American Airlines New Flight Attendant Questions

Discussion in 'American Airlines' started by FriendlySkiesFA, Oct 4, 2018.

  1. FriendlySkiesFA

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    Hi all - I am interested in applying for a position as an AA flight attendant. I was wondering if anyone could help answer some questions I had:
    • About how many hours a month on reserve can you expect to fly in the beginning?
    • About how long do they keep you on reserve?
    • When it comes to where you are based, how exactly does that work? Do they give you any options or are you just assigned a base?
    • Are there certain bases you are more likely to be placed at if you only speak English?
    • How many years can you expect to be at the base you are first assigned to?

    Thank you in advance for any help or advice, very much appreciated!
     
  2. jimntx

    jimntx Veteran

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    i've separated the answers into separate paragraphs. Be aware I am a retired AA f/a. some of my answers may be incorrect and/or out of date.

    1. You will have to wait for a currently employed f/a to answer the reserve question. Reserve is very different--both the hours, the frequency and the pattern from when I was on reserve.
    2. The length of time on reserve is totally dependent on how fast f/as senior to you retire, quit, or die. Well there is also the issue of the number of flight attendants needed as the flying expands. Seniority and the company's projection of reserves needed in any given month is everything. I was completely off reserve for 2 years starting in 2013, then changes to the projected need for reserves pulled me back on reserve for 2 separate reserve months before I retired 11/30/2017. It's complicated.
    3. Near the end of training, your class will be asked to bid for base assignments based on seniority in the class (which is based on your birthday.) If there are active f/as on the transfer list for a particular base, and the company can not find space for those f/as in that base, you will not be allowed to bid for that base. I got DFW right out of training. The class 2 weeks ahead of me was the first class since 1992 to place graduates at DFW. If I remember correctly, you will be asked to bid for your 3 top bases in preference order. To the extent that they can--taking bases vacancies and seniority into account---they will assign you your first preference. If by the time they get to your class seniority, all the available spaces for your #1 base have been filled, they will assign you your 2nd or 3rd preference. If all 3 of your preferences are filled, you will be advised to bid again for remaining space in other bases.
    4. Speaking English only has never been an issue in base assignments. It's when you are fluent in another language that base assignment becomes important. For instance, if you speak Hungarian (we just started service to Budapest this year from Philadelphia), and you are certified by the company as a Hungarian speaker (you have to pass a test to become a speaker in any language), it would make no sense to assign you to a base that doesn't have service to Hungary unless Philadelphia has all the speakers it needs.
    5. Once you are assigned to a base, you will be there forever as long as the base exists and you want to remain there. If a base has an extensive reduction in force due to a cutback in the flying from that base, the company will ask for volunteers to transfer to available bases. If not enough people volunteer, they will force transfers in reverse seniority order--i.e., most junior f/as go first. There is a system to handle transfer requests based upon seniority and the needs of that base. Certain bases are difficult to transfer into because people like the lifestyle in that base or it's more affordable. There is no cost of living differential in pay. So, you are paid the same hourly amount whether you are assigned to DFW or St. Louis (which both have reasonable costs of living) or LGA in New York City where new f/as sleep 15 to a 2-bedroom apartment in bunk beds in order to afford the job. (Not judgin', just sayin'.)
    As an addendum, the transfer list system (assuming you have the patience) gives you the chance to live in and experience a wide variety of U.S. cities. Just move around as openings become available. Gives you a chance to try out the living in New York or Miami or San Francisco. However, IIRC there is some limit to the length of time you must be assigned to a base before you can transfer.

    But, if your first concern is which base you fly from and where you will live, I wouldn't bother applying if I were you. If they suspect that you will not stay if you don't get assigned to the base you want (we had one of those people in my new hire class), they will drop you from training post haste--and they can remove you from training for any reason.
     
  3. FriendlySkiesFA

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    This was helpful thank you! Would be great to hear from a current AA fa. My first concern is not which base I'm at, I was just curious how that worked. Thanks.
     
  4. UPNAWAY

    UPNAWAY Veteran

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    All in all I think it a great time to enter the industry as a Mechanic, FA or Pilot. We have a very old workforce that will be retiring in droves over then next decade. Plus more Industry stability than any of us olds ever experienced.
     
  5. lpbrian

    lpbrian Veteran

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    Not a a good time to enter the industry as a mechanic, meaning AMT. Especially AA.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  6. jimntx

    jimntx Veteran

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    Don't bet on those FA's retiring. There is no mandatory retirement age for FAs. When I started in September, 2000 at the age of 55, there were two flight attendants on the active seniority list who started with AA before I was born.:eek:
     
  7. jimntx

    jimntx Veteran

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    #7 jimntx, Oct 5, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2018
    You're more than welcome. In my working years I had 5 separate and different careers (that I'll admit to). Flight attendant was by far the most fun and the most rewarding job I ever held. If it weren't for some side affects as the result of surgery for a ruptured disc in my neck, I might still be doing it. So, work on getting selected for training and enjoy the job to the fullest. You will run across flight attendants who ***** constantly about what a terrible job it is, but watch them shut up when you suggest that they quit and find another job. They are not going to give up a job where you can exchange trips with another flight attendant without having to get permission from anyone. On the whole you rarely work more than 3-4 days a week unless you want or need to, and you can drop trips to expand your time off. And, you get free airfare for your personal trips/vacations/etc. Oh, and you don't have to live at your base. A lot of flight attendants commute (free of charge, space available) to/from work. I had a friend who was a senior flight attendant at Continental, based in Houston. She lived in Hawaii and flew to Houston to work her Houston-Tokyo turn (all she ever flew) Can't beat it.

    And, a little secret to making it a truly enjoyable job. On just about every flight, you will run across a passenger who is "difficult." And, nothing you can do is going to suit them. Just keep in the back of your mind, the thought that in 3 hours or less (on most domestic flights) you will never see this passenger again, and you can put up with just about anything for 3 hours.:rolleyes:
     

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