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Height Requirements For Flight Attendants – Need To Know Info!

Why are there height requirements for Flight Attendants? Does an Air Hostess really need to be a certain height and why? Let’s find out more!

Why Are There Flight Attendant Height Requirements?

A common question for aspiring Flight Attendants is regarding the height requirements set by airlines. Many people who wish to become Cabin Crew think they don’t meet the height requirements to be an Air Hostess/Air Stewardess – some think they are too tall, but mostly many people think they are too short.

Height requirements are set by airlines for Flight Attendants not to be discriminatory, but for safety reasons. It is a safety requirement for Cabin Crew to be able to reach the overhead stowage compartments unaided. Not because they need to help passengers with their luggage, but because of a much more important reason: because of safety. Lots of the safety equipment is kept in the overhead stowage bins.

Remember the role of the Flight Attendant is firstly to look after your safety, so it is crucial they can reach emergency equipment such as oxygen bottles, fire gloves, fire extinguishers, Emergency Medical Kits, Defibrilators and PPE in an emergency.

Plus if there is a fire in an overhead stowage compartment, the Flight Attendant needs to be tall enough to be able to put the fire out with a fire extinguisher. Due to these safety reasons, airlines are usually quite strict about minimum height requirements for Flight Attendants as Flight Attendants need to be able to fulfil any of their required tasks.

What Is The Minimum Height Required For An Air Hostess?

There aren’t really universal height requirements for Flight Attendants as the height of the overhead stowage compartment varies amongst different aircrafts (for example in narrow body airplanes the overhead stowage stowage compartments are a lot lower than in wide body aircrafts). The height requirements for Flight Attendants varies across different airlines, but an average minimum height is around 157cm (5’2″) without shoes.

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What If I Don’t Meet The Minimum Height Requirements To Be A Flight Attendant?

As mentioned above, airlines are usually quite strict in terms of passing the height test as it is to do with safety. At many Flight Attendant Assessment Days, the height test is the first thing that will be assessed, and if you don’t reach the minimum height you will often be sent home straight away, sometimes even before you have had a chance to drop off your Cabin Crew CV.

However, some airlines are more flexible and if you are a couple of centimetres short they may let you off, depending how the recruiters are feeling that day. This is especially true if you have a quality that the airline is specifically looking for with that recruitment.

For example you are a language speaker of a language they really require and there aren’t many other candidates who fulfil the requirement. If you stand out for a good reason, or they just need to hire a lot of crew at that time, they may give you some leeway if your height is a bit less than what is required.

Some airlines base more emphasis on your arm reach than your height, so they may give you some leeway if you are technically a tiny bit shorter than their minimum height requirements but you meet the arm reach requirements.

Do All Airlines Do A Height Test For Flight Attendants?

You might be happy to know that in some airlines they don’t even do a height test but just a reach test instead! If you are short this can definitely be something to be aware of when looking which airlines to apply to.

Take Hawaiian Airlines for example. They don’t do a height test, they just ask for the Flight Attendants to have a vertical reach of 82 inches (208 cm). Vertical reach means the crew needs to stand with both feet barefoot on the ground. Raise their dominant arm – the fist needs to be that height above the ground.

And Alaska Air just asks for their Flight Attendants to have a vertical reach of just 80 vertical inches!

In Southwest Airlines, they do not have a height requirement or reach test requirement for Flight Attendants! They only require that Flight Attendants are able to perform their normal job functions in accordance with safety standards. 

If you are a bit smaller, it’s definitely worth it to compare airlines before you apply!

Flight Attendant Arm Reach Test

Some airlines also do an arm reach test in addition to the height test. Some airlines just do an arm reach test.

For the arm reach test, an average reach of 212cm (6’9″) is required.

In the arm reach test, you will also be barefoot and will need to reach up to a certain height marker (usually a sticker) on the wall with either of your arms. Most airlines ask for just 1 arm, but some airlines may ask for both arms at the same time to reach the marker.

You can reach it barefoot, but you aren’t allowed to jump – you must be able to reach whilst part of both of your feet are on the ground (you can go on your tiptoes if needed). Your palm needs to be flat against the wall and the tips of your fingers need to reach above the marker. You are allowed to take off your jacket/blazer as this can sometimes restrict the height you can reach, so I definitely recommend doing this.

Etihad Airways has a minimum height of 165cm (5’4″) – they will measure your height without shoes at the Etihad Open Day/Assessment Day. You will also need an arm reach of 212cm whilst standing on tiptoes – again they will measure this to ensure you meet their requirements to become a Flight Attendant.

What if you think you’re too short to be a Flight Attendant?

If you think you’re too short for the height requirements set for Flight Attendants, don’t write off the career of being a Flight Attendant completely. I have one friend who was a couple of centimetres shorter than the minimum height requirements. In the weeks coming up to her Assessment Day, she put a mark on her bedroom wall at 212cm above the ground (the height that the specific airline was asking for in the reach test) and every day she would try her best to reach it.

When she started she was a few centimetres off reaching it, but within a few weeks she was able to reach it, so you can always try this technique to practice stretching your arm reach. I would recommend always practicing with the same arm as the airlines generally don’t mind which arm you use. You can also do other arm stretches to help you reach higher. In fact many Flight Attendants said doing lots of stretching helped them to reach higher so definitely think about it!

If you are a tiny bit shorter than the height requirements for the specific airline you are applying for, I would recommend to apply anyway, practice the reach test and stretching, and hope for the best. Some airlines are a lot more flexible with the height requirements so long as you pass the arm reach test. If flying is something you really want to get into, I would say go to an Assessment Day and just give it a go – you never know what could happen! Imagine if my friend had just given up and never attended the Open Day – she would have never landed her dream job!

Is There A Maximum Height To Be A Flight Attendant?

In terms of wondering whether you are too tall to be a Flight Attendant, the airlines will again have their own specifications and requirements depending on the aircraft they use. For example, taller Flight Attendants may be too tall to work on certain smaller narrow body aircrafts (more common in short-haul flights and low cost airlines), but they may be fine to work on wide body aircrafts (more common for International flights) at the ceiling is higher.

Height requirements would ensure a Flight Attendant can comfortably stand up in the aircraft, doesn’t need to crouch, and they aren’t higher than the ceiling height. You’ll find that most Flight Attendants are under 6’3″ (190cm) to work comfortably in the aircraft.

As a general rule, airlines accept applicants who are at a height of between 5’3″ and 6’2″ although this does vary between airlines so always check with the specific airline you want to apply for.

Airlines That Accept Smaller Flight Attendants:

Some US domestic carriers in particular can accept applicants who are smaller than the average height that is asked of International Flight Attendants. This is due to the smaller aircraft size, so the overhead stowages aren’t as high to reach. For example:

  • Commun Air: height from 5’0″ 

Note that there are no exceptions with these height requirements due to the aircraft size. Someone taller than this would not be able to stand and work comfortably in these types of aircraft.

If you are not based in the USA, check domestic carriers in your country as opposed to international airlines, as sometimes the height requirements will differ and be more lenient due the the types of aircrafts they use.

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Other Flight Attendant Requirements

Some other requirements for Flight Attendants include:

  • Weight Requirements: 

There aren’t specific weight requirements for Flight Attendants – many airlines will check to see that the prospective Cabin Crew are in proportion, they look a healthy weight and that they will be able to fit in the Cabin Crew Uniform.

However, you have probably noticed that generally you don’t see a grossly overweight or fat Flight Attendant as they still need to have a relative level of fitness to be able to open the heavy cabin doors and assist in emergency situations, to sit in the jumpseat and be able to fasten their harness, and to be able to spend a long time on their feet.

Being a Flight attendant is quite a physical job – it involves a lot of lifting and the Cabin Crew Roster requires a lot of energy, so generally people who apply to become Cabin Crew are relatively healthy. Before you go for your Assessment Day I would check your height and weight measurements on a BMI calculator.

Aim to be within the normal healthy range, however if you are deemed slightly overweight definitely do not let this put you off applying at all. They don’t test your physical fitness at the Assessment Day.

 

  • Age Requirements:

In many airlines the requirements for their Flight Attendants is to be a minimum age of 18. However you will find that in some airlines such as Etihad, Emirates and Qatar and airlines based in the USA such as Delta, the minimum age requirements are age 21.

This is because 21 is the legal age for consuming and serving alcohol in the countries where these airlines are located. Other airlines will require you to be at least 19 or 20 when you apply, so it just depends on the individual airline.

In contrast to people asking about the minimum age requirements for Flight Attendants, you will also see some people asking if there is a maximum age limit for Flight Attendants. They may ask themselves am I too old to be a Flight Attendant, especially because they see many Flight Attendants are young these days.

The short answer is no they are not too old. Many people choose to become a Flight Attendant later in life. I know of people in their 40’s and 50’s who transitioned into a career as a Flight Attendant with no prior experience. Providing you meet the other requirements, your age will not prevent you from becoming a Flight Attendant. Age discrimination is illegal and airlines (and any other employment company for that matter) are not allowed to turn down an older candidate simply because they would prefer someone younger.

Whilst this is true for countries such as America, UK and Australia – where there is no upper age limit to become a Flight Attendant, this certainly isn’t the case in Middle Eastern, Asian and Indian airlines. Age discrimination is common in these countries, and they generally tend to only employ people in their twenties and early thirties.

It’s important to remember that even though a maximum age isn’t specified on their websites, what some airlines prefer and what they ‘officially’ say can be quite different so as not to appear discriminatory. They often have ‘secret’ requirements that they won’t disclose, as they know they would get a lot of backlash and criticism, even lawsuits against them, if this was publicly revealed. 

I wish it wasn’t true, but we have to admit that age discrimination does occur in some airlines. Even though the airlines will do their best to make it seem like that isn’t the case.

 

  • Tattoos/ piercings: 

The majority of airlines do not allow for Flight Attendants to have tattoos visible whilst they are wearing the Cabin Crew uniform. They can however have tattoos that will not be visible whilst they are wearing their Flight Attendant uniform – for example on their torso, back, upper thigh etc.

Flight Attendants are not allowed to use bandages or cosmetics to cover up tattoos that would otherwise be visible whilst wearing the Cabin Crew uniform. 

The question can Flight Attendants have piercings is another question that also gets asked a lot.

Most airlines will allow for one piercing per ear lobe for female Flight Attendants. Any other visible body parts (eg: nose, eyebrows, lips etc) can not have piercings. Remember individual airlines do vary their standards so always check the policy for the airline you are interested in applying to.

 

  • Citizenship/Ability to legally work in that country: 

Some airlines require you to be a citizen of that country to be able to work as a Flight Attendant (for example at Virgin Australia you need to hold Australian or NZ citizenship or Permanent Residency).

The same applies in the United States – you will need to be a US Citizen or a legal resident alien (Permanent Resident).

When you apply for Qatar, Emirates and Etihad, if you are accepted as Cabin Crew you will be granted rights to legally work in that country.

 

  • Appearance: 

Flight Attendant appearance is important as Flight Attendants are seen as the face of the airline and who the passengers will have most contact with. Flight Attendants need to represent the airline well, so it is important that they have a professional appearance.

There are certain style and image look standards and requirements that Flight Attendants should adhere to in terms of their appearance. Flight Attendant appearance requirements includes having a clean and professional look. Flight Attendant hairstyles should be neat and well-kept, and females should wear neat makeup.

At the Flight Attendant Assessment Day make sure you try and make yourself as smart as possible and have your hair (and makeup) as you would if you were a proper Flight Attendant. Depends on the airline, but usually Invisalign braces are permitted, so long as they aren’t visible.

 

  • English Fluency:

If you want to be a Flight Attendant in an English speaking country such as America, Canada, UK etc, you will need to be fluent in English.

Also if you apply to become a Flight Attendant for Qatar, Etihad or Emirates you will need to pass an English test at the Assessment Day. English is the language spoken in these airlines, despite being based in Arabic countries, as the majority of passengers communicate in English and English is the language of aviation. You do not need to know Arabic language to apply to work in one of these 3 Middle Eastern airlines.

 

  • Drug Test:

Airlines expect you to pass a pre-employment drug screen as well as be subject to random drug and alcohol testing in the future prior to your operational duties. Bear in mind certain drugs such as marijuana can stay in your system for a lot longer than alcohol can.

Flight Attendants are encouraged not to smoke, and if they are smokers they shouldn’t be seen smoking in their uniform before or after a flight when at the airport.

 

  • Education Requirements:

A University Degree is not a requirement to become a Flight Attendant. Airlines will require prospective Flight Attendants to have a High School Diploma or equivalent. 

You will often find that many Flight Attendants do actually have a University Degree though, and whilst this is seen as an advantage it is not a requirement. 

Especially in airlines where the minimum age to become a Flight Attendant is 18, such as British Airways and Virgin, many of the Cabin Crew won’t have a University Degree if they would have gone straight into flying after completing college or A Levels.

 

  • Passport: 

As obvious as it sounds, you will need a valid passport to become a Flight Attendant.

 

  • Ability to swim:

You need to be comfortable swimming as you never know if you will have to swim in the sea for survival. Your ability to swim without a lifejacket will be tested during your training, so at least you have time to practice and gain confidence if you don’t have it already.

 

  • Criminal background test: 

At some point in the Flight Attendant hiring process you will be required to provide a criminal background check.

 

  • Eyesight:

Eyesight doesn’t need to be 100% and Cabin Crew are permitted to wear contact lenses or glasses. They must carry a spare pair of glasses with them onboard, so make sure you have them if you require glasses or contact lenses!

 

  • Passionate for travel and able to adapt to new situations:

With some Flight Attendant jobs you will need to move to a new city or country, and will need to adapt being away from home and your friends and family. You will also need to be okay with being away from your base for a few days at a time sometimes.

 

  • Good communication and customer service skills: 

Whilst this isn’t a physical requirement, it is definitely a requirement recruiters are looking for when they are recruiting for Flight Attendants. Airlines need Flight Attendants that are friendly, caring, understanding and have great people skills. Flight Attendants are often seen as the face of the organisation, so they need to have excellent interpersonal skills and an ability to communicate with a wide range of people. Many of the tasks on the Assessment Day will be to assess how well you can interact with others.

 

 

It may seem that to become a Flight Attendant there are many more requirements that you need to meet when compared to other jobs and in many ways this is true! However don’t let this put you off – most people can meet these requirements, and working as a Flight Attendant is a really great job!

Looking for more information about other Flight Attendant requirements?

Flight Attendant requirements (height, weight & more)
Cabin Crew CV – How To Write A Winning Resume!
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