Ministry of Business and Innovation - Occupation Outlook

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Flight Attendants

Job Prospects

Job Prospects... At a glance

Opportunities are influenced by the number of international visitors to New Zealand.

The growing tourism industry means Air New Zealand – the main employer of flight attendants – is flying to more destinations. Most opportunities are in Auckland and Christchurch, where the largest domestic and international airports are based. Strong demand for entry-level and senior flight attendants is expected in these two centres for the next few years. Outside these centres demand is more limited.

How to become a flight attendant

What they do

Flight attendants work on passenger aircraft, looking after passengers during the flights. Their many duties include operating emergency equipment, assisting people with special needs on board and serving food and drinks.

Their tasks may include:

  • managing safety and emergency procedures and making public announcements
  • coordinating the sale of goods to passengers and completion of any customs and immigration documentation which may be required
  • conducting safety checks and demonstrations of safety equipment and procedures
  • assisting passengers in emergency drills, carrying out emergency procedures, assisting and directing passengers in emergencies
  • checking passengers' tickets and directing them to seats and cabins
  • tidying aircraft, ship and railway cabins, and receiving and stowing food, equipment and cabin baggage
  • operating galleys, preparing and heating food for passengers, and serving refreshments and meals
  • distributing reading material, pillows, blankets and other amenities for the comfort of passengers.

Qualifications needed

To become a flight attendant in New Zealand you must:

  • be a New Zealand resident
  • be at least 18 years old
  • hold a current first aid certificate
  • hold a current passport without restrictions
  • pass aviation security clearance checks.

Individual airlines may have additional requirements including

  • be between 160cm and 187cm tall
  • pass a reach test and medical exam
  • have a certain standard of eyesight in order to carry out emergency procedures without glasses
  • be able to swim 50m unaided
  • be reasonably strong because they may have to lift heavy bags and emergency equipment.

There are also some personal grooming aspects to consider. The airlines tend not to want visible tattoos or piercings.

There are no specific secondary educational requirements, but a minimum of three years’ secondary education is required. Fluency in a second language is an advantage, particularly Cantonese, Fijian, French, German, Japanese, Mandarin, Samoan or Tongan.

Each airline has its own training programme. Once accepted, trainee flight attendants complete a training course and relevant assessments before starting work aboard an aircraft. Ongoing training or refresher courses also help to maintain and develop skills.

The three main airlines that operate within and from New Zealand are Air New Zealand, Qantas and Jetstar.

Air New Zealand: 

Cost of study

Flight Attendant Training

The cost of the study is usually borne by the airline, and your employment is conditional upon your successful completion of the training programme.

Rents vary from place to place. Estimated market rents by region, city and suburb are available on the MBIE Tenancy Services website.

The StudyLink website provides general budget advice for students, and the Sorted website provides help with detailed budget planning.

Tenancy Services: 

Income and employment prospects


In 2019, the estimated average income for a flight attendant was $54,500.

Estimated Average Income

Source: MBIE estimates based on Statistics NZ Census and Labour Cost Index.

Employment and skill shortages

Flight attendants’ employment

HistoricProjected Growth
2006 2013 2023 2028
2,034 1,974 1,900 1,960
  -0.4% -0.7% 0.5%

Source: Statistics NZ Census and MBIE projections. Percentages are compound annual growth rates.
*Growth projections are for the broader category “Personal Services and Travel Workers”.

Employment in the broader category, ‘Personal services and travel workers’ fell slightly from 2006 to 2013. Employment in that broader category is expected to fall slightly to 2023, with small increases out to 2028

Employment chart

Source: Statistics NZ Census and MBIE projections

Flight attendants are not on Immigration New Zealand’s skill shortage lists.

Immigration NZ, skill shortage list:

Where to find job vacancies

Flight attendant vacancies are advertised through the airlines.

Air New Zealand: 
Virgin Pacific 

Or you may find vacancies on the Seek or TradeMe Jobs websites.

Trade Me Jobs: 

Career path

The biggest single employer of flight attendants in this country is Air New Zealand. Most years, the airline conducts recruitment drives and takes on new staff.

Flight attendants can work on short-haul (destinations no more than four hours away) or long-haul (international) flights. There are opportunities to progress to senior roles such as senior flight attendant or purser. There are also opportunities to transfer to ground-based jobs such as check-in agent or customer service.

Related occupations

The following occupations are related roles or alternative titles. Some of the roles may require a higher level of skill than entry-level flight attendants.

  • Cabin Supervisor
  • Marine Steward
  • Travel Agent
  • Travel Attendant

Other information


More information on becoming a flight attendant is available on the Careers New Zealand website.

Careers New Zealand:


The Australian New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) is the official classification of occupations in New Zealand.

The occupation of flight attendants has been coded to the following ANZSCO code for the purpose of this report:

4517 – Travel Attendants