I'm in my second week of training to be an FA. FA means flight attendant. (Aviation professionals are like teenagers texting, why waste time when you can abbreviate.) In my two weeks of FA training I've learned some other things that may surprise you.
1. The course is intense. Your flight attendant is not just a service professional, they've gone though extensive training in safety and emergency procedures. We're talking late nights, early mornings, a five-inch-thick manual of information to learn, study sessions, pressure, stress, drills and exams. In my case, tears have been involved two or three times. Okay, four times.
2. Flight attendant trainees get wet. Today we all inflated life vests and jumped in the pool. If we weren't close before, we are now.
3. Passenger comfort is not a flight attendant's first priority. In fact, safety is the highest priority for a flight attendant. Out of the five weeks of training, only two days are dedicated to service training, the rest basically split between classes, drills and exams related to safety and emergency equipment and procedures. Don't worry though, you'll still get great service.
4. Training is very hands on. We spend a good portion of our course on an actual airplane. (This is specific to Air North, many other airlines aren't able to do this.) We have given each other first aid oxygen. We have removed window emergency exits from two types of aircraft. We've all sat in the flight deck (cockpit). We will be putting out a live fire, learning first aid and jumping down an emergency slide.
5. Flight Attendants are all "A" students. You need to score 85% to pass exams. And there are seven exams. And there is a very thick book of drills to pass. Passing is by no means guaranteed. In fact, from what I've heard, many people do not make it through training.
I did not fully appreciate flight attendants before now. Not only do they get you your water, blankets and food (well, there's food on Air North anyway) but they are trained to deal with just about any situation that could arise.
All and all, it's not the interesting summer job I had pictured before I started. It's so much more than that. It's one of the hardest things I've ever done. I've discovered I want this job more and more every day even though most of it is miles outside my comfort zone.