It Is Seven Times More Difficult To Get A Flight Attendant Job At Delta Than Enter Harvard

One of our preferred "off beat" economic indicators is how many workers apply at any one given moment in time for jobs that are hardly considered career-track. An example of this is the number of applicants for minimum wage line cook jobs at McDonalds, or flight attendant positions at Delta Airlines; conveniently, this is a series which we have tracked on and off for the past 7 years.

As regular readers may recall, back in October 2010, the Atlanta-based carrier received 100,000 applications for 1,000 jobs, an "acceptance ratio" of 1.0%. Things appeared to improve modestly in 2012 when Bloomberg reported that Delta had received 22,000 applicants for 300 flight attendant jobs: this pushed the acceptance ratio slightly higher to 1.3%, as by this point the job market had improved somewhat, and there were far better job career options available.

Fast forward to today when things have turned decidedly more grim for the US job market once again, at least based on this one particular indicator. According to CNN, Delta is once again on the hunt for new flight attendants, and has roughly 1,000 open positions for 2018, although this year the competition is virtually unprecedented: so far, Delta has received more than 125,000 applications for this hiring round, which all else equal would result in an acceptance ratio of 0.8%. Note, we said "virtually unprecedented" because this year ratio of applicants to open positions is identical to last year, when 150,000 people applied for 1,200 flight attendant jobs, resulting in an identical, 0.8% acceptance ratio.

So what makes it such a tough gig to land?

"You need to not only be a customer service professional, but also a safety expert," said Ashton Morrow, a Delta spokeswoman.

Political correctness aside, you have to be young, relatively good looking, preferably a female (sorry, sexism does exist)... oh and willing to accept next to minimum wage.

Even so, one would think one is trying to get into Harvard: applicants first submit an application, then chosen candidates submit a video of themselves answering a set of questions. Selected candidates are then asked to come in for an in-person interview. Last year, 35,000 people made it to the video interview part. The candidate pool was then whittled down to 6,000 people for in-person interviews.

The Delta "admissions committee" was happy to chime in:

"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," said Allison Ausband, Delta's senior vice president of in-flight service, in a release Monday.

Having made it so far through the process, in which the lucky candidate literally has to be better than 99 of their peers, the new hires go through an eight-week training program in Atlanta where they learn how to handle mid-flight emergencies like a fire or a sick passenger. The company describes the training program as "grueling" and that it will "stretch each trainee to the limit" in a video.

Finally, having reached the promised land, what untold wealth and riches await the lucky guy or gal? Well... nothing more than minimum wage: average entry-level flight attendants earn roughly $25,000 a year, according to the company. Wait, that's it? Well, there are perks, such as the increasingly more unaffordable - for most - employee benefits which include health insurance coverage, 401(k) with a company match and a profit-sharing program. Workers also get travel privileges for themselves and family member.

Oh, and once hired, forget about having a personal life: "work-life balance can be tricky for flight attendants early in their careers since they don't have a lot of control over their flight schedules."

For any reader contemplating applying, here are the minimum qualifications:

applicants must be at least 21 years old, have a high school degree or GED and be able to work in the U.S. Flight attendants cannot have any tattoos that are visible while in the company's uniform. Visible body piercings and earlobe plugs are also not allowed.

Putting this entire farcical process, which among other things demonstrates the true state of the US job market, Harvard's acceptance rate for the class of 2021 was 5.2%. In other words, it is 6.5x times (round it up) easier to enter Harvard than to get a job at Delta. As an attendant.  And there is your jobs supply-demand reality in one snapshot.

P.S. it is somewhat easier to get the desired job if one fits the following physical parameters.


Mtnrunnr Sanity Bear Mon, 10/23/2017 - 23:11 Permalink

how many of those job applications are zip-recruiter or bullshit spam? how many are people trying to get their unemployment benefits that require applying to x# of job per day. On top of that how many are morons that didn't finish high school? I'm willing to bet that after you remove that the numbers are probably about 1 in 10 get the job.

In reply to by Sanity Bear

MillionDollarButter Mtnrunnr Mon, 10/23/2017 - 23:29 Permalink

Get home, sit at my desk, pull up the ZH top story, bite into my tacos, sauce running down my hand so I can't use the keyboard and mouse to click on something else, and this is what I get.  Help!  I'm stuck here for 10 minutes!So, lifelong free travel vs being very qualified and paying through the nose to go into lifelong crippling debt.Have you compared lottery ticket applicants?  The lottery is very exclusive, no?

In reply to by Mtnrunnr

Manthong MillionDollarButter Tue, 10/24/2017 - 02:09 Permalink

    Awshit…. ..any non-cauc mutant can get  full scholarship into Haaaavaaaad One does not even need to have community organizer or speaking Constitutional lecturer creds …. But it might help if you are a disgusting liberal faggot with a high-ed  butt swerve.    Let’s see……… Phony birth cred… fake SSN…….. Claimed Kenya heritage….    Oops .. no… Indonesian … it don’t make no diff…… It's Haaavad … enough money in the endowment to pay every broke, starving college student in the US total expenses until Jesus comes back to earth. oh... I don't think they believe in the Creator......

In reply to by MillionDollarButter

847328_3527 Stuck on Zero Mon, 10/23/2017 - 23:27 Permalink

Try some of those domestic flights in China..Wow!I also had to fly from a smallish city in China direct to Thailand and even the female TSA agents were all 10's.Beautiful, slim and extremely polite. They made me feel so good I went thru the line twice!Then take a look at the 248lb thugs in Laguardia or Newark, LA or detroit. Trump is right about many things including how many foreign nations have moved light years ahead of USA during the horrendous, wastefull 16 years of Bush-Obama Reign of Terror.

In reply to by Stuck on Zero

Ajax-1 Gorgeous Tue, 10/24/2017 - 09:16 Permalink

On a domestic flight somewhere in the USA, a gruff and raspy voice is heard on the PA: "I am Bertha, I will be your flight attendant today. Shortly after takeoff, we will be flying over the Cascade mountains where I used to be a lumber jack. Ordinarily, the airline would offer you complimentary peanuts. However, I ate them all while waiting for you to board the aircraft. We will be flying at 1000 PMH at an altitude of 50 feet, so sit back and enjoy your flight from hell.

In reply to by Gorgeous

HRClinton overbet Mon, 10/23/2017 - 22:18 Permalink

You are 100% correct.90% of flight attendants on US carriers are pitiful: fat, ugly, old, Feminazi bitch attitude, or flaming homos.I NEVER fly on a US carrier internationally. It's also safer that way: not a target for a False Flag group of characters, intent on doing me harm.I like diversity all right, just not the US NeoLiberal kind (that makes me want to projectile vomit).

In reply to by overbet

Ace Ventura overbet Tue, 10/24/2017 - 06:54 Permalink

Ditto here. I've flown American, Delta, and JetBlue in the last three years. In all three cases, there was ALWAYS at least one gay male flight attendant. On one flight from Charlotte to OKC, all three attendants were 'men'. And no, I'm not sterotyping these guys as gay. They were obvious in ther effeminate behavior. For the female attendats, the standards for attractiveness have clearly deteriorated, and its easy to understand. For the pittance these folks make, truly attractive ladies will find far better employment elsewhere that doesnt require the disruptive grind typical of airlines.I will say that despite the preceding, the JetBlue folks were far friendlier and pleasant all around (from on-board crew to terminal/gate staff).

In reply to by overbet

J S Bach JungleCat Mon, 10/23/2017 - 20:16 Permalink

I don't know about everyone else, but most of the flights I've been on in the last few years are staffed (no pun intended) by faggot stewards.  It seems to be the new "thing" with the queer jet-set (no pun intended).  If there were more stewardesses like the above photo, I'd log (no pun intended) more miles than Al Gore on his anti-carbon tour.

In reply to by JungleCat

OverTheHedge J S Bach Tue, 10/24/2017 - 01:35 Permalink

I don't care about their sexual orientation - I won't be having sex with them, so not an issue. But why do they have to "swish"? Why this need to put on the "I'm a raving queen, scratch-your-eyes-out, ooh, look at you, Sailor-Boy" woofter act?"As a gay friend of mine once said, "Oh, you are a one!", along with saucy finger wagging and exaggerated pout.Gay is not an issue, mincing is.

In reply to by J S Bach

LawOfBass OverTheHedge Tue, 10/24/2017 - 09:27 Permalink

This is big.  To reiterate, not that it's needed but the visual of the reply might get someone's attention, not that it's needed, I'm just really stroking my ego here...  It is FLAMBOYANCE (sp) that is hard to watch.  Ok, you are gay ... understood, but WHY are you like every typical gay guy?  Can't you be gay w/o acting like a stereotypical gay?

In reply to by OverTheHedge