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We have helped thousands of applicants over the past 20 years to succeed.
You can be next when airlines resume hiring. Read the following carefully.
Corona-virus is still with us and kills people with a vengeance.
A new strain is out.
It may be still with us for a long time.
It has influenced our lives, including the outcome of our Presidential elections.
Things will get much worse before they get better.
You are still alive! And the fact that you have logged on this website means that you still have your dream deep inside your heart.
WE'LL MEET AGAIN.
WE'LL LOOK DIFFERENT.
WE'LL HAVE TO DO THINGS DIFFERENTLY.
BUT WE'LL SURVIVE.
We wish it especially to those mothers who
work in the airlines today to help everyone else
to show their love.
One of Flight Attendants' tasks often is
a surrogate parent
ARE HAPPY DAYS HERE AGAIN?
When I started writing this article, I was hoping to say “Welcome back to Midnight Flight!” and present a real upbeat look at the next few months, Memorial Day and then the big holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas. After all, the airline execs and even some medical professionals were sure that the worst was behind us as far as Covid-19 is concerned. Despite vaccination attempts around the world, the virus still gets around. Last week I was floored by news that prompted me to divide this “Welcome” briefing into two parts. The first part is the optimistic outlook, which was taking roots in some western countries recently. The second part will bring us right back to earth and will force everyone who still plans to become a flight attendant or a pilot to reconsider… and reconsider again.
The original, “optimistic” part written a few weeks ago:
You came here just at the right time. Roll up your sleeves and get ready for the big hiring spree that is not that far off – and I will touch on that further below. After almost a year and a half, we seem to begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Just five months ago a little more than 50% of world’s airliners were parked around the world and we weren’t sure if they’ll ever take to the skies again. Last month it was a bit less than one third of world’s fleet still stuck in the small airports, deserts, or relegated to aviation junk yards. That is,
by any measure, a significant improvement. Most encouraging is the fact that new airlines started popping up, and all are organized by people with previous airline experience.
David Neeleman is well-known as the founder of jetBlue Airways. Prior to that, he ran Morris Air, a low-cost airline that became so prominent that Southwest bought it, instead of worrying about competition. Mr. Neeleman became one of Southwest’s executives, but not for long. He was let go by the airline after a few months. Next he started jetBlue, a small cheap airline that grew very fast; so fast that he was ousted from there. After jetBlue, Mr. Neeleman went to Canada and helped to get Westjet off the ground. Westjet is doing still well, thank you. Neeleman went after that to Brazil, where he was born, and started a low-cost airline called Azul, and that one is doing well, too. Now Neeleman returned to Utah (he is a Mormon) where he hopes to start very soon a low cost carrier named Breeze, based in Utah, possibly in Salt Lake City.
Andrew Levy, an ex-United executive, organized a starter called Avelo, which will be based is Houston, Tx. He is not building it from the ground up; it’s a redress of a charter airline called Xtra Airlines, originally based in Boise, Id. He felt it was a good time to start an airline because Americans are sick of staying at home, and additional airplanes, whether for sale or lease, are dirt-cheap. Remembering how David Neeleman started jetBlue with just three Airbus jets, he is also starting with three – B737-800s.
Even public trust is getting stronger with the airlines. Frontier issued its initial public offering (IPO on a stock exchange) and raised $570 million. Sun Country Airlines, little known on the West Coast but well known to mid-western sun-seekers, did the same and raised $250 million. It also made a deal with Amazon to fly its cargo.
That things were getting back in the groove became evident this month. After U.K.-based Ryan Air placed an order for 75 Boeing 737-MAX, Southwest Airlines, which was seriously considering going to Airbus for its next big purchase, announced it was ordering 100 B737Maxs, with options on a couple of hundred more. Those planes will be partly replacing older B737s, and partly are an expansion of existing fleet.
Major airlines such as United, American and Delta sensed that business travel – the bread and butter of all airlines in normal times – may not come back any time soon. About 30-40% may never come back. All data show that business travelers tend to avoid airlines, but favor now smaller, business aviation companies, if they really have to fly. Otherwise most executives got used to conducting business via Internet.
And so they turned their sights on domestic leisure travel, because it is the middle class, frustrated people, who are aching to get out, if only for a short vacation. Those 1.5 million travelers that flew on Easter Sunday, however, are just about 40% of what we were used to see at any other Easter. But U.S. airlines are beginning to expand their route networks, and not just on domestic routes. Business travel, according to Delta, is still at about 20% of pre-pandemic level.
American, sensing that India may become a close business ally of the U.S., is planning to add a couple of routes to India, and United with Delta are returning to several destinations abroad, while adding a few new ones as well. Recent change of political winds in Czech Republic and Poland, where the governments are turning away from Putin’s Russia and hope to get closer to other NATO nations, will most certainly see an increase in international business, with air traffic to follow.
To many lay people it may be surprising that Boeing’s B737MAX is seeing such a renaissance, after being condemned by all aviation bodies around the world. The answer is simple: after being checked and double-checked, all bugs are likely out. Pilots will have to train on simulators. These two factors will make flights on this aircraft possibly the safest.
There are other more subtle indicators that things are getting better. American and United, and many of the smaller or low-cost airlines have been cavalier about social distancing. Delta made a splash in the news by announcing several months ago that it would block off middle seats to give people a bit more social distance than other airlines offered. It certainly was a nice selling pitch, especially since planes were almost always less that 45% full.
On March 30 (and it was not an early April’s Fool joke) Delta announced it would fill all seats, including the middle ones, according to demand. Delta tentatively used May 1 when all seats would be available for sale. The buck is always the king and it was no secret in the industry that Delta has been posting higher losses than airlines that did away with blocking the seats, while being more expensive to fly on (higher fares).
The objective fact is that it has been proven that cough droplets travel as far as 12 feet, so 6 feet – the mainstay propaganda of preventive medicine - is just as inadequate as 3 feet, and if someone with Covid-19 coughs or sneezes at you from a distance of less than 12 feet, you as a passenger or flight attendant, will inhale the bug. No matter how much airlines re-assure passengers that aircraft air filtration and circulation will take care of most of the bugs, if you catch the virus, it will be a tragedy for your entire family.
We do not know yet if all vaccinated people will actually be unable to propagate the virus – only time will tell. The biggest hookers in the pack are the new varieties that are popping up. It will take time for the health care workers to determine how effective and for how long current vaccinations will be.
As for myself, I am over-cautious. I have been vaccinated with both Pfizer shots, yet, when I walk my dog in L.A. or go shopping in the High Desert, I still wear the mask and keep the distance. It’s no skin off my nose, and it may help others. At my age I do not worry about dying; on the contrary, as a critical nurse of 22 years before I became a flight attendant, I view death as a friend in need.
OK, you may wonder, why is Tom telling me all this?
I am bringing it up because the factors I mentioned above will influence which way the airlines will go from here on.
If you followed the news, or if you at least logged onto this website, you remember that thousands of airline employees took voluntary leave of absence, and thousands were furloughed. Some of those people were new hires, who are now invited back to their respective airlines. Many will say “no thanks” to the emotional roller coaster where one day the company makes billions hand over fist, and the next day they are near bankruptcy. As quickly as airlines now hope to expand, that means there will be many jobs left vacant and airlines will have to find new people “to fill the hole.” And that’s when the opportunity is beckoning to you – whether you’d like to work on the ground or as a flight attendant (or, as a friend of mine, an American Airlines captain, pointed out to me: “That goes for all airline employees, including the pilots”).
So, what it means to you?
I am hoping that you are one of those whose heart is really in it, and want to become a flight attendant. If you are kind of ambivalent, then just stick to your current job (or unemployment), and forget about flying. But if you really want it more than anything else, now is the time to get ready. I mean get ready which means having the following and be ready to get it on the internet at the drop of the hat. You need:
•To have a clear idea what airline you wish to work for (i.e. major airline vs. a commuter/feeder airline) •Your resume going back at least 10 years •Your list of residencies in the last 10 years •At least 2 references (especially if you had periods of unemployment) •Be ready for all interviews (there may be as many as 3, or even 4 interviews) •Be financially ready, because it is unlikely that airlines will be paying much for your training time (if anything) •If you are in a relationship, make sure your partner is ready for this huge change •And last but not least •Be ready for another calamity like we had with Covid-19, and be mentally and financially ready for a lay-off.
I hope you are getting this very clearly: nothing is as constant as change. Sometimes you may be taking a calculated risk, and sometimes it may backfire. But I can tell you that no matter what, you’ll never regret getting at least a taste of what this great profession is like.
This is where I intended to end the essay, but recent event proved me to be too much in a hurry. Read on:
Less Optimistic View
His is where the original “Welcome” ended. My computer was not even turned off when news popped up that put the above writ into a different perspective. If you got all pumped up and hopeful that hiring is near, cool your jets – but get ready anyway. Keep in mind the old saying: “A pessimist is an optimist with life experience.”
This country has been very fortunate to have the means to vaccinate most people who ask for it. Temporary relief gave some people a false sense of security and enforced in some the “it’s not going to happen to me” attitude. Complacency visibly sat in, and yet half through April there were up to 75,000 new daily cases nationwide, with an average of 2,500 fatalities. That can hardly earn the “under control” label.
Some airlines have agreed that having the “vaccination passport” would help, but there were at least two arguments against it. One, not all people who would like to fly wanted to get vaccinated (including some airline employees), and two, it would give a rise to a new industry – counterfeit “vaccination passports.”
Some airlines have stuck by their agreement with the U.S. government and lived in overtime from the government support, keeping everyone on the payroll (unless people took voluntary leave of absence). Southwest and American have benefited from it in a big way and have invited all furloughed people back. From past experience airlines know that not everyone will come back.
Two announcements from Boeing also may have changed people’s mind. One was when a United B777 lost an engine after take-off from Denver and dropped parts of cowling (the engine metal sheet covering) in the neighborhood. What was more bothersome about this incident was the fact that even after the pilots shut off the fuel line to the damaged engine, the fire did not go out. Fortunately for everyone, the plane made it back to Denver. But imagine if the same thing happened two hours from the West Coast (the plane was destined for Hawaii). The folks on the plane might not be as lucky. Even if there were no injuries, the incident was a black eye for Boeing. Boeing was just recovering from the ”MAX Affair.”
As if that was not enough, the MAX, indeed, hit the headlines again when a simple structural adjustment like drilling a hole short-circuited several systems, the de-icing system among them. No one would have known had it not been for the fact that the test pilots simply could not start the jet at the Boeing facility in Washington state, when they wanted to take it for a test flight. Nine airplanes were taken out of use to straighten up the problem.
If you think you have heard enough about Boeing’s attention (or lack of) to detail, look for an airline that flies Airbuses. Airbus has flown quite well even during the pandemic. It made a profit during the first quarter of this year with net income about $438 million and delivered 125 commercial planes, mainly the A320 variety. There is practically no demand for the jumbos or super-jumbos at this time. Those are mainly the issues that airline executives and manufacturers need to contend with.
The piece of news that floored me came from Wall Street Journal on April 26. The headline read: “DOZENS OFCORONAVIRUS CASES LINKED TO ONE FLIGHT.” That, of course, is today the worst nightmare to anyone, next to a crash.
Flight UK6395 operated by Vistara Airlines, a subsidiary of Tata SIA Airlines Ltd., from New Delhi, India, to Hong Kong, China, was full to 85% capacity. Vistara’s personnel swore they have done everything possible to screen the passengers, yet after all passengers had to enter compulsory 3-week Hong Kong quarantine on arrival, 52 have tested positive for Covid-19 in the next few days. One infected passenger who was infected (along with her husband and two kids) said in an interview all her family wore masks, but social distancing was impossible. There were a lot of people coughing on that flight, she said.
Health officials also said it was possible not just that infected people got on board, but some passengers may have contracted the virus at the airport unsanitary restrooms and baby-changing stations before the flight, and some people may have caught the virus while quarantined. This took place (end of April) at a time when India recorded officially 332,000 new daily cases and less than 5% of Indian population was vaccinated with at least one shot of any Covid-19 vaccine. It prompted Hong Kong to put India on “no travel list.”
This incident also prompted the U.S. Transportation Safety Administration, after consulting with the Center for Disease Control, to extend the mask-wearing mandate till at least September 13 across this country.
Before you say that catching the bug is a chance one in a million, think again. A third of people on this flight ended up with the infection. It could happen anywhere and anytime as long as there is one infected person on board, or – at least theoretically – the plane was not sufficiently disinfected after the previous flight.
If, after this pro-and-con summary you are still interested in getting an airline job, then it is time to get ready. Several airlines are hoping to increase capacity substantially, and they cannot do it if they don’t have the flight attendants and pilots. I have a feeling that after Flight UK6395 the top management at American Airlines may think twice about increasing flights to India. But even if after seasonal flight to vacation spots in U.S. will dry up after Labor Day, and not all business travelers come back, airlines will find a way how to skin the flying public and make profit once again.
So, apart from the stuff I mentioned earlier in this article (see the bullets above, if you had missed them), get ready and brush up on everything so you can not just ace the interview(s), but also succeed in training.
In my books I discussed some of the things that deserve your attention because they might improve your “value” to the computer software that evaluates your resume first, before it even gets to a live person. A well prepared resume with all the right “key words” will also appeal to interviewers, recruiters and all those who review it. Keep in mind that a resume with typos is a turn off and rarely opens the door for you. Read it, re-read it and ask other people to proof-read it before you submit it. You may also opt to have it prepared professionally. That is perhaps the first most important step, getting invited for an interview.
Keep in mind that your worst enemy may be – YOU. Chances are that you have some presence on the “social” platforms like Facebook. Go through the contents of your profile, your e-mailing, conversations and photos and all those things that can be accessed by other members. They can make you, and they can break you, so “clean-up” the stuff that might be damaging. Put in your social media stuff that shows your interest in the position as a flight attendant. And remember that it is not just the content of these sites, but your user names will also tell a lot about you. My book “Flight Attendant Career,” 5th Edition, has an entire chapter on all those things.
It’s now a wide spread practice to conduct initial intake interviews by video-conferencing, but it still does not mean that you’ll deal with a live person. Everything is computerized these days, and so you need to be ready. You need to have a pleasant background for it – if you have a bookshelf full of books, that might do as long as they are the “right” books (i.e. aviation, history, arts). Display of trophies in the background – if you have any – also won’t hurt. And if you don’t have any of the “eye-catchers” in your home, then use a neutral-type curtain as the background. The main thing is that the background is clean and not cluttered.
When the time for the video interview comes, treat it as if you talked to a live person in front of you. Speak slowly, distinctly and go straight to the point. You will not have more than 3 minutes per question, so use your time as best as you can. If you’d like to get ready for these questions, I collected 295 of them and put good answers to them. They are all in the book “295 Real Flight Attendant Interview Questions with Answers That Work.” These books can be ordered directly from me or from any bookstore. You can prepare for all interviews like no one else can, but you must not sound “rehearsed” during the interview.
If you are a person of color, do not bring up the question of race and NEVER play the "race card," which is so popular today. A flight attendant is everything to everybody regardless of race. Contrary to what some activists claim, keep always in mind that ALL lives matter. And while Mr. Sebastian, CEO, of Delta has made a fool of himself on account of racism, airlines are still very conventional companies.
Last point at this time: be sure that you smile when appropriate. Some people think that being serious underscores your professionalism. Well, not quite. Remember all those oversized photos of models who do not smile? They are not as engaging as those where the model smiles. Don’t be afraid to be likeable.
Don’t take this as a sales pitch (though it sounds like one), but roll up your sleeves and work with our materials, as they are by far the best you’ll find to prepare for this great career and interviews that lead to it. I’ll be happy to help you when you run out of ideas or have problems, and as I say, with my experience and you enthusiasm, you can’t fail.
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FLAUNT IT IF YOU GOT IT.
Even if the competition is tough – as it always is in aviation jobs – you can find ways how to stand out and outshine your competition. That goes for your resume, your interviews (including your on-line interviews) or in any personal encounter.
We have seen some ups and downs in hiring, but the most recent uptick in job openings show, that we may be up to the “real” thing very soon. And again, as I said earlier, you need to be ready for the rush when openings are up. Having a glowing resume ready is a must.
The primary and key thing is still your resume. You need to stress your skills and accomplishments in your previous job(s), while using the key words that you can find in the flight attendant job description. That’s not so hard to accomplish if you take a little time at your computer and read the job description on the airline’s website. As I have said in my publications, your resume is your calling card, it is the document that should stimulate the recruiter’s interest and put your foot in the airline’s door.
The sad fact is that first it has to “stimulate” the interest of the computer that scans your resume. That’s why key words are so important. They “feed” the computer. It is only after the computer flags your resume as worthy to be looked at that a live person will give it the proverbial 5-10 seconds and will look at it. But don’t cram your resume with clichés or phrases – it may work agaist you. It goes then to the recruiters.
You need to realize that recruiters are only people, who more often than not have only a high school diploma under their belt. While some honestly look for hiring a high quality individual, others are worried that the new hire might be after their job and see the person as a potential threat. That’s simply the human nature. Your goal is to get it to the hiring managers, if your prospective airline has them. And that’s what counts.
So, aside from using key words, you need to go straight to the point and show your worth. The hiring managers (or heir equivalent) will not spend more than 5 minutes on your resume if they are really interested. And then it ends up in the proverbial “File 19” or you may get an invitation to a video interview. Because it is a significant step, it is something you should look at very seriously and I discuss this in both of my books.
It is also important to realize that the clock starts ticking not when you find out that an airline is hiring, but when the vacancy is posted. Typically, airlines post vacancies with a “window” and the further you get down the window, the longer it takes to get your interview. You have to realize that the interviewing process (usually on-line) begins almost immediately and there might be internal candidates (like myself years ago) who might get the first shot at the position. That means that applications that come at the end of the widow may be handicapped.
Many times it has happened that the invitation to apply has a very short window (just a few hours) and then it is closed. At times it may close also when a pre-determined quota by the airline is reached. Never procrastinate.