If you want to become a flight attendant for Delta, you’re going to face stiff competition: Each year, more than 100,000 people apply and less than 1 percent get the job. To put that degree of difficulty into perspective, it’s harder to fly with Delta than it is to get into Harvard, which, in 2018, accepted 4.6 percent of students.
Those lucky enough to survive the interview stage then go through an eight-week training program that covers everything from how to handle a medical emergency to how to adhere to Delta’s strict dress code. Trainees have to pass multiple tests throughout training, plus a 100-question final exam, in order to earn their wings.
For the final stage of training, flight attendants start working full-time but remain “on probation,” which means that they can’t lead any flights. If they pass the six-month probation period, they’re eligible to take on more responsibility as a flight leader.
As I learned when I spent a 10-hour day shadowing Delta flight attendant Melissa Pittman, there’s a lot more to the job than serving food and drinks to passengers. “The biggest misconception ever is the fact that people think we’re glorified waitresses,” Pittman told me.