What is a Cabin Crew?

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  • Written By: Felicia Dye
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 02 June 2019
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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.


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Post 3

When I was younger I dreamed of a cabin crew career. In those days it was mostly young, glamorous women in the TV ads. My family used to laugh and call be a "would be trolley dolly", despite my arguments that they did a lot more than serve drinks all through the flight.

I never did get to do that job but I'm glad to see that these days flight attendants get more recognition for their work. It's also refreshing to see that cabin crew recruitment agents are open to older applicants too.

Post 2

@rugbygirl - You're not wrong that it's a tough job, but it has perks. My mom has a cabin crew job and it's a real boon for the family. It's not bad money for her--I think she makes around twenty an hour of flight time--and the whole family gets to fly for free! She has full medical benefits and whatnot and we also get really good discounts on car rentals and hotels and stuff.

And she likes working with people. You know, the vast majority of people are perfectly pleasant and have no desire to make trouble. Of course, it's that small minority that make for an entertaining discussion over a glass of wine...

Post 1

From the perspective of the passenger, keep in mind that once you board the plane, you are required to follow the instructions of the air cabin crew. When they tell you to do something, it's not a suggestion! Get drunk and disobey and you wind up in the newspaper in an article headlined "Unruly passenger causes landing in Bangor" or something like that.

Fortunately, most of them deal really well with what sounds like an awful job! Every once in a while, though, you hear about a flight attendant abusing his or her authority. I remember one instance with a flight attendant who told a nursing mom to cover up and another who told a mom to give her baby Benadryl to make it sleep! But there are probably fifty or a hundred awful passenger incidents for every bad flight attendant.

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