Flight attendants typically do the following:
- Participate in pre flight briefings with the pilots, to discuss cabin conditions and flight details
- Conduct preflight inspections of emergency equipment
- Demonstrate the use of safety equipment and emergency equipment
- Ensure that passengers have their seat belts fastened when required and that all other safety requirements are observed
- Serve and sell beverages, meals, or snacks
- Take care of passengers’ needs, particularly those with special needs
- Reassure passengers during the flight, such as when the aircraft hits turbulence
- Administer and coordinate emergency medical care, as needed
- Provide direction to passengers, including how to evacuate the aircraft in an emergency
Airlines are required by law to provide flight attendants for the safety and security of passengers. The primary job of flight attendants is to keep passengers safe, ensuring that everyone follows security regulations and that the flight deck is secure. Flight attendants also try to make flights comfortable and stress free for passengers. At times, they may deal with passengers who display disruptive behavior.
About 1 hour before takeoff, the captain (pilot) may conduct a preflight briefing with flight attendants about relevant flight information, including the number of hours the flight will take, the route the plane will travel, and weather conditions. Flight attendants check that emergency equipment is working, the cabin is clean, and there is an adequate supply of food and beverages on board. Flight attendants greet passengers as they board the aircraft, direct them to their seats, and provide assistance as needed.
Flight attendants demonstrate the proper use of safety equipment to all passengers, either in person or through a video recording before the plane takes off. They also check that seat belts are fastened, seats are locked in the upright position, and all carry-on items are properly stowed in accordance with federal law and company policy.
A flight attendant’s most important responsibility, however, is to help passengers in the event of an emergency. This responsibility ranges from dealing with unruly passengers to performing first aid, fighting fires, protecting the flight deck, and directing evacuations. Flight attendants also answer questions about the flight, attend to passengers with special needs, and generally assist all passengers as needed.
Before the plane lands, flight attendants once again ensure that seatbelts are fastened, seats are locked in the upright position, and all carry-on and galley items are properly stowed.
Before they leave the plane, flight attendants survey the condition of the cabin. They submit reports on any medical, safety, or security issues that may have occurred during the flight.