Are you wondering if you can be a Flight Attendant with a felony or previous criminal conviction such as DUI or a criminal record?
Does every airline do a Flight Attendant background check – what will it include, how many years does it go back, and will things from your past such as a DUI (drink driving) or even a bad credit score affect your changes of getting a job as a Flight Attendant or disqualify you?
Read on for all you need to know about Airline Background Checks and what to do if you are concerned about a mistake from your past hindering your chances of becoming a Flight Attendant.
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Airline Background Check:
To become a Flight Attendant you will have to pass two sets of background checks: background checks for the airline, as well as background checks for the Aviation Authority the country operates under. For example, in the USA this is the FAA – Federal Aviation Administration, in the UK it is the CAA – Civil Aviation Authority.
The background check for the airline is similar to the background check any employer would do commencing the employment of a new member of staff. The background checks are specific to each company and airline, but generally go along the lines of checking previous criminal convictions – doing a Criminal Records Check to check for previous arrests/convictions/warnings, as well as doing a Drugs Test, and often a Credit Score Check is done.
It is in the airlines’ benefit to do a Criminal Records Check, as well as a Drug Test and Credit Score Check on their potential new employees, as airlines have to ensure they maintain a good reputation. Airlines want to keep the standards of their staff members high to minimise the risk of them getting into trouble, which could bring negative attention to the airline and therefore impact the reputation of the airline.
Aviation Authority Background Check: (FAA / CAA etc)
Aviation Authorities ensure that all Flight Attendants are certified to work as Flight Attendants.
If you don’t pass the Aviation Authority background check, then your licence won’t be renewed and you aren’t able to work as a Flight Attendant.
Certain previous convictions such as crimes involving an aircraft or any violent crime, felony or time spent in jail would prevent you from being able to work as a Flight Attendant.
Because you need to pass the Aviation Authority background check to become a Flight Attendant, the airline will generally tend to include the same checks into their airline checks prior to commencing employment. This is to avoid a situation of someone completing all the Flight Attendant training and then being unable to operate as a Flight Attendant as they haven’t passed the Aviation Authority Background Checks due to something in their past that cannot be changed.
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Pre-Employment Drug Test
A drug test will be undertaken prior to commencing the Flight Attendant training. In addition, throughout the course of their flying career Flight Attendants will be subject to random drug and alcohol tests. Positive results often lead to instant termination.
Working as a Flight Attendant involves having the responsibility of looking after the safety of many people. Being under the influence of drugs or alcohol – even just having a tiny amount in your body, can seriously impair your decision making skills and your ability to perform the safety procedures required.
The Aviation Authorities are responsible for the regulation of aviation safety, so they take this very seriously and there isn’t leeway.
Note that some drugs take significantly longer to leave the body than alcohol. Marijuana for example can stay on your hair for up to 3 months after you have smoked it, so please be mindful that this is something you won’t be able to do once you start flying.
Flight Attendant Background Check
The Flight Attendant background checks often go back 10 years. It is best to disclose anything in the past 10 years that may cause you a problem. It’s always better to disclose anything you are worried about, as opposed to saying nothing and then it coming back when the background check is done, as a failure to mention something or to lie about it could cause you to actually lose the job.
It is much better to be honest, cooperate and to give as much information as possible if asked about any incident.
Checking Previous Criminal Convictions:
Can You Be A Flight Attendant With A Felony?
Felonies are the most serious crimes you can commit. They carry long prison sentences in jail and big fines. Typically any jail sentence longer than a year is classed as a felony.
If you have ever been convicted of a felony then you will not be able to become a Flight Attendant. Both the airline and the Aviation Authority would not let you pass the background checks to become a Flight Attendant.
Can You Be A Flight Attendant With A Misdemeanor?
A misdemeanor is less serious than a felony (both are American terms and so different words are used in countries such as the UK).
A misdemeanor involves a much shorter time in jail (less than a year), temporary punishments and smaller fines.
If you have a misdemeanor you may or may not get hired as a Flight Attendant – it will depend on the airline’s policy as well as the nature of the offence. In some airlines, if you have any conviction it will automatically exclude you from being hired. However, other airlines may be more lenient depending on your individual case, such as what the misdemeanor was for, how long ago it happened and other factors.
If you have been convicted of a misdemeanour in the last 10 years – even if you never went to jail, you must declare it in the Criminal Records Check. Whether you declare it or not, your misdemeanor will appear on your Criminal Record.
So if you don’t declare it you just look dishonest and they definitely won’t hire you. But if you mention it – give as much information as possible, and note that it was a silly mistake that won’t happen again, you may be able to still get hired. It really depends on your case. Just don’t try and hide it as they will find out.
Can You Be A Flight Attendant With An Infraction?
Infractions are less serious than misdemeanors and are generally the least serious type of crime. They generally involve a violation of the law, but generally no jail time will be served and it won’t appear on a Criminal Record. Usually the punishment will just involve paying a fine. Traffic tickets and other petty offences such as littering are examples of an infraction.
You won’t need to declare these on your Flight Attendant background checks as there is no record of them on your Criminal Record.
Can You Be A Flight Attendant With A DUI?
If you have a DUI (drink driving) on your record, then depending on the policy the individual airline has, will depend if this could be a problem for you. Depending on how long ago the offence happened, how over the limit you were and other details, some airlines may not let this disqualify you becoming a Flight Attendant.
If you have a DUI on your licence, definitely don’t let it stop you from applying. I would though definitely disclose any drink driving convictions you have. Then it’s up to the airline to make a choice if they want to employ you.
Can I Still Become A Flight Attendant With A Bad Credit Score?
Many background checks include credit checks as standard nowadays. However, having a bad credit score alone shouldn’t automatically disqualify you from becoming a Flight Attendant – although airlines will differ on their policies.
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Why if I Fail the Flight Attendant Background Check?
Sometimes people will fail the background checks. Don’t worry – it doesn’t automatically mean you will be disqualified from becoming a Flight Attendant. Each case will be assessed individually on a case by case system, so it really depends on the seriousness of your case, as well as your circumstances if you are able to appeal the case, or provide more information, or if the airline is a bit more lenient.
Summary of Airline Background Checks:
There are many things that airlines look at when they are completing your background checks. Being a Flight Attendant is an important job that carries a lot of responsibility looking after the safety of all the passengers on the plane. For this reason Aviation Authorities and airlines do look seriously into your past when doing background checks.
It’s always just best to be honest and disclose any information that you think could be an issue for you. Be open and forthcoming to give information about your history – it’s then up to the airlines to make a fair decision. Withholding information could make you lose the job instantly, but willingly providing information on your past can mean you are still given a chance to become a Flight Attendant, providing you don’t have a felony.
You just never know if the airline will accept you or not, so I say it’s always best to give it a go. If you never go for it you’ll never know! Even if you aren’t successful, you’ll know you’ll have given your best!