Can You Be A Flight Attendant At 18? Everything You Need To Know

Do you dream of jet-setting around the world as a flight attendant but aren’t sure if your age meets the requirements? If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Most major airlines require flight attendants to be at least 21 years old.

However, some regional carriers will hire flight attendants starting at 18 years old.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about becoming a flight attendant at 18, including an overview of major airline requirements, tips for getting hired young, perks and challenges of the job, training and pay info, as well as some alternative jobs to consider if you don’t meet the minimum age requirements.

Airline Requirements for Flight Attendants

Major Airlines Typically Require You to Be 21

When it comes to major airlines, such as Delta, American Airlines, and United, most of them have a minimum age requirement of 21 to become a flight attendant. This is because these airlines often operate long-haul flights and international routes, which may require a higher level of maturity and experience.

Additionally, the minimum age requirement is also in line with the legal drinking age in many countries, as flight attendants are often responsible for serving alcoholic beverages onboard.

For more information on the specific requirements of major airlines, you can visit their official websites:

Regional Carriers May Hire at 18

While major airlines may require flight attendants to be at least 21, regional carriers, such as Southwest Airlines and JetBlue, may have a lower minimum age requirement of 18. This is because regional carriers primarily operate shorter flights within a specific region, which may not have the same level of complexity as long-haul international flights.

If you are interested in pursuing a career as a flight attendant with a regional carrier, it is important to check their specific requirements and qualifications. You can visit their official websites for more information:

International Carriers Vary in Minimum Age

For international carriers, the minimum age requirement for flight attendants can vary. Some airlines may have a minimum age of 18, while others may require you to be 21 or even older. The variation in age requirements is often influenced by factors such as the airline’s operating policies, local labor laws, and the destinations they serve.

If you are considering applying to an international carrier, it is advisable to research their specific requirements and qualifications. You can visit their official websites for more information:

Remember, these requirements are subject to change, so it is always a good idea to double-check with the respective airlines for the most up-to-date information. Being a flight attendant can be an exciting and rewarding career, so make sure you meet the age requirements and qualifications before pursuing this path.

Tips for Getting Hired as a Flight Attendant at 18

Have Some College Education

While it is not a strict requirement to have a college degree to become a flight attendant, having some college education can greatly increase your chances of getting hired. Airlines often prefer candidates who have a higher level of education as it demonstrates your ability to learn and adapt to new situations.

Consider pursuing a degree in hospitality, tourism, or a related field to show your commitment to the industry.

Highlight Your Customer Service Skills

Customer service skills are essential for any flight attendant, regardless of age. As an 18-year-old applicant, it’s important to showcase your ability to provide exceptional customer service. Highlight any previous experiences you have in customer-facing roles, such as part-time jobs, volunteering, or extracurricular activities.

Emphasize your ability to handle difficult situations with grace, your problem-solving skills, and your friendly and approachable demeanor.

Consider Getting Certified in CPR and First Aid

Being certified in CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) and first aid is highly recommended for flight attendants, regardless of age. It demonstrates your ability to handle medical emergencies that may arise during flights.

Consider taking a CPR and first aid course and obtaining a valid certification. This will not only make you a more competitive candidate but also give you the confidence and skills needed to handle potential emergencies.

Apply to Airlines That Hire at 18

Not all airlines have a minimum age requirement of 21 for flight attendants. Some airlines do hire candidates as young as 18. Research airlines that have lower age requirements and focus your applications on those airlines.

Be sure to carefully review and meet all the other qualifications and requirements set forth by each airline before applying.

Be Flexible About Commuting

As an 18-year-old flight attendant, you may be required to commute to your base city for work. This means you may have to travel to and from your home to your base city for your assigned flights. Being flexible and willing to commute can be seen as a positive attribute by airlines.

It shows your dedication and willingness to go the extra mile for your job. Keep in mind that commuting may involve additional expenses and time commitments, so be prepared for that aspect of the job.

Benefits of Being a Flight Attendant

Travel Perks

One of the biggest advantages of being a flight attendant is the opportunity to travel the world. Flight attendants often enjoy discounted or free flights for themselves and their families, allowing them to explore new destinations and experience different cultures.

Whether it’s a weekend getaway or an extended vacation, flight attendants have the chance to visit exciting destinations that many people only dream of.

Flexible Schedule

Flight attendants enjoy a flexible work schedule that allows them to have a good work-life balance. Unlike many traditional 9-to-5 jobs, flight attendants have the opportunity to work different shifts and choose their own schedule.

This flexibility allows them to pursue personal interests, spend time with family and friends, and create a lifestyle that suits their needs. Whether it’s taking time off to attend a special event or adjusting their schedule to accommodate personal commitments, flight attendants have the freedom to manage their time effectively.

Career Advancement Opportunities

Becoming a flight attendant can be the start of an exciting career with numerous opportunities for growth and advancement. Many airlines offer training programs and development opportunities for flight attendants to enhance their skills and knowledge.

Flight attendants can progress to senior positions, such as purser or lead flight attendant, and even have the chance to move into management roles within the airline industry. The skills and experience gained as a flight attendant, such as customer service, problem-solving, and teamwork, are highly transferable and can open doors to various career paths.

According to a survey conducted by AirlineCareer.com, 78% of flight attendants agree that the travel perks are the most appealing aspect of their job, while 65% value the flexible work schedule. Additionally, the same survey found that 45% of flight attendants reported career advancement opportunities as a major benefit of their profession.

Challenges of the Job

Irregular Hours and Sleep Schedules

Being a flight attendant comes with irregular hours and unpredictable sleep schedules. Flight attendants often work long and unconventional hours, including weekends, holidays, and overnight shifts. This can make it challenging to maintain a consistent sleep pattern and can lead to fatigue and jet lag.

It requires a high level of flexibility and adaptability to handle these irregular schedules.

Dealing with Difficult Passengers

One of the challenges flight attendants face is dealing with difficult passengers. While most passengers are polite and cooperative, there are times when flight attendants encounter passengers who are rude, demanding, or disruptive.

Flight attendants are trained to handle such situations calmly and professionally, ensuring the safety and comfort of all passengers on board. It requires excellent communication and conflict resolution skills to handle these challenging passengers effectively.

Time Away from Home

Another challenge of being a flight attendant is the amount of time spent away from home. Flight attendants often have to travel for days or even weeks at a time, which can be difficult for individuals with families or those who value stability and routine.

Being away from loved ones and missing important events can take a toll on personal relationships. Flight attendants must have a strong support system and be willing to make sacrifices in terms of personal time and commitments.

Mandatory Retirement Age

Flight attendants have a mandatory retirement age, which varies by country and airline. This means that individuals who choose to pursue a career as a flight attendant need to be aware that there is a limited duration to their career.

The retirement age is in place to ensure the safety and well-being of both passengers and crew members. It is important for aspiring flight attendants to consider this factor when deciding on a long-term career path.

Flight Attendant Training and Pay Info

Aspiring flight attendants must undergo a rigorous training program before they can start their careers in the airline industry. Typically, this training lasts anywhere from 3 to 6 weeks and is designed to equip individuals with the necessary skills and knowledge to ensure the safety and comfort of passengers during flights.

During this intensive training, aspiring flight attendants learn about emergency procedures, first aid, customer service, and in-flight protocols. They also receive hands-on experience in simulated scenarios to prepare them for real-life situations that may arise while on duty.

3-6 Weeks of Intensive Training

Flight attendant training programs are comprehensive and cover a wide range of topics. Trainees learn about aircraft systems, evacuation procedures, and how to handle various emergency situations. They also receive training on providing excellent customer service, handling difficult passengers, and dealing with cultural differences.

Additionally, trainees are taught how to ensure the comfort and well-being of passengers throughout the flight, including serving meals and beverages, assisting with luggage, and addressing any special needs or requests.

Starting Pay Around $25,000 Per Year

While the starting pay for flight attendants may vary depending on the airline and location, it is typically around $25,000 per year. This figure includes the base salary as well as various allowances and benefits.

It’s important to note that the salary of a flight attendant can increase with experience and seniority. As flight attendants gain more years of service, they become eligible for pay raises and additional benefits.

Pay Increases with Seniority

As flight attendants gain more experience and accumulate seniority, they have the opportunity to earn higher salaries. In some airlines, flight attendants can earn additional income through international per diems, language proficiency bonuses, and other incentives.

Additionally, with promotions to higher positions such as lead flight attendant or purser, flight attendants can enjoy higher pay scales and more responsibilities.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for flight attendants was $56,000 in May 2020, with the highest 10 percent earning more than $80,000 per year. It’s important to note that these figures can vary depending on factors such as the airline, the flight attendant’s level of experience, and the location of the base.

For more information about flight attendant training programs and pay rates, you can visit websites such as Flight Attendant Career or Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Alternative Jobs to Consider at 18

Gate Agent

If you are interested in the aviation industry but are not yet eligible to become a flight attendant at 18, becoming a gate agent can be a great alternative. Gate agents play a crucial role in ensuring the smooth operation of flights by assisting passengers with check-in, boarding, and other necessary procedures.

They also handle any customer service issues that may arise at the gate.

Working as a gate agent provides a valuable opportunity to gain experience in the airline industry and interact with passengers from diverse backgrounds. It allows you to build your communication and problem-solving skills while working in a fast-paced environment.

Additionally, gate agents often enjoy the benefit of free or discounted flights, which is a great perk for those with a passion for travel.

Airport Customer Service Agent

An airport customer service agent is another excellent job option for individuals who are 18 years old and interested in the aviation field. These professionals work directly with passengers, providing assistance and ensuring their overall satisfaction throughout their travel experience.

As an airport customer service agent, you will have the chance to assist passengers with check-in, baggage handling, and other inquiries they may have. You will also play a crucial role in resolving any issues or concerns that arise during the travel process.

This position allows you to develop strong customer service skills, as well as a deep understanding of airport operations.

Airline Reservation Agent

If you have a knack for organizing and coordinating travel arrangements, working as an airline reservation agent might be an ideal job for you. As an airline reservation agent, you will be responsible for helping customers book flights, manage their itineraries, and address any concerns they have regarding their reservations.

This role requires excellent communication skills, attention to detail, and the ability to work efficiently under pressure. You will also need to have a good understanding of airline policies, fares, and schedules.

Working as an airline reservation agent can be a rewarding career choice for those who enjoy assisting others in planning their travel and ensuring a seamless booking process.

When considering these alternative jobs in the aviation industry, it is important to research the specific requirements and qualifications of each position. This will help you determine which role aligns best with your skills, interests, and future career goals.

Remember, starting your career in any of these positions can pave the way for future opportunities and advancement within the aviation industry.


Becoming a flight attendant at the young age of 18 is possible, but opportunities are limited mostly to regional airlines. If traveling the world as cabin crew is your ultimate career goal, you can get started in aviation at 18 through airport or reservation agent roles.

Within a few years, you’ll meet the minimum age requirements for most major airlines. With passion and perseverance, your dream of soaring the skies as a flight attendant can take flight even before age 21.

Similar Posts