Monday, August 31, 2009

Don't Let the Economy Discourage Your Flight Attendant Job Search

Escalating fuel prices and intense competition has forced several airlines to cease operations or file for bankruptcy in recent months. Analysts predict that some of the weakest airlines may soon follow suit.

With the surplus of experienced flight attendants now without a job, many of our members and ezine readers worry that they will be unable to compete for a position with these seasoned veterans.

Before you throw away your resume and head down to the nearest Home Depot for a job, consider some of the following facts.

The airline industry has an extremely cyclical nature. External forces such as fuel prices, the overall economy, terrorist threats and passenger load factors will affect each airline’s bottom line. During difficult economic times, airlines will attempt to curtail operations, especially on money-losing routes. This usually results in widespread layoffs across all employee groups. Weaker airlines with limited liquidity will be forced to close their doors.

With fewer airlines operating, there are fewer jobs available and therefore a high degree of competition for those remaining jobs. This is the environment we are in at the present time. Although many airlines have suspended their hiring programs, there are still many jobs available at airlines that continue to hire. AirlineCareer.com still tracks about 24 airlines currently hiring or at least accepting resumes.

Because there is a surplus of experienced flight attendants does not mean that you cannot land a flight attendant job. Some airline Human Resource Departments actually prefer to hire people with no experience. This allows them to train each individual in accordance with their own specific airline procedures. Some hiring departments have told us that they have had problems with former flight attendants who insist on doing things the way they used to in their previous airline.

The other point to keep in mind is that not all former flight attendants will be seeking another flight attendant job. Starting out at a new airline at the bottom of a seniority list is not something that everyone wants to do, especially if you have been a senior flight attendant with many years of service. It would mean working as a reserve flight attendant again, flying weekends and holidays and having very little control over your schedule. Those who have been temporarily furloughed will typically wait to be called back by their own airline when the economy improves or they will pursue a different career.

So the bottom line is this. If you are eager to become a flight attendant, don’t let the fact that we are in a downturn distract you from your goal. Competition will be increased due to recent layoffs and airline shutdowns, but the opportunities are still out there. If you have what it takes to become a flight attendant, go for it. And once you have landed your job, rest assured that the economic cycle will turn upward again soon. It always does.

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