How to Become a Private Flight Attendant

Illustration of two female flight attendants standing in front of a jet plane

Have you got your eyes set on jetting around the globe while serving champagne and caviar to VIPs?

If your answer is ‘yes’, then a job as a private flight attendant is your perfect match.

A job like this gives you travel experiences, a generous salary and glamorous job duties. Your taste in jobs is luxurious!

But like most great things in life, the journey to achievement isn’t quick you and easy.

The aviation industry can be a highly competitive and demanding sector. So, just like other aviation jobs, becoming a jet flight attendant requires dedication, time and effort. 

That said, competition doesn’t mean you should feel disheartened or fearful. It means you should feel motivated to work even harder to stand out in the crowd.

So, how do you become a VIP flight attendant?

Whether you’ve just finished school, graduated from university or considering a career change, this step-by-step guide will help you kickstart your journey to become a private flight attendant.

1. Make sure you meet the basic requirements

As a future VIP flight attendant, you must meet a few benchmarks before you can even start your training.

So, before you invest your resources and time into this career journey, make sure you’re fully aware of this job’s requirements. These include:

  • a high school diploma
  • a minimum of two years of work experience as a cabin crew member in a business class or first-class cabin
  • a first aid qualification and knowledge in emergency procedures
  • a minimum height of 165cm for ladies and 175cm for gentlemen, with an arm reach of 210cm while standing on your tiptoes
  • a valid Medical Report
  • a valid passport
  • having no tattoos and piercing on parts of the body which are visible when wearing a uniform

If you meet these requirements, congratulations, you are already employable!

2. Understand what it takes

When trying to break into a career like this, you might be solely focusing on the idea of wealth, prestige, travel and lavishness. However, it’s crucial to take a realistic look at the duties and responsibilities that fall under the title and consider if these are things that you’re looking for in a job.

You first need to weigh in these factors and then decide if it’s the right career match for you. This is a process which should not be rushed. Good ways to do an extensive research during this stage, include:

  • following a real-life VIP flight attendant on social media
  • reading up on the aviation customer service industry
  • doing an introspect of your work values, preferences and strengths
  • giving career testing a go to discover which industries you are best suited for

You would be surprised at how many aspects there are to consider. A VIP flight attendant position is not only about luxury. It involves a lot of hard work and can often mean missing out on special family moments, dealing with last-minute schedule changes, flight cancellations and catering considerations, and maintaining high levels of professionalism whilst dealing with sometimes intimidating VIP passengers.

Does this still sound like your dream job? If so, keep on reading!

3. Get professional qualifications

Gone are the days where private flight attendant job advertisements stated ‘no formal qualification required’. As the competition rises, so do companies’ expectations of their prospective employees.

As already mentioned, VIP flight attendants must have a high school education and a minimum of two years working as cabin crew. A degree in hospitality management, languages, leisure and tourism management or travel could also help you stand out, but not all companies require candidates to have a college degree.

And above that, you’re also expected to have cabin crew training and be qualified in safety and emergency procedures, inflight cabin service and food catering.

Below is a list of the essential professional courses we’d recommend for you:

  • Cabin stay and flight crew training
  • CPR, AED and first aid training
  • Inflight cabin service training
  • Food and beverage management
  • Aviation food safety training

Professional qualifications are the best way to prove to airlines that you can adequately perform your duties, so make sure to enrol in a reputable flight attendant school to gain these certificates.

4. Save up

The journey to becoming a private flight attendant is considered an expensive one. Although the salary is inviting, the training costs are not!

You will need to budget for your journey and make sure you have the funds to complete the training and survive that period of initial job searching. There are some common costs involved in becoming a VIP flight attendant; courses range between $1,000 to $4,000, and there’s the added cost of living expenses and additional VIP training certificates.

But if this is a career you are serious about, then remember, qualifications are an investment, not an expense.

5. Develop yourself holistically

With tens of thousands of airline workers searching for employment opportunities, you need to do everything you can to secure your dream job.

Airlines will say that you need to be a ‘particular type of person’ to be a VIP flight attendant. You’ll need to develop yourself to excel in customer service, manage high-stress levels and maintain a high standard of professionalism in different scenarios.

Some great ways to ensure you fit the job description is to upskill yourself in the areas of:

A great way to achieve this is through online courses, which will make you a lot more employable and make your CV shine! After all, it’s these details which will set you apart from other applicants.

6. Develop a food portfolio

When you’re applying for a VIP flight attendant job, you’ll be asked for three things: a CV, cover letter and food portfolio. If you’re not asked for a food portfolio specifically, then you’ll be expected to incorporate your culinary skills within your CV in a specialised skills section.

Within your portfolio, outline all your culinary knowledge and skills, including:

  • specialised food training and certificates
  • experience in culinary services and client reviews
  • dishes served, including photos of your platting

Showing an airline that you can prepare a five-star in-flight meal is essential. So, ensure to showcase your skill set to secure your job as a private flight attendant. Basically, make the airline’s selection committee drool over your meals!

7. Expand your network

Your network will play a huge role in breaking you into the VIP flight attendant industry. What you know is important, but who you know is even more so!

Connecting with current aviation professionals will only do you good as you’ll gain advice to deal with current aviation realities, tips for job searching and possibly leads to jobs. A great way to network is by reaching out to VIP flight attendants on LinkedIn, emailing airlines about volunteer programmes and mentorships and utilising your friends and family’s possible contacts within the aviation industry.

Remember, networking is only beneficial if it’s done politely and respectfully. If you want to become a private flight attendant, you probably already know about professional decorum, but just in case you’re unsure, here are some tips:

  • Start a polite conversation with a like-minded professional who’s interested in helping you.
  • Prepare your points and questions you want to ask in advance.
  • Don’t ask for a job, rather ask for advice to aid your job search

Remember, networking is about creating a lasting connection with professionals within your field.

8. Search for job opportunities

Once you have completed your professional qualifications, attained cabin crew experience and built a food portfolio, you’ll be ready to begin your job search.

The process might be challenging, but try to remain optimistic throughout it, after all, this is a competitive industry.

A great way to land your dream job is to use different job searching platforms, including social media, job search sites such as CareerAddict’s online job boardrecruitment agencies and, lastly, personal research. Reaching out to companies directly and inquiring about vacancies may be the most effective route to take.

Pursuing a career as a private flight attendant requires determination. But it is well worth the effort once you’ve secured your job, as you’ll be cruising around the globe as an elite private flight attendant!

Hopefully, this step-by-step guide gave you all the advice you needed to start your journey.

Are you thinking about becoming a private flight attendant? What made you want to pursue this lavish career? Head over to the comments section below and let us know!


This article is an updated version of an earlier article originally published on 19 October 2017.