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Are you stuck in a dilemma of whether to choose an international flight attendant or a domestic flight attendant job? Try to decide which airline to apply to based on the job you will be doing and the conditions in which you will be working. Ultimately, it comes down to lifestyle and while the actual job is similar, the type of job differs and the lifestyle you will lead is in quite a contrast between the two options.

One may see family and friends with predictable regularity, the other less so. One you have to learn to sleep on a plane, the other you’ll probably get fired if you do. One is fighting against the clock, the other will find that the clock is fighting against you. Yes, the job of international flight attendant and domestic flight attendant have their differences. The basic requirements to be a domestic or international flight attendant are, of course, the same.

Must meet the same exit educational standards or GED equivalent, be in good physical health with correctable vision, be able to swim 150 feet (50 meters) fully clothed, and have a first aid certificate. Of course, he needs to be a great person with great customer service skills and preferably have significant previous “real world” customer service experience. Then there is the ability to study, be a team player, and be able to adapt to flight requirements such as working on a 24/7 roster, as well as the need or willingness to relocate to a base driven by company needs if necessary.

However, for some, the passion to experience the job of an international or domestic flight attendant sees the requirements as mere accessories or stepping stones to achieve their dream of flying. You will be saying hello and goodbye to perhaps 1,000 or more people on a work day, depending on the size and type of aircraft you are operating in during your job.

And while a typical business day would have a maximum of 4 legs, some route structures or work hours may allow days of 5 or even six legs. ‘Legs’ is airline parlance for describing a single flight from point A to point B and involves one takeoff and one landing.

The international flight attendant job is markedly different than the status quo domestic flight attendant job. Particularly with intercontinental and transatlantic work or in essence, whenever you have to do more than one service on board in one leg. Two or more services automatically means you’ll be in the air for a long time and won’t see a new batch of passengers until you’ve landed, said goodbye, and gone to your hotel for a specific sleep and rest period, which can sometimes be several days. It can wreak havoc on your personal relationships at home, though some wouldn’t otherwise because they can make it work for them. And while flying north and south is relatively easy on your body’s natural and normal circadian rhythm, flying east and west exposes you to large time swings relative to your “local body clock.”

Again, this can be managed to some degree, and for many, the sheer thrill of traveling and seeing new places, particularly in the first year or two of flying, far outweighs jet lag. However, to a large extent, the main difference between the two options is the type of work and lifestyle you will lead.

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