How to become a Flight Attendant – Step 2: Earning Your Wing

Hey future flight attendants, did you notice how I –casually- put earning in the title? That’s because you don’t just ‘get’ your flight attendant wing, you have to work for it, pretty hard, too, actually. It took me four weeks of getting up at 4:15 in the morning, studying on the train ride to Schiphol and approximately 2,5 panic attacks to get where I am now: a fully participating flight attendant. How? This is how.


It may have sounded like the 2,5 panic attacks were a joke, but they certainly weren’t. I’m a wreck when it comes to testing and exams, I get all worked up and nervous because I’m afraid I might fail. And let me tell you, I have done more tests in those four weeks than I ever have in all my life (not true, but that’s how it felt at the time). Applying for the job and go through the recruitment process as I described in part I, seemed nothing compared to these weeks.


Flight safety in training and exams

Just to give you an idea: you will get tested on all aspects of flight safety in a written test. Things like ‘emergency procedures’ and ‘normal procedures’ and ‘equipment’ and ‘oxygen’ suddenly become the most important things you’ll ever hear. Then there are the so called ‘door-drills’ where you are required to open aircraft doors in emergency situations.

We did a first aid exam, complete with CPR doll and AED systems. We did an equipment exam, demonstrating our knowledge about the use of, for example, oxygen bottles and fire extinguishers. And then, of course, there was the simulator. Where we practiced full blown evacuations, complete with smoke, passengers (fellow students) and jumping and sliding. Quite a list huh? And that’s not even all of it.


becoming a flight attendant slide

Simulation raft

Motivation for being a flight attendant

You don’t realise how well trained flight attendants actually are. It surprises me, and it makes me feel even safer as a passenger. It made the job even more appealing to me. The bigger picture kept me moving. I knew during my time in training what I had to do to get where I wanted to be. But it also makes me see flight attendants in a different – even better – light.

Now, I certainly hope I never need to use all the flight safety emergency training I had. But knowing how to respond when something happens and knowing all sorts of things about the aircraft you’re working in has made me feel better than I ever have about being (very) high up in the air.


There’s no ‘I’ in team

I will never forget the group of people I got to share this experience with. And how we were passengers (and crew) in the simulator, trying not to laugh at each other during the flight safety demonstration, fumbling around with oxygen masks and life vests. How we got to tackle big guys at the KMAR and then each other. Huddling together in a pool with clothes (and a life vest!) on and trying to climb onto a raft as a team. Or escaping from a smoked up room with your crew and how it felt discovering and putting out fires. But above all.. how it feels to be part of a group in which every single person passed all the exams (with flying colours might I add) and proceeded to receive their wing: PROUD!


In case you missed my first blog about the selection procedure, read it here.

Posted by:   Esmee Droog  | 
Join the conversation Show comments

Jessica R

i would love to be apart of KLM
did they recruit asian ppl ?


KLM hires people, not the boxes we put each other into. It’s a great company (and I don’t even work for them) and a great airline.

If I was 20 years younger, I would apply – so why don’t you? :-)


If KLM is hiring you can find it here:

Good luck!

Terje Hitsøy

It is very nice to hear that almost everything is ok in KLM.It is the fightcompany i trust most i the whole world.


Enjoy every minute! to see you on board sometime!
Xx Valerie


<3! Likewise!

Leon de Groot

Very nice story Esmee, a lot of memories came back reading your blog.
I was steward from Sept. 1969 until April 1973, at that time a stewardess had a 5 year contract and a steward (called hofmeester k.v. at that time) became a contract for 2.8 years or 3.5 years. I had a contract for 3.5 years because a got, what we called, a Moscow visa, that meant that you have to fly a longer period with European flights only.
So, I flew a KLM flight from Moscow to Tokyo in a Aeroflot Iljoesjin 62 together with a Russian crew. The flight deck door was locked during the whole flight, only arriving in Tokyo I met the flight officers. Flying together with Nigerian Airline in a Boeing 727 was a very different experience. KLM did not have Boeing airplanes at that time. I better stop writing, a lot of memories are coming up in my mind. I made absolutely the very best of my KLM years, later made regularly (Royal Class) business trips to the Far East. You have no idea how nice it was after a trip of 2/3 weeks and waiting for the Blue Bird to arrive, how proud I was to be a KLM member. Coming on board felt like being at home. What ever you will do in your later life, you will always keep a Blue Hart.

Jeff Anderson

Customers often don’t appreciate the hard work and dedication it takes for Cabin crew to gain their ‘wings’ and to keep smiling through some very trying situations. Well done to you all.


I would love that! Ik zou heel graag willen

liesbeth Mur

I have been a flight-attendant for 40 years and enjoyed each flight. I would not have missed it. Despite the long working hours, the time difference and the some times diffucult flights. It is a way of living, to meet so many different people
and to work with nice colleques. I am proud to be part of KLM.


I hear you! I feel the same way and I have been working for a month and a half. It’s such a special job. Thanks for your lovely message!


Congratulations! Love reading of the progress you made! Please do continue to write for the blog


Thanks so much! Such a nice comment :)!

Ana Paula

Just a curious. To be a flight attendant in KLM do we have what age? And do they have amanhe limit ? Or just young Not to much old? Cause I’m 42.


Hi Ana,

Age doesn’t matter, but they are not always hiring. Whenever there’s a job opening you can find it here:

Good luck!

Nel van Kuijeren

Wat een leuk artikel en toch wel iets heel anders dan “serveerster in de lucht” zoals nogal eens denigrerend wordt gezegd… Komt heel wat voor kijken om de felbegeerde “Wing” in ontvangst te mogen nemen. Nog altijd trots op onze dochter Miranda van Kuijeren die jarenlang voor de veiligheid en het welbehagen van velen passagiers heeft mogen zorgen.


Love your story, sounds very interesting. Definitely something to think it over as I am want changing in my profession.


Go for it, Jenny! I can recommend this job ;)!

Janelle Prytula

I would love to become a Flight Attendant. I am a customer service representative in YEG Canada. Are they recuiting? How can I get started to become part of the inflight team? I would love to follow my dream.

greg taylor

I love the color of the uniforms,but still need the caps,but still nice


Great story, always good to highlight the ‘less glamorous’ yet most important part of the job, and then to realize the need to go through this stress annually in a requal…


Right! The recurrent training and exam every year. Thanks a bunch for your comment, Alexander!

Silvano read

Becoming a flight attendent is still my dream. Only one step left to being one…..i will flight one day with the blues.

charles aryee-hyde

I love the blues, would loveto be part of the team soon.


Every time I traveled to Europe, KLM is always my number one airline. I never settle for any other airline. I always feel that in KLM – I am in good hands. Keep it up. See you mid September on board. Very nice blog


Thank you Lolita! Hope to see you on board someday!



How long is the course you did the be a attendant?

P van de Gevel

Congratulations I know exactly the same feeling I’m 4 days away from earning my 3rd wing with my new carrier – after close to 7 long weeks panic attacks about failing . I wish people realised and appreciated how much training is involved. Fly safe xx and good luck

Nathaniel figaroa

I want to join your crew


I have always wanted to work for KLM but never thought I could as not a strong swimmer.

So what swimming exercise you have to do?

Abbasali Khimji

I like to be part of KLM I am from Birmingham city in the UK how do u apply to be part of the crew


This is exactly how my training was and I loved it and it was great.
And even better was being a flight attendant for years and years. Wearing this blue uniform made me proud.
still miss it!!


I have been thinking of a career. How much is to take this course ? I live in kingston ontario Canada


Congratulations Esmee on your inspirational story. You are one of the gems in Mlm. Keep it up girl. I hope will be meeting you in future.

M sandeval

Love it, send me an aplicación

Brian young

I am looking for a challanging new carrier .
I have exalent peopal skills and can work in challanging situations.
As i am a ex army vetran and have been on oparational tours meny times.
Please let me know how to apply.
Yours greatfully
Brian young


Thank you for sharing Esmee. And congratulations on your accomplishments. I have always had a level of respect for flight attendants but your blog has raised that level right to the top shelf.


It all sounds great … I’ve heard great things about them!
However, I don’t see much diversity in the crew members in the picture.
Wonder what that is? Hmmmm….

Cornelius Krynen

My experience with KLM is similar to Leon de Groot’s, I worked for about 5 years as a “Steward” for KLM, and although I have been working now for 27years as a Flight Attendant for a major Canadian Airline, I still have a “Blue Hart”.

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