Working as a cabin crew member or flight attendant means that you need to interact with your passengers. There’s no way around it, you must be able to make positive impressions on your passengers by having the right social and communication skills. This article will cover the basic information you need to know to be an excellent flight attendant. 

There are two different types of communication when it comes to dealing with people in general, but for our context dealing with passengers: verbal and non-verbal. In the customer service world, face to face interactions all come down to these two types of communication and knowing how to handle both will make or break your career as a cabin crew member. 

 

Verbal Communication

There are two main components of verbal communication which you need to always be aware of, and these are your tone of voice and your choice of words. People will interpret a lot from the tone of your voice, and it’s completely different when you speak to different people in your life like your family, friends, colleagues, or your boss. You need to be able to use the right tone to convey what you’re saying to your passengers to leave them with the right impression, whether you need to be friendly (almost always) or firm (sometimes necessary). Even if the passenger in 24A is rude and frustrating, think about the tone you’re using in your replies. 

In terms of your word choice, this is also important, because coming off as flippant or not serious will not go over well with your passengers. Also, sarcasm is very rarely well-received in the customer service world, so leave that one at home. Pamela Knight, a communication manager at Write My X and 1Day2Write, tells her readers to “make sure you’re not interrupting your passengers or trying to finish their sentences for them. It’s important to avoid coming off as too bossy or assertive when dealing with passengers, so think about passive turns of phrase, and choose the words carefully. Try different pitches and intonations to see how they come across.”

 

Non Verbal Communication

Non verbal communication is just as important, if not more, as verbal communication. This includes how you look and dress, whether your uniform is in good condition, and your hair is in place. This reflects on the company and your professionalism so you want to make a good impression. Also be mindful of your smell; obviously, body odour is extremely unpleasant, but you can also do too much and be wearing an overpowering perfume. In a crowded airplane, a strong perfume can be very off-putting for passengers, not to mention some might be allergic to scents.  

You should also be aware of the eye contact you make when you interact with passengers. It’s important to make eye contact to show you’re listening and interested in what they’re saying, but don’t keep it for too long because it’ll seem like you’re staring. In fact, body language is very important as a cabin crew member. According to Greta Vandercourt, a recruiter at Next Coursework and Brit Student, “gestures like folding your arms or leaning against the cabin door can appear too casual or off-putting, not the impression you want to be projecting. You also don’t want to be seen slouching or slumping as this does not look professional and makes you appear disengaged. You also want to avoid too many hand-gestures when you’re speaking because this can be interpreted as nervousness, similarly to fidgeting or constantly readjusting your hair or clothes.” 

When the passenger is speaking, lean forward to engage them and show your interest, nodding occasionally to show you’re paying attention and you understand what they’re saying, especially if there’s a language barrier. You should be turning your entire body to face them when they’re talking to you, and not just turn your head towards them. Under no circumstances should you be rolling your eyes or even frowning; try to keep a genuine smile on your face during your passenger interactions.  

Good communication, both verbal and non verbal, is at the base of every positive customer interaction, and it’s essential to master them to become a great cabin crew member. 

April Smith, a multimedia journalist at Academic Brits and PhD Kingdom, is dedicated to sharing her communication and interview tips with her readers. She has written her whole life and now she is using her skills as a writer to share helpful insights with her readers at Origin Writings.

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