Major airlines are required by law to provide flight attendants for the safety of the traveling public. Although the primary job of the flight attendants is to ensure that safety regulations are followed, they also try to make flights comfortable and enjoyable for passengers.
are briefed by the captain, the pilot in command, on such things as emergency evacuation procedures, crew coordination, length of flight, expected weather conditions, and special passenger issues
At least one hour before each flight, flight attendants:
make sure that first aid kits and other emergency equipment are aboard and in working order and that the passenger cabin is in order, with adequate supplies of food, beverages, and blankets
As passengers board the plane, flight attendants:
check their tickets
tell them where to store coats and carry-on items
Before the plane takes off, flight attendants:
instruct all passengers in the use of emergency equipment
check to see that seat belts are fastened, seat backs are in upright positions, and all carry-on items are properly stowed
In the air, helping passengers in the event of an emergency is the most important responsibility of a flight attendant.
Safety-related actions may range from reassuring passengers during occasional encounters with strong turbulence to directing passengers who must evacuate a plane following an emergency landing.
Flight attendants also:
answer questions about the flight
distribute reading material, pillows, and blankets
help small children, elderly or disabled persons, and any others needing assistance
administer first aid to passengers who become ill
serve beverages and other refreshments and, on many flights, heat and distribute precooked meals or snacks
Prior to landing, flight attendants:
take inventory of headsets, alcoholic beverages, and moneys collected
report any medical problems passengers may have had, and the condition of cabin equipment
In addition to performing flight duties, flight attendants sometimes make public relations appearances for the airlines during "career days" at high schools and at fundraising campaigns, sales meetings, conventions, and other goodwill occasions.
Lead, or first, flight attendants, sometimes known as pursers, oversee the work of the other attendants aboard the aircraft, while performing most of the same duties.