Now Hiring: Most Glamorous US Flight Attendant Job!

As y’all know I’m primarily an American Airlines flyer, and one of my favorite things about flying them the past couple of years has been all of the new hires. They’ve hired thousands of flight attendants over the past few years, to the point that roughly a quarter of all American flight attendants are now new hires.

Let me be clear — I’m not claiming that all senior flight attendants suck and that all new hires are great. That’s not at all the truth. But there’s no denying that on average the new hires are more enthusiastic, if nothing else (of course that often comes at the expense of being polished/experienced).

And some of them are cute/age appropriate, but that’s a different story…

Anyway, that’s not the point of this post.

What’s the single most glamorous commercial airline flight attendant position available in the US? I’d argue it’s working for Cathay Pacific, as they’re hiring both Los Angeles and New York based flight attendants.

Cathay-Pacific-Job

What are the requirements to be a US-based Cathay Pacific flight attendant?

To become a Flight Attendant with Cathay Pacific:

  • You must be educated to high school level or higher
  • You must have US citizenship or resident status or the right to live and work in the United States
  • You must be 19 years of age or above with a minimum overhead arm reach of 81.9 inches
  • You must be fluent in written and spoken English and be fluent in one of the following languages: Cantonese, Mandarin, Vietnamese, Tagalog, or Japanese
  • Previous experience in the service industry is preferable

While many foreign airlines have pilots based in the US, Cathay Pacific is the only non-US airline I know of that has flight attendants based in the US (I’m sure there are others, so if you know of any, please do let me know in the comments section!).

Cathay-Pacific-777-1

I’ve flown with Cathay Pacific’s San Francisco based crews several times, as well as their Vancouver based crews.

Generally speaking the Hong Kong based crews are going to be the most proper and polished, and perhaps borderline robotic and artificial (I don’t view it that way, but others do).

The US crews, on the other hand, are typically more informal and “warm” (and sometimes not as attentive). There’s something sort of funny about being asked “did you want another glass of Krug, hun?” or “what’s going to be for lunch, sweetie?”

Cathay-Pacific-Krug

Bottom line

If you live in the US, speak one of the languages required, and want to be a flight attendant, this is a gig that’s pretty tough to beat. Presumably you’ll almost exclusively be flying to Hong Kong and back (and if based in New York, to Vancouver as well). Given the length of the flights, you’ll probably work one trip a week at most, so it’s like a 12 day per month job.

Does anyone have any experience applying to be a flight attendant with Cathay Pacific?

Comments

  1. My Cousin was a long haul Cathay flight attendant based in HKG. While I am sure this job is a step up from working domestic airlines, from the way she talked about it, it was far from glamorous…

  2. I live in Los Angeles, and I applied to this job the first time I saw it earlier this year. I unfortunately didn’t receive a response. Then when I saw it again last week, I applied once again! Fingers crossed!! Gotta try and try again haha.

    I knew someone who works as a Los Angeles-based crew member. Though I only know that far since I didn’t really delve too much into that topic in conversation, I was so incredibly jealous and I hoped I could do the same!

  3. Norwegian Air Shuttle has a cabin crew base in Fort Lauderdale for their long haul flights on the 787 to Scandinavia and London.

  4. Hun? Sweetie? That makes me think of American, not Cathay! I might be alone on this, but in the service industry one should address people by Miss, Mr, Mrs, Ms, Admiral, Doctor, etc. Not “Hun” or “Sweetie”.

  5. My twin actually is a CX flight attendant based in HK (I live in the U.S. And the rest of my family lives in HK, as a matter of fact, my younger sister also worked as a CX flight attendant before…instead of ‘buddy flight’ they did ‘sister-flight’…). My twin will be the first one to tell you CX and their FAs are not as glamorous as people think. She always rolls her eyes when she hears how great people think CX is. Oh, btw she NEVER flies the North American routes. She always swaps them out of her roster. She thinks the flights are just too long – 18 hours from HKG to JFK is insanity for her (Yeah that also means she never comes visit me either…)

  6. Glamorous? LOLLLLL Try serving 300 special veg meals in Y and everyone and their mothers asking for “whiskey water” in a stuffy, “fragrant” cabin. You know what I’m talking about. Since you’ve never worked a real job, you clearly have a distorted view on the true nature and realities of a FA.

  7. I would’ve thought SQ flight attendants would be the most glamorous, no?

    And THIS is a story I want to read all about: “And some of them are cute/age appropriate, but that’s a different story…”

  8. I have many CX friends as F/A’s. Some HKG based some US based. They say the same thing. It’s a slave ship. Long haul is long haul it sucks. They work about 20 days a month. Now sure where your getting 12 lol. RIGHT

  9. My mum’s sister was a flight attendant and she echoes the sentiment of most in that the job is not as glamorous as it is portrayed to be. I also disagree about the younger flight attendants – I’ll take the more polished/experienced flight attendant over the younger enthusiastic but less experienced flight attendant.

    No thank you.

  10. @ Al — Singapore doesn’t have any flight attendants based in the US (though they do — or at least did — have pilots based here).

  11. Really? For anyone that likes travel, I think this would be a great opportunity.. not sure where these comments are coming from. Yes it may not be as glamorous as it seems from the outside but what job really is? If you’re applying to be “glamorous,” it’s the wrong reasons. If you want to see some different parts of the world while based in the US on a great airline… by all means go for it. GF is a FA on a european airline and only flies the longhaul routes… she’s off 2/3s of the month where she just uses her benefits and travels everywhere. Insanely jealous of her schedule/benefits/salary (her airline pays very well).

    I actually may consider applying…. haha

  12. The cute/age appropriate thing was kind of a duche-y thing to say. You’re an expert traveller, keep it professional. I think you’ve spent too much time in the clouds, hun. Time to get grounded.

  13. Would a US-based CX FA really only do US-Asia routes? Doing long-haul all the time would be rather exhausting, I imagine.

  14. @ Ivan Y — Well and presumably New York to Vancouver as well. I think longhaul would still be much easier than the long domestic days where you keep getting on and off planes all day.

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