Learning Materials

Educate yourself with the interesting learning contents!

The learning materials incorporated in this site are intended to introduce you to the language of airlines in English. Each lesson in this site serves several purposes. The first is to give you the introduction of the area. The duties and responsibilities of different kinds are discussed, as well as the problems that you might encounter at work.

This site is not intended as a detailed training manual but rather as a broad introduction both to the opportunities and the problems involved in this kind of work.

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Understanding Flight Attendants

What do you understand about flight attendants? Are you aware of the nature of the job? What are the responsibilities involved? Well, if you want to know the answer, continue reading!

Flight attendants are referred to as a community of people that are responsible in ensuring the passengers’ comfort and safety at all times. Flight attendants, sometimes called as the members of the cabin crew not only take charge of the passengers’ well doing but also to make sure the plane boards and departs at the given schedule.

Aside maintaining the routine tasks, flight attendants also grant the passengers’ request and deal with their queries while providing a good service to them and these includes delivering food items, providing comforters and etcetera. Among others, flight attendants should adhere to the safety and security of the travelling at all times. Flight attendants should also try to make flights comfortable and enjoyable for passengers.

Flight attendants are briefed by the captain at least an hour before the take off. Here, they are exposed to emergency evacuation procedures, coordination of the crew, the length of the flight, expected weather conditions, and special issues having to do with passengers.

Being the flight attendant, you must make sure that first-aid kits and other emergency equipment are aboard and in working order and that the passenger cabin is in order, with adequate supplies of food and other necessities. As passengers board the plane, you have to greet them, check their tickets, and tell them where to store carry-on items. Do not forget to portray a smile!

Before the plane takes off, you have to instruct all passengers in the use of emergency equipment and check to see that seatbelts are fastened, seat backs are in upright positions, and all carry-on items are properly stowed. In the air, helping passengers in the event of an emergency is the most important responsibility of a flight attendant.

Any queries about the flight should be answered appropriately. In certain cases you must also take into account other minor responsibilities that are involved and these include: distribute reading material, pillows, and blankets; and help small children, elderly or disabled persons and any others needing assistance.

What about the working hours? Please take note of this as this is very important for you. Flight attendants may have to work nights, holidays, and weekends. The working hours are not fixed and you are to adhere to these rules and regulations at all times.  Attendants usually fly 65 to 90 hours a month and generally spend another 50 hours a month on the ground preparing planes, writing reports, and waiting for planes to arrive.

Flight attendants receive extra compensation for increased hours. Flight attendants may be away from their home base at least one-third of the time. During this period, the airlines provide hotel accommodations and an allowance for meal expenses. Wow, this is so fun! You get to spend your time in a hotel while you are on work!

You should always bear in mind that you must be flexible and willing to relocate yourself if you were asked to do so. However, many flight attendants elect to live in one place and commute to their assigned home base. Home bases and routes worked are bid for on a seniority basis. This simply means to say that the longer you have been employed, the more likely you are able to work on chosen flights. Almost all flight attendants start out working on reserve status or on call. On small corporate airlines, flight attendants often work on an as-needed basis and must adapt to varying environments and passengers.

The combination of free time and discount airfares provides flight attendants the opportunity to travel and see new places. However, the work can be strenuous and tiring. You have to stand most of the time and this can be really exhausting! You have to remain pleasant and efficient, regardless of how tired they are or how demanding passengers may be. Occasionally, flight attendants must deal with disruptive passengers.

Working in a moving aircraft leaves flight attendants susceptible to injuries. For example, back injuries and mishaps can occur when opening overhead compartments or while pushing heavy service carts. In addition, medical problems can arise from irregular sleeping and eating patterns, dealing with stressful passengers, working in a pressurized environment, and breathing recycled air. This is not provided here to discourage you but just as a kind note. Bear in mind the pressures and responsibilities.

All sorts of jobs around the world have some form of pressures; and it is your responsibility to deal with them. Work without stress and you will love your job!

Managed to understand them all? Great! The next section looks at the structural patterns of communication in English. Acknowledge the different approaches involved in the communication aspect. Have fun!

Adapted from http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos171.htm and http://www.careeroverview.com/flight-attendant-careers.html

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Communicating Appropriately

Flight attendants have to perform many tasks and the tasks are not limited to just one particular task – serving the passengers. Being a flight attendant means interacting with the passengers too. You should acknowledge the principles and approaches involved in interacting with the passengers. This is very important.

Let us begin with the verbal aspects first. Read them carefully.

Do not sound annoyed to the passengers. Actively listen to what the passenger has to say and respond in a friendly but professional tone.

Choose your words carefully! Avoid being rude to the passengers and never appear dismissive in your response.

We have seen the verbal aspects. Let us now take a look at the nonverbal aspects. When dealing with passengers, you should always make them to feel comfortable. No matter how stressed up you are with the job, never portray those irritations on your look as this will definitely show!

If you have just been selected as a flight attendant, please make sure you read the instructions in the manual. Never step into a flight if you have not mastered the conventions involved. Again, read the articles about dress and make up to get more information.

Maintain your eye contact. Eye contact shows that you are interested in what the person has to say. Please do not overdo this as you might be seen as staring!

How about body language? Do you need this? Certainly, yes! Portray yourself appropriately. Be careful as gestures are interpreted differently with various cultures. Do not fold your arms as this can be very rude!

Be friendly to the passengers. If they need help, assist them.

Leaning forward to engage the person you are talking to will show your interest. What if you are tall? Well, there is absolutely no problem with that. If you are tall, bend or stoop so that you are at the same level as the person you are talking to. Turn your whole body to face the passenger and not just your neck.

Aside from the nonverbal aspects, you must also take into account the personality aspect. Smell good and be mindful of body odour. Perfume is a personal choice so make sure you do not over do it, the plane is a small enclosed space!

Good communication is the basis of passenger satisfaction. Treat them nicely and you will be very happy at the end of the day. Keep the passengers first!

Apply these strategies while communicating with the passengers. Good luck!

Adapted from http://www.newflightcrew.com/CommBasics.html

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Vocabulary Building

These are some of the frequently used words or phrases in the airline industry. It comes without doubt that English is the option that everyone would opt for if we are dealing with international businesses. Flight attendants, therefore should be very proficient and acknowledge the use of the words used in the field. Whether your job is to book passengers on their flights, assist passengers with luggage, or fly the airplane itself, this lesson can help you to learn important words and expressions to use on the job in the airline industry. Happy reading!

Word Meaning Example of sentence
airfare
noun
cost of a plane ticket The cost of your meal is covered in your airfare.
aisle
noun
the long empty space that you walk down Please keep your bags out of the aisle so that nobody trips.
aisle seat
noun
the seat that is next to the aisle I’ll give you an aisle seat in case you need to walk around with the baby.
assist
verb
help Please wait until everyone is off the plane so that we can assist you.
baggage
noun
the bags and suitcases that travellers put their belongings in I’m afraid your baggage got on the wrong airplane.
baggage, luggage claim
noun
place where you pick up your baggage after arrival The announcement will direct you to the correct baggage claim.
blanket
noun
warm covering If you feel cold I can get you a blanket.
boarding pass
noun
part of the ticket that you give to the crew as you step onto the plane Your must present your boarding pass at the gate.
bumpy, rough
adj
up and down movement of the aircraft It might be a bumpy ride because we are flying through a storm.
cabin
noun
interior of the aircraft There is no smoking allowed inside the cabin.
call light
noun
a button passengers can press to get a crew member’s attention If you need anything, just press the call light.
captain
noun
the person who is in charge of the plane Would the kids like to go and meet the captain?
charter
noun
discount airline If you take a charter it will cost you half as much.
cockpit
noun
the part of the plane where the captain and his co-pilots sit We aren’t doing any more tours of the cockpit because it’s almost time to land.
comfortable
adjective
feel good physically, able to relax Because you have long legs you might be more comfortable in an aisle seat.
complimentary
adjective
free of charge We offer complimentary coffee or tea, but you have to pay for alcohol.
co-pilot
noun
person who helps the captain fly the plane If the captain gets sick the co-pilot can take over.
domestic
adjective
within the same country You should be at the airport two hours ahead of time for domestic flights.
emergency exit
noun
section of the plane that opens in the case of an accident Are you comfortable sitting next to the emergency exit?
e-ticket
noun
airfare purchased on the internet You will need to present your identification along with your e-ticket.
excess baggage
noun
heavier/more bags than you are allowed You can either pay for your excess baggage or leave one of your bags behind.
first-class
noun/adj
more expensive seating, with better services When you sit in first-class you get a better meal to eat.
gate
noun
place where passengers go to wait to board a plane Gate 3B is down this hall and to your right.
headset, earphones
noun
device that allows passengers to listen to music or a movie We will be coming around to sell headsets for five dollars.
international
adj
worldwide For international departures, go up one level.
jet lag
noun
tiredness due to travelling through different time zones I’m used to travelling now. My body doesn’t suffer from jet lag anymore.
land
verb
returning to the ground after being in the air We will be landing in Tokyo in approximately ten minutes.
life vest, life jacket
noun
a blow-up device that you put on in an emergency over water Please take a moment to locate the life vest under your seat.
motion sickness
noun
a bad feeling in the stomach that passengers get during a rough ride There is a paper bag in front of you in case you experience motion sickness.
overbooked
adj
more passengers than available seats The flight is overbooked. Four of our passengers will have to wait for the next flight.
overhead bin/compartment
noun
place above the seats for storing luggage You’ll have to put your bag under your seat because all of the overhead bins are full.
over-sized baggage
adj
items that do not fit in suitcases Infant car seats and sporting equipment can be picked up at the over-sized baggage counter.
oxygen mask
noun
a device that goes over a person’s face, provides air in case of cabin air pressure loss Put your oxygen mask on first before putting one on your child.
passport
noun
document that proves a person’s identification and nationality Please have your passport out when you go through security.
pilot
noun
the person who drives the plane The pilot is circling over the airport until it is safe to land.
refreshments
noun
drinks and snacks It’s a short flight, so we will be serving refreshments but not a meal.
row
noun
a number of seats beside each other You are in seat B of row nine.
runway
noun
the strip of land that an airplane takes-off and lands on The plane almost missed the runway because it was such a bad storm.
seatbelt
noun
device that holds passengers in their seats Please remain in your seats while the seatbelt light is on.
steward (male), stewardess (female), flight attendant, air host
noun
man or woman who provides service for passengers during a flight Ask one of the stewardesses for a pillow if you’re tired.
stopover
noun
touching down at more than one airport during a flight It’s not a direct flight. We’re making one stopover in Toronto.
take off
noun/verb
when the plane leaves the ground We are next in line to take off on this runway.
taxi in, out
verb
driving an airplane to the correct place for taking off or deboarding Please remain in your seats until we taxi in to the gate.
touch down
verb, noun
when the aircraft wheels land on the ground That was a very smooth touch down.
turbulence
noun
rough flight This turbulence should only last a few minutes.
wheelchair
noun
a seat for pushing elderly, disabled, or injured people A steward will take you to the gate with a wheelchair.
window seat
noun
seat next to the window where passengers can look out If your child wants a window seat I can move you back a row.

View some of the pictures here! All of the pictures cannot be included here due to the nature of the words involved.

                          

                 

                    

Taken from http://www.englishclub.com/english-for-work/airline-vocabulary.htm

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Safety Tips

Flight attendants that are on duty according to the schedule are to perform demonstrations regarding the safety precautions in case of emergency. Passengers are to be informed appropriately and the instructions given should be very organized. This is to ensure the passengers boarding the plane understand the instructions and carry out them if necessary.

Flight attendants in the process of demonstrating the instructions should also bear in mind, the appropriate way of communicating and bringing themselves in a public situation.

Here are some of the examples.

Taken from http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=36FcogfxeLk

Taken from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SAAGa2mc5JI&feature=player_embedded

Taken from http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=tNlw4c7MCTE

Taken from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c3qUxyQ1Krc&feature=player_embedded

Taken from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXbN5H7KBLA&feature=player_embedded

 

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Difficult Situations

In a flight, there are a variety of passengers and flight attendants have to take this matter into account. Passengers are never easy to be satisfied. What should you do in handling difficult situations? What if something goes wrong in the plane?

Passengers in the plane will be looking for you in case of emergency for your guidance and instruction. In such situations, you must not portray any sort of fear or discomfort and this is needed because if you did, the passengers would get panicked and the situation might get worse. You must show that you are confident in that role and that you know exactly what you are doing and why you need to do it. Smile and comfort them.

Different ways are to be implied with different passengers – age factor comes into the picture in this context. Grammar and the word choices also play a part.

Below are some techniques that you can perform in case of emergency.

  • Ask yourself questions when you have to deal with passengers and keep in mind the questions need to be answered within a few seconds.

  • Use of apologetic language may soften the situation.

  • Imply politeness strategy while communicating with the passengers.

Yes, flight attendants play a very important role. Remember the things that you should do in case of emergency! Do not be panic.

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Test Yourself

Try out some of the fun activities. Refer to the activities in [2.1 – 2.5]

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