Occupation of the flight attendant is usually associated with the young, looking like a model girl. Nothing could be further from the truth. Just fly several times with Lufthansa or Air France, to see that the average age of the crew is usually above 30 years. So what is the best age to start working in the clouds? Are there any preferences that guide the airlines?
Every airline has its own criteria for the candidate’s age, which are not always published. While the minimum age is usually determined by aviation law, the maximum age depends on the individual requirements of the company.
Europe: usually the minimum age is 18 years old at the time when you apply for a job. Below are examples of some of the requirements of companies:
Ryanair: minimum 18
WizzAir: minimum 18
Air Europa: 21-35
Iberia: 18-30 (candidates with no experience)
Swift Air: 18-32
EasyJet: minimum 18
Aer Lingus: 21-35
Swiss Airlines: 21-35
HiFly: minimum 18
Norwegian: minimum 18
Middle East: Minimum age is 21 years old when you become officially employed. This means that you can apply approx. 2 months before, usually airlines wait up to 6 months for candidate to reach the appropriate age. Examples of requirements:
Oman Air: 21-30
Saudia Airlines: 22-30
Flynas: minimum 21
Asian airlines have similar standards as Europe when it comes to minimum age. However, most of them employ candidates not exceeding 30 years of age. Examples:
Air Asia: 18-28
Cathay Pacific: minimum 18
Philipine Airlines: 18- 27
Korean Air: 18- 27
Private airlines: Here the situation is completely different and it is very hard to determine clearly the desired age of the candidate. Due to the fact that 99% of companies and private owners of aircraft requires a minimum of two years experience in aviation, age is not so much taken into account. CV and skills often count more than the birth date. However, each case is different. I personally met with a person who was employed at the age of 37.
Airlines typically prefer to hire young candidates for a simple reason – they will stay longer in the company. Cabin crew job unfortunately is not compatible with planning a private life. A bigger chance that younger candidates don`t dream yet about settling down and their career is more important for them. A few weeks of training are very expensive, so it is always better to keep the employee for several years.
The average age of the crew is also dictated by the attractiveness of work. Why Ryanair flight attendants usually do not exceed thirties and British Airways cabin crew is older? Because working in a low cost company is the least attractive, so logically after gaining some experience, the crew seek employment with national or other carriers. There emplyees often stay for years. Sometimes there are also cultural factors – in the Middle East or Asia, women who got married are more likely to quit their job than European and American women.
The best option is to start applying as early as possible because the market competition is high and it does not mean that you will get a job from the first time. Some companies, especially charters offer employment only for the summer season (eg. Enter Air and Small Planet in Poland), so you can gain some experience during studies.
How was in my case? I started flying about a month after I earned my master’s degree. Exactly at the night when I flew to Saudi Arabia I turned 25. Yet at the same age but a few months later I went to a private airline.
If you exceed slightly maximum age, it doesn`t mean that you can not try. Airlines often treat each case individually and sometimes change the internal regulations. It can be a good CV or a great experience, it may be the interview itself or one tiny detail that decides about positive result of the recruitment process. The most important is to try, if you are invited for the assessment day or an interview, it means that recruiters accepted your age, so half of the success is in your hands.