British Airways is the United Kingdom's largest international airline with headquarters located at London Heathrow Airport. B.A. provides direct overseas flights from Heathrow, London Gatwick and London City Airports. The airline transports more than 36 million people around the world per year. They employ flight attendants directly, using their own recruiting method. British Airways employs approximately 13,500 in these positions.
To be considered for employment as a British Airways flight attendant there are several eligibility requirements to fulfil. The candidate must be between 18 and 62 years old, be physically fit and between 5-feet-2-inches and 6-feet-1-inches tall. They must hold a GCSE or equivalent qualification in English and math subjects and have legal rights to live and work within the European Union. The candidate must possess a valid E.U. passport, allowing for unrestricted worldwide travel, and live within 45 minutes travel time of the allocated airport, which is usually Heathrow or Gatwick. Visible body piercings and tattoos are prohibited, and previous customer service experience is expected. The candidate must conform to B.A.'s Uniform Standards.
British Airways will look for candidates who possess the natural ability to help and serve travellers. The role will require good communication skills and the ability to fit into a team. Other required qualities will be enthusiasm and the ability to calm nervous passengers who show fear of flying. Medical emergencies are not uncommon during flights, so the flight attendant will be expected to be involved in the situation.
A successfully recruited candidate will be expected to study for around 30 hours before joining a training course. The study will involve learning about British Airways, products and brands sold on the airline, destinations, airport abbreviations and an insight to safety and emergency procedures. The study material is an induction that includes workbooks, questionnaires and required information. A B.A. insight is provided on a CD-ROM, so the candidate will require access to a PC.
The initial training program will consist of an intense five-week course held at either Gatwick or Heathrow airports. Safety and equipment procedures will be covered in depth as well as cultural awareness and assertiveness. Product knowledge and in-depth customer service skills will be studied in greater detail. The candidate will continue training on the airlines for a six-month period after successful completion of five weeks of training. The candidate will be awarded with B.A. wings once training is successfully completed.
Development of skills continues after initial training through specialist courses at the British Airways Quest Learning Centers. Cabin crew and flight attendant management requires outstanding teamwork skills. Once a flight attendant is fully competent, he will be considered for promotion to "purser," which involves providing service to first-class travellers and VIPs.