Delta Air Lines Inc.’s search for 1,000 new flight attendants is prioritizing those with fluency in languages other than English.
The Atlanta-based carrier is looking to fill so-called “language of destination” roles, which its recruitment announcement says “offer additional pay as well as special responsibilities.”
Flight attendants on international flights are often called upon to help translate announcements at the gate, customs forms, safety procedures and even meal options. But they also offer a friendly face and point of contact for those who may not speak English or who prefer to speak their native tongue.
Delta has made it a priority to adapt its service to local tastes as much as possible as it launches new destinations around the world, often via alliances and joint ventures with other carriers. The effort starts with culturally appropriate meals, music and on-board entertainment, but it also extends to how customers are addressed.
The move to prioritize linguistic skills comes as Delta plans to grow the international segment to half its revenues in the coming years, up from about a third today.
Languages currently sought via flight-attendant job postings on Delta’s website include Dutch, Czech, Danish, German, Greek, Italian, Korean, Mandarin Chinese, Hebrew, French and Spanish. Jobs that require no bilingual skills are also available.
Language-of-destination roles require a four-year commitment and ability to perform the following special duties:
- Communicate with passengers in both languages
- Demonstrate awareness of cultural sensitivity (in direct communication and body language)
- Relay important flight safety information and updates in both languages
- Translate information from the flight deck as necessary
At a minimum, those seeking flight attendant roles should have a high-school diploma or GED and should be 21 years old by Jan. 1, 2019. Applicants with more than year of work experience, previous airline experience or experience in customer service or in roles involving safety training will up their chances at landing one of the coveted positions. In 2017, more than 270,000 people applied for 1,700 slots, the airline said. Those chosen will complete an eight-week training course at the Delta headquarters in Atlanta.
See all international and flight attendant jobs here.