English for Flight Attendants – Group discussion skills for Flight Attendant interviews
Advice for flight attendants about improving your English from Aviation English Asia.
Article written by Michael Egerton
In this article I’m going to explain …
How to perform well in airline group discussion exercises
Many airlines have a group discussion exercise as part of their recruitment process for hiring fight attendants. The airline recruitment staff will be looking for candidates to demonstrate specific qualities – particularly English throughout the group assessment. Group discussion activities are a good indicator of a candidate’s confidence motivation and enthusiasm.
If you are attending a group discussion exercise you (and other candidates) will usually be required to discuss a contentious issue and come to some agreement within a time limit. During the assessment you will be given a scenario – like the one in this article and will be expected to find the best solution. Of course, it might be that other candidates will fight to get their views across. Many candidates will talk over other people but this is not the best way to demonstrate that you have the right language skills for a job as a flight attendant.
The conclusions you come to don’t have to be the right ones, but they are looking to see you come up with a logical solution and that you can communicate your views sensitively, effectively and politely.
First read the following article and answer the comprehension questions that follow.
Transsexuals are now welcome to apply to airlines for jobs as flight attendants in Thailand.
A new Thai airline called PC Air has started recruiting transsexuals to be flight attendants for the sake of offering equal opportunities to them.
Three transsexuals have already been hired in Bangkok by PC Air. One of them, 23 year old Thanyarat Jiraphatpakorn, was the winner of a beauty contest Miss Tiffany in 2007. The successful candidate said, “at first I thought they would just take applications but not actually recruit us, as happened at other places before.”
Another transsexual applicant, Panthakan Sri-ngern, 24, said she once applied for a hostess position at another airline but wasn’t chosen. She said a friend who worked there later told her she was rejected because she was transsexual. She felt devastated by the discrimination.
Panthakan, who has a hospitality and tourism degree from Kasetsart University, said this time she hoped to succeed and was glad Thai society was now giving more opportunities to transsexuals.
Peter Chan, a senior PC Air executive later revealed that PC Air saw the potential of transsexuals to work as flight attendants. “I think these people can have many careers, not just in the entertainment business, and many of them have a dream to be an air hostess. I just made their dream come true,” said Chan.
But it’s not mandatory that applicants go through surgery to be considered for a job, said Chan. What’s important is they have the necessary language skills and can provide good service. Nontransexuals were also hired.
The new batch of three transsexual recruits, who were hired together with 17 women and 10 men, will undergo training together with female flight attendants. They will also sport a “third sex” gold-coloured name tag on their uniforms to inform passengers and immigration officials about their gender.
Ang Ladlad, a group that pushes for equal rights for transsexuals welcomed the news. The group reported that there are now more than 500 transsexuals in the Philippines and many of them are having a hard time looking for decent jobs due to discrimination.
Thai airline companies, see nothing wrong in having transsexuals work as flight attendants. However, Philippine Airlines said they have not yet received any application from a transsexual for a flight attendant job. Should there be one, it is possible, they say, for the airline to change its policy about gender, which right now only recognizes male and female.
Cebu Pacific, on the other hand, is interested in the new hiring policy of PC Air. “This is an interesting development and we will be watching closely,” said Candice Iyog, vice president for marketing of Cebu Pacific.
Ang Ladlad is hoping that, as in Thailand, the public will warmly accept having transsexual flight attendants in the Philippines.
- How many transsexuals were hired by PC Air?
- Why did Panthakan Sri-ngern feel devastated?
- What did Peter Chan say was important to become a flight attendant?
- Was it necessary for candidates to have gender re-assignment surgery before applying?
- What do the transsexuals need to wear on their fight attendant uniform?
- Why do they need to wear it?
Group discussion activity
The best way to prepare for a group discussion activity is by attending a live class with Aviation English Asia, but there are ways that you can practice this kind of activity online – and get feedback. For example, you can prepare for a flight attendant group discussion exercise by answering the following scenario question as a comment below.
You are a senior manager for PC Airlines. Some of your recently recruited transsexual staff feel that they are being discriminated against by having to wear a “third sex” gold coloured name tag.
Discuss this issue with your group members and decide whether the airline should continue this policy.
What do you need to do to score well in airline group discussion exercises?
First of all – try the activity above. Post your thoughts as a comment and we will highlight some key areas that airline recruiters are looking for. But an even better way to really improve your English is to take the English for Airline Interviews course to learn 7 key areas that you need to score well in, how to perform well and impress the recruiters. You can learn English from very experienced English teachers, pilots and flight attendants who specialise in teaching English to airline staff. It’s a fantastic way to learn English and you will learn a lot from teachers who really know the airline industry.
What to do next
For feedback and more information about Aviation English Asia’s courses please visit http://aviationenglish.com. We can help you improve your English whether you are an experienced pilot, a cadet entry pilot, a controller, aerospace engineer or flight attendant, with custom courses designed specifically for your needs. If you haven’t already please join the Aviation English mailing list for instant access to free demonstration units of the ICAO Aviation English Online course, special offers and details of courses in your area.
Of course, feel free to leave a comment or even a suggestion for a future article. We value all of your feedback.