Careers advice

10 essential skills for cabin crew jobs in NZ

Take your career to the skies.

Last updated: 8 December 2023

With the exception of some of our country’s most iconic birds, Aotearoa is a nation of fliers. Of course, our status as an island makes it a necessity to fly if we want to go anywhere overseas. But. even within the bounds of the motu, flying between cities is a much more common mode of transport that is in other countries of a similar size.

All of this means there’s a high demand for cabin crew, both with domestic carriers, like Air New Zealand and JetStar, as well as the many international companies that come and go from Aotearoa’s skies.

And there’s a lot to love about taking on a job as cabin crew. Not only do you have the option of travelling the world, but it’s generally a sociable profession where you can form real bonds with those around you, and learn lots of transferable skills. Here’s a look at what you’ll need to master in order to make a career in the skies a reality.

1. Exceptional communication skills

Communication lies at the heart of a cabin crew role. From briefing passengers on safety procedures to looking after diverse passenger needs, the ability to communicate effectively is paramount. Fluency in English is a must, but being bi or multilingual will be a real asset, and something that would really help you stand out from the crowd when putting together your CV.

2. Safety and emergency procedures

The safety of passengers and crew is paramount. Extensive training in safety protocols, emergency procedures, and first aid is mandatory for cabin crew roles. Your ability to remain composed and take charge during emergencies is crucial for ensuring the wellbeing of everyone onboard.

You’ll also need to be able to take care of your own wellbeing, because if you’re tired, stressed or distracted, this can have huge implications for the passengers you’re responsible for.

Keeping the passengers safe is your primary responsibility.

3. Impeccable customer service

A warm, welcoming demeanour coupled with the ability to provide top-notch customer service is key. As a cabin crew member, you'll be the face of the airline, ensuring passengers feel comfortable, attended to, and valued throughout their journey. Your ability to handle inquiries, complaints, and requests capably will define the passenger experience. Bear in mind, as well, that you’ll have to deal with people who are fearful of flying, as well as those who get travel sickness and, as with any customer facing role, the occasional simply grumpy traveller.

4. Problem-solving aptitude

Quick thinking and adaptability are essential traits. Cabin crew often encounter unexpected challenges mid-flight, from turbulence to passenger issues. Being able to think on your feet, stay calm under pressure, and swiftly resolve problems is crucial for maintaining a smooth travel experience. Remember, those who aren’t happy fliers will look first to their cabin crew if they think anything is amiss, so your ability to remain calm, even in genuinely stressful situations, is key.

5. Teamwork and collaboration

Working in a confined space for long periods requires strong teamwork, particularly if you throw jetlag and unusual working hours into the mix. You'll be part of a crew responsible for the safety and comfort of passengers. Collaborating effectively with fellow crew members, pilots, and ground staff is vital for ensuring efficient operations and a harmonious work environment.

6. Physical stamina and wellness

The nature of the job demands physical endurance. Long flights, irregular schedules, and time zone changes can take a toll on your body. Maintaining good health, fitness, and a balanced lifestyle is essential to cope with the demands of the role effectively.

7. Attention to detail

Cabin crew members are responsible for numerous tasks, including checking equipment, ensuring the aircraft is secure, and attending to passenger needs. Being meticulous and detail-oriented is vital to avoid oversights that could compromise safety or passenger satisfaction.

Remaining professional, even in stressful circumstances, is key for cabin crew staff.

8. Cultural sensitivity and awareness

We’re fortunate to live in a country like Aotearoa New Zealand, which is a melting pot of cultures. And this diversity will be multiplied tenfold if you get a job in a cabin crew. Even if you’re only working on domestic flights, our country is a mecca for tourists, meaning you’ll encounter people from all across the globe. Understanding and respecting cultural differences is essential for providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for passengers from various backgrounds.

9. Professionalism and etiquette

Maintaining a professional demeanour at all times is a cornerstone of cabin crew roles. Whether interacting with passengers or handling in-flight situations, adhering to the airline's standards of professionalism and etiquette is crucial.

This extends to everything from the way you interact with colleagues and customers to ensuring your uniform is clean and tidy each day you turn up to work.

10. Flexibility and adaptability

The aviation industry is dynamic and subject to frequent changes. Being flexible and adaptable to varying schedules, flight routes, and unforeseen circumstances is key to thriving in this fast-paced environment.

In pursuit of a cabin crew career in Aotearoa New Zealand, honing these skills through relevant training, experience, and continuous self-improvement is essential. Remember, the role of a cabin crew member extends beyond the glamorous portrayal often seen in films and on the TV; it's a blend of dedication, responsibility, and passion for ensuring the comfort and safety of passengers.

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Al Hall
Al Hall

Al Hall is a regular contributor at Trade Me Jobs and Trade Me Property. He’s dedicated to helping people succeed in their aspirations to find their dream job and place to live.