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Delta Air Lines

Delta Flight Attendant Application Harder Than Harvard

Delta Flight Attendant Application Harder Than Harvard
Jennifer Billock

Want to be a flight attendant? You’re better off applying to Harvard – there’s a better chance you’ll get in.

Delta Airlines recently announced more than 1,000 flight attendant openings. And they’ve got a lot of work to do to sift through potential new employees; more than 125,000 people applied. Delta noted in its News Hub release that the hiring process would be incredibly competitive. The company only hires 1 percent of applicants – and that’s a lower acceptance rate than an Ivy League school; Harvard’s acceptance rate in 2016 was 5.1 percent.

“Earning and wearing the wings of Delta is something our flight attendants are proud of and passionate about, as they should be,” Allison Ausband, Delta’s Senior Vice President – In-Flight Service, said in the News Hub release. “After making it through the highly competitive and exhaustive selection process, they put all their previous experience and skills to the test during our flight attendant initial training. There’s no doubt we hire the best of the best because the caliber of people wanting to work for our great airline is top-notch. They see that what makes Delta different is our people and the unique culture we share together, and they want to be part of that winning team.”

Former and current flight attendants can speak to how true that is, noting that the job is incredibly demanding and requires a significant amount of skill.

“We’re not just waitresses in the sky,” Shawn Kathleen, a former flight attendant and police officer that runs the Passenger Shaming Instagram account, told Moneyish. “We’re not just there to pour your soda. Our first priority is to keep you safe and that’s what those weeks of training are for: learning self-defense and how to take care of violent passengers and how to do CPR if someone’s heart stops. Being a flight attendant was 100 percent harder than being a cop. And they have to hire people who can handle it.”

[Photo: Shutterstock]

View Comments (18)


  1. FlagrantViola

    November 24, 2017 at 7:09 am

    Silly article. It’s fair to write about the low hire rate among applicants at Delta, but that doesn’t mean that it’s “harder” than applying to Harvard.
    I doubt that Delta flight attendants have the same academic requirements, and I’m pretty sure the denominators among the two pools are rather different in their accomplishments and abilities.

  2. ChinaShrek

    November 24, 2017 at 9:31 am

    Makes sense. You will have lifetime employment with one of the best companies in the United States. The benefits are also excellent.

  3. Alex_I

    November 24, 2017 at 10:03 am

    With all due respect why you are comparing admission to Harvard to working as a flight attendant for DL??? The proper comparison would be a competition for participants of the “Wheel of Fortune” or something like this.
    Indeed, for an admission to Harvard:
    1) Do you need a certain GPA and test scores? Would DL comment on those for their flight attendants?
    2) Are you ready to pay ca. $43,280/year (this is for 2016 and not 2018) for tuition and fees at Harvard for ca. 4 years vs. collecting salary from DL?
    3) Finally, Harvard charges $75 to apply (unless there is a waiver). How about DL?

  4. Cedar Jet

    November 24, 2017 at 1:46 pm

    Worst experience I’ve ever had in the air travelling first class. On the ground even worse….disinterested and unprofessional staff. Pilots eyeing up their cabin crew prior to take off…..cabin crew on mobile phones on boarding drinking coffee….’premium’ snacks on a 2+ hour flight. Crap….nth American airlines will never have the style professionalism and quality of ME3 Australasian or Asian carriers. You can see what a joke this article is after my experience.

  5. 1readyset2go

    November 24, 2017 at 9:10 pm

    “Being a flight attendant was 100 percent harder than being a cop”

    You have got to be kidding me. They can’t even handle lifting your bag for you to the bin because they (and their union) are scarred They might get hurt, but yes it so much harder than being a cop!

  6. WorldLux

    November 25, 2017 at 3:59 pm

    Certainly a click-baity heading.

  7. djjaguar64

    November 26, 2017 at 9:27 am

    No matter how difficult it may be to get in, they never produce outstanding crew!

  8. dogcanyon

    November 26, 2017 at 11:21 am

    “Being a flight attendant was 100 percent harder than being a cop.” What an idiotic statement! How much of the law do you have to know to be a flight attendant? Plus, in the unlikely event that you encounter a violent passenger, you are 100% certain that he/she is not armed and you have the rest of the crew (plus potentially hundreds of passengers) to come to your aid.

  9. rebadc

    November 27, 2017 at 1:42 am

    The Passenger Shaming Instagram account?

  10. vickh

    November 27, 2017 at 8:54 pm

    The author needs to take a math/ statistics class, maybe at Harvard if they can get in

  11. matrixwalker2012

    November 29, 2017 at 8:34 am

    The only reason Harvard’s admission rate isn’t lower than it is because a large number of potential applicants self-select out of not applying because they know they are simply not competitive and are not willing to waste the application fee when they know they are not competitive enough.

    Essentially, everyone who applies to Harvard is an ‘all-star’ in their high school. People who get into Harvard are the all-stars of all-stars.

  12. djjaguar64

    November 29, 2017 at 9:19 am

    US airlines might as well hire security guards to work onboard their planes, I mean security is paramount.

  13. NYC96

    November 29, 2017 at 4:18 pm

    Wow. So, anyone get the jest of the article? Its tough to get hired by Delta because its so competitive. Literally, thousands apply and few get hired. 1 out of 125 get the job, ouch, thats competitive.

  14. aclanders

    November 30, 2017 at 4:21 am

    You must be kidding me?!?!?
    I have over a million miles on Delta and I can tell you their flight attendants are one of the weakest links in their business. They tend to be too old and frail to do their jobs well, many are grumpy and in plenty of cases physically unfit to assist (or make it down the narrow aisles easily) in the case of an emergency. In other cases they are too concerned about their hairdos or fake nails to give passengers the service needed. Delta needs to take some cues from Asian carriers when selecting and training FAs.

  15. evans88

    November 30, 2017 at 4:56 am

    I very much doubt whether a single applicant for a flight attendant job with Delta would get into Harvard. The statistical comparison this article seeks to draw is a nonsense.

  16. nax5de16x10

    November 30, 2017 at 5:54 am

    If it’s so hard to get to be a flight attendant, it must be much harder to get to be a pilot since they make a lot more money and have a great deal of responsibility for the lives of the passengers. ygtbsm

  17. KRSW

    November 30, 2017 at 7:14 am

    To me, Harvard would be the easier and more desirable task. Putting up with self-entitled, drunk, and ignorant passengers? I love to fly, but that’s not worth it to me.

  18. kkua

    November 30, 2017 at 7:20 am

    It’s an unfair numerical comparison. They need to also restrict the numbers to compare to just the entry level undergrads, not total enrollment per graduating class. Also, remember that Harvard admission is a stable number based on graduating students within 4-5 years. Delta new hire positions are based on airline projected growth and staff attrition/retirement. Their timeframes are not similar at all.

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