attendant 101

Adventurer B
Last year 7,593 applicants were interviewed for the job of Flight Attendant. From this number 880 were hired. The big question: "What are they looking for?" While serving on the Flight Attendant Hiring Team, I was looking for those who stood out from the group. Professional appearance, positive attitude, and enthusiasm. A question I asked myself was, "How will a passenger respond to this person for five hours at 35,000 feet - while strapped down in a seat?" They certainly don't want to be encapsulated with a Flight Attendant they feel is mad at them! If you feel you have what it takes to be a Flight Attendant, what's the next step?  I suggest a person research the job. Many of our applicants have read the book Nuts! written by Kevin Freiberg and Jackie Freiberg. Google "books on the life of a flight attendant" for resources. These can give you an inside look at a working Flight Attendant's job. For all the hilarity there are the sobering topics of commuting, duty hours, irregular operations, no shows, etc. Try to make sure that, before you apply, you have the attitude, flexibility, and stamina this job requires. You still want the job? Great! Go to the Careers Page of and follow the instructions for submitting an application online. Then the wait begins. If you meet the basic criteria, you will eventually receive a letter (Flight Attendant hiring is timed with the arrival of new aircraft into the fleet) from our People Department inviting you for a Group Interview. Come prepared with the information for which you are asked, and I recommend getting there early, as there will be paperwork to fill out. Do not be late under any circumstances. If you have a conflict, call the People Department immediately. If you don't know how to get to the interview spot, drive it the day before. If you are flying in, allow enough time to get from the airport to the People Department in our Dallas Headquarters, or to the interview location.  What do you wear? Business attire is always appropriate. Wear something that makes you feel good so you will be relaxed and confident. For women, makeup is required on duty so come to the interview looking like you will if you are hired. Men are not required to buy or borrow a suit, but you want to look starched and business like. Arrive knowing why Southwest should hire you. After the Group Interview you could be asked to remain that afternoon for a one-on-one interview. You could also be scheduled another day for this in-depth interview. If the latter is the case, you will receive a letter giving you the time and date. There is no set time for when you will receive a response, but three to six weeks is a reasonable expectation.  During this second interview, you will spend time with an active duty Flight Attendant and a Company Recruiter. Come prepared with examples of when you have demonstrated being an outstanding Employee at your previous jobs, in a school environment, or times you have interacted with a group. The questions are in a format that begins, "Tell me about a time..." Relax and allow your personality to come through. If you do not get a second interview, or if you do not get hired, please understand that you can interview again in one year. We have many excellent Employees who were turned down the first time but came back and were chosen. A strong desire for the job is a plus and coming back demonstrates that desire. If you are not chosen IT DOES NOT MEAN WE DON'T LIKE YOU. It could merely mean on this given day when interviewed by a given group you were not deemed a JOB FIT. There may even be other jobs in the Company that you may want to consider and apply. I recently flew with an outstanding male Flight Attendant who moved to a city that was hiring and started out on the Ramp at an airport. He wanted to get his foot in the door and was willing to move and take whatever job was available. He enjoyed his job but his goal was to be a Flight Attendant and fly out of Dallas. It took him three years, but he did what it took to make it happen. Do you have a Warrior Spirit? Do you have a Servant's Heart? Do you have a Fun-loving Attitude? If you understand what these three things mean and want to join a team of dedicated Employees striving each day to keep Southwest Airlines successful for our Customers and Employees, please apply!