The staff on an airplane can generally be divided into two groups: the flight crew and the cabin crew. The first are those who fly the plane, while the second group are those individuals who work in the passenger area, which is also known as the cabin. People who work in the cabin may be referred to as flight attendants, stewards or stewardesses, or air hosts or hostesses.
Many of the most common alternate terms for cabin staff members suggest femininity — "stewardess" is much more common than "steward," for example. This is because these positions have predominately been held by women. This does not, however, mean that these positions are reserved strictly for female staff.
Providing good customer service is an important part of a flight attendant’s job. The advent of electronic ticketing and check-in means that the crew may be the only members of an airline a consumer encounters. These individuals play a critical role in consumer perception and in ensuring that passengers have a pleasant traveling experience.
A passenger is usually greeted by a member of the cabin crew upon entering and exiting an airplane. This individual will usually direct the passengers to their seats and help ensure they leave the airplane safely. Once the airplane is in the air, flight attendants commonly serve food and beverages to the passengers. Long flights often involve them offering this type of service several times.
They commonly answer questions and offer reassurance to concerned passengers. If a passenger has a request, such as to change seats or get an extra blanket, a flight attendant will usually assist. They also complete duty free merchandise sales.
Some people falsely believe that the main responsibility of flight attendants is to provide comfort during flights. While this is part of the job, members of the cabin crew are trained and responsible for several other important tasks. These include ensuring the safety of passengers and assisting them in the event of emergencies.
Before an airplane takes off, it is the crew who bears the responsibility for ensuring that passengers are seated and properly secured in their seats. They must also make sure all luggage and other items are safely stored and passageways are clear. In many cases, they also inform the passengers of what should be done in the event of certain emergencies.
During the flight, cabin crew have the responsibility for maintaining order. If passengers violate safety standards or become unruly, the flight attendants are required to address the situation. They are usually trained to deal with a number of security and emergency situations, and it is commonly required for every member of the crew to know first aid.