Entering the cockpit at night does require additional minor preparation and awareness on the part of the flight attendant. Take a look at the photo included in this story. Notice the image was taken at night, but more importantly, notice the interior lighting of the cockpit. It uses primarily amber and red lighting, with minimal white light. The illumination of white light in reality isn’t that bright, it appears brighter than what it is due to photo exposure. Amber and red lighting has minimal, if no effect to a person’s night vision, that’s why the majority of switches and buttons are in those two colors. Of all crewmembers on board the aircraft, the flight crew need to maintain their night vision adaptation.
So, how does this involve flight attendants? On occasion during flight, flight attendants will enter and exit the flight deck for various reasons. When this happens, aside from security procedures for entering/exiting the flight deck, the cabin light in the forward galley can directly affect the flight crew’s night vision. Whenever the Flight deck door needs to be opened or closed, the forward galley lights should be turned to the dim setting or off so the remaining flight crew member can maintain their night vision.
You may wonder, “if we’re in cruise flight and the autopilot is engaged, why does it matter whether the flight crewmembers can maintain their night vision or not? Isn’t there an instrument they use to monitor for air traffic?” They do have an instrument called Traffic Collision Avoidance System, or TCAS that gives alerts to other air traffic that is nearby. Additionally, air traffic control (ATC) does monitor air traffic and provides separation between aircraft. However, when there is traffic nearby, ATC will tell the pilots the location, altitude, and heading of the traffic alert. The pilots then need to look for the aircraft and identify its location in relation to them. If their night vision adaptation is disrupted, it can be difficult, if not impossible, for the flight crew to look out the window and identify the reported aircraft.
What you may or may not know is, when it comes to night vision and looking to identify an object, you use more of your peripheral vision to see. What’s directly in the center of your vision may not be noticed, but when you turn your head a little bit, your peripheral vision sees it.
So, since you know this, remember to always dim or turn off the forward galley lights whenever you are going to open the flight deck door. More than crewmembers enter the flight deck, so does harmful bright light.
Additional related reading:
Scientific American: Why does it take so long for our vision to adjust to a darkened theater after we come in from bright sunlight?
West Texas A&M University: How long does it take our eyes to fully adapt to darkness? By Dr. Christopher S. Baird
Quartz: The Pilots of Instagram, beautiful views from the cockpit, violating rules of the air.
Aviation.Stackexchange.com: How do pilots see at night if airplanes don’tr have front lights?
Night vision for takeoff and landing is very important as it has direct implications to safety, that of the flight attendant and of the passengers. Most likely during training, flight attendants are taught to adjust the cabin lighting to the outside lighting prior to takeoff and landing so everyone’s eyes will adapt to the outside light faster than going from a bright cabin to a dark outside. This is why flight attendants turn off the cabin lights and sometimes include announcement to passengers that they may turn on their reading light if they wish to do so.
It can take your eyes anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes to adapt to the natural lighting outside. Have you ever been outside on a moonless night with no lights on, but by staying outside for a few minutes, as long as there is a little bit of ambient light from the stars, over the next few minutes you were able to begin seeing things in that room? This is how our eyes are all the time. In the interest of safety, flight attendants should always remember to have the cabin lighting adjusted to the outside lighting, particularly for night flights. Going from a dark cabin to bright lights, it might be a shock to the eyes for a few seconds, but they adapt quickly. It takes a few minutes for your eyes to adapt to darkness.
For clarification, if it’s a daytime flight, it does not mean you need to turn on the cabin lights to full bright. The cabin lights can be off, as the ambient light will enter the cabin with the window shades open. However, come evening and nighttime, that’s when the cabin lights should be dimmed to the lowest setting or turned off according to company policy. It’s not a regulation to adjust the cabin lighting to the outside lighting, it’s a best safety practice that everyone should do as flight attendants are safety professionals and should want to do things as best as they can to promote and or enhance safety.
About Flight Attendant Schools – you may ask yourself, “Do I need to go to one in order to get hired as a flight attendant?”
Depending who you talk to, and what country you’re in, has a direct impact on whether the answer is yes or no. There are some countries in the world that require flight attendant candidates to attend a flight attendant school prior to being considered for employment. That’s how it is overseas. If you want to be a flight attendant, go to a flight attendant preparatory school first.
However, here in the United States, in various flight attendant career connection type groups, you will likely hear a different story. Flight attendant career hopefuls will ask questions like “do I need to go to a flight attendant school?” Or, “Flight Attendant School X charges thousands of dollars to attend. I was wondering if it’s worth it?” Their responses are expected:
“Scam! Stay Away! Run from them, they don’t help you! Airlines will put you through their training anyway, you don’t need them! Waste of time and waste of money!”
While it is true that you don’t have to attend a flight attendant preparatory school in order to qualify to work as a flight attendant, and that there may be some schools that are a waste of money, there is another side, a positive side to some flight attendant schools that is being overlooked.
We know and totally agree, flight attendant preparatory schools are not required. They are not for everybody. Again, they are not for everybody. Current flight attendants that go on to say how you don’t need flight attendant preparatory schools are only thinking about themselves and of their classmates that made it through training. They are not considering for one second any of the persons that failed tests and were removed from training. It’s like being King, sitting at a table full of food, and asking, “how can people possibly be starving, look at all the food I have!” Many flight attendants without realizing it only think about themselves and not about those that would have been a very good flight attendant had they been better at taking tests, or had more time to learn. That’s where we come in.
The Professional Flight Attendant Academy was developed with the intent of helping only a small portion of those who wish to start a career working as a flight attendant. We know you don’t need to attend a school like ours, but our program is designed to help the following flight attendant hopefuls, those that:
- need a little more time to learn new information
- may have some difficulty taking tests
- want to ask questions but are embarrassed to ask during training
- don’t know how to interview
- don’t know the right way to respond to interview questions
- want to be better, more knowledgeable flight attendants
- want hands-on experience with equipment and an opportunity to ask as many questions as needed to feel comfortable
- attended an airline’s flight attendant training course, yet did not pass the tests or performance drills
- want to start training with an edge, knowing what to expect and being prepared for it.
Many flight attendants do pass training, yet we are focused on those that want to change their career, want some additional assistance in preparation for the interviews, and help those that made it into training but didn’t graduate. We can help you learn where you went wrong and teach you what you need to know in order to pass training. Some people seem to think that attending a flight attendant school is a guaranteed ticket to getting a job as a flight attendant. Contrary to what some schools may tell you, despite their claim of a 90% placement rate, no one is guaranteed a job after attending a flight attendant school. This does not mean that they do not have value, some schools do! Schools like the Professional Flight Attendant Academy help you be best prepared for the online application, the assessments, the video interview, the face-to-face interview, and the hardest parts of training that are guaranteed to cause difficulty for some.
How do you know you going to get the best information possible to be prepared for the interviews and then make it through training? Take a look at our course developer’s experience and credentials. There is not a flight attendant school out there that can match his experience and knowledge. We have only one objective, and that’s to help you start your new career as a flight attendant. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 480-787-6440. We look forward to hearing from you!
Exit Row Seats on an airplane are among the most desirable seats available. They have more legroom, and on airplanes where it seems like space continues to shrink, sitting in an exit seat provides a little bit of extra comfort on a flight when flying economy. However, sitting in an exit seat is not just about comfort, it also comes with responsibility. Because of the additional responsibilities required of people who were seated there, should an emergency occur, they are expected to meet minimum requirements. Airlines are responsible for ensuring only qualified persons sit in an exit seat. The screening process takes place at check-in, but for some airlines, passengers are provided open seating, so flight attendants must be vigilant in screening those that sit in an exit seat. Anyone who sits in an exit seat us understand that it is not a right or a privilege to sit there. Some airlines require passengers to pay extra to sit in the seats, yet the flight attendants are charged with the responsibility of ensuring that the passenger seated meet the regulatory requirements of 14 CFR 121.585 Exit Seating.
This list is not complete, however the key points of exit seating requirements are that a person cannot sit in an exit seat if they:
- Are under 15 years of age
- If they have a responsibility to care for another person, small children for example, while seated in an exit seat. (Scenario: Dad is traveling with his 10 year old son. Dad is in the exit seat, the son is in the seat row behind him. Dad cannot sit in the exit seat as he has responsibility for a child not authorized to sit in an exit seat. Scenario: Dad is traveling with his 10 year old son, and an adult is seated with his son. Dad may sit in the exit seat as there is an adult tending to the child.).
- Have any kind of physical limitation, or likelihood of harm would occur that would restrict or cause difficulty in the operation of the emergency exit.
- They cannot hear instructions shouted by flight attendants, use of a hearing aid is acceptable (The regulatory text: (5) The person lacks sufficient aural capacity to hear and understand instructions shouted by flight attendants, without assistance beyond a hearing aid. Translation: the person cannot be deaf and sit in an exit seat. Use of a sign language communicator assistant is not acceptable, the person themselves has to have the ability to hear)
Additionally, passengers must comply with the instructions given by a crewmember implementing exit seating restrictions established in accordance with the regulation.
If a passenger does not wish to perform the functions required when seated in an exit seat, they can ask the flight attendant be reseated without being questioned why they want to change seats.
There is much more to this regulation than briefly described. You can read the full text of the regulation here, 14 CFR 121.585 Exit Seating.
Just no. Don’t do it. Don’t get the tattoo.
While you may like the way a certain tattoo looks, just because you like it doesn’t mean employers will have the same appreciation for it as well. In fact, there are some airlines that do not allow ANY tattoos anywhere on your body. They don’t care that it’s covered or on the back of your neck, hidden by your hair. Some airlines permit tattoos, but only if they are out of sight or can be covered by a long sleeve shirt or long pants. If you have one on your wrist or anywhere normally visible, sorry, you won’t get hired, and they won’t tell you why. We’re telling you now, you may think your tattoo is not your resume, but you are the image if the airline. You are the #1 marketing, public relations face of the airline. Airlines are not just names, they are brands, and airlines will and do protect their brand. What works for Hot Topic and Starbucks does’s fly, no pun intended, with image conscious airlines.
So, if you were considering getting a tattoo, we recommend you don’t. Ultimately, it’s your decision, but it may be a career roadblock. Decide what’s more important, your tattoo or your career and future. Choose wisely!