Flight Attendant Tūmau Waka Rererangi

Flight attendants make sure that passengers travelling in aeroplanes are safe and comfortable.

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Flight attendants may do some or all of the following:

  • look after passengers during flights
  • check emergency and safety equipment before each flight
  • prepare and check the catering, bar and cabin before each flight
  • greet passengers, help them stow their luggage and check that they are seated safely
  • demonstrate aircraft emergency procedures and safety features to passengers
  • serve and clear away food and drinks
  • use their knowledge of first aid to help sick passengers.

Physical Requirements

Depending on the airline, flight attendants may need to:

  • pass a lift and reach test, which usually requires flight attendants to be between 160 and 185 centimetres tall, and able to lift heavy bags and emergency equipment
  • pass a medical exam
  • be able to swim 50 metres under 2 minutes unaided
  • have a certain standard of eyesight to carry out emergency procedures without glasses.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for flight attendants includes:

  • customer service
  • nursing
  • teaching
  • nannying
  • tourism or hospitality work
  • work in a travel agency
  • work that involves speaking another language.

Personal Qualities

Flight attendants need to be:

  • customer-focused and friendly
  • good communicators
  • able to relate to people from a range of cultures and backgrounds
  • responsible and professional
  • resilient and calm in stressful situations
  • able to work well in a team
  • organised, resourceful and alert.


Flight attendants need to have:

  • knowledge of flight and emergency procedures
  • ability to operate emergency equipment, such as defibrillators
  • hospitality skills for serving food and drinks
  • strong customer service skills
  • first aid and medical skills
  • ability to assist people with special needs, such as young children or people with disabilities.


Flight attendants:

  • do shift work, including evenings, weekends and public holidays. International flight attendants may be rostered up to 18 hours a shift, and may spend many days away from home depending on where they are flying
  • work at altitude, often in cramped conditions
  • may work in conditions that are uncomfortable or dangerous, and may have to deal with stressful or difficult situations such as turbulence
  • travel locally or internationally.

Flight Attendants can earn around $47K-$48K per year.

Pay for flight attendants varies depending on whether they work on domestic, trans-Tasman or international flights.

  • Flight attendants usually earn between minimum wage and $48,000 a year.
  • Inflight service managers can earn up to $60,000.

Flight attendants also get meal, accommodation, uniform and grooming allowances. Allowances are usually between $7,000 and $12,000 a year.

Source: Air New Zealand, 2021.

Flight attendants usually progress from working on domestic flights to working on international flights, or into senior roles such as lead flight attendant or purser. 

They may also choose to transfer to ground-based jobs such as check-in agent, or customer service roles.

Years Of Training

<1 year of training required.

There are no specific requirements to become a flight attendant. However, a New Zealand Certificate in Aviation (Flight Attendants) Level 4 may be useful.

Once accepted for work on an airline, trainee flight attendants usually attend a training course and complete assessments before starting work. Each airline has its own training programme that helps flight attendants maintain and develop their skills and knowledge.

Flight Attendant