Go inside Southwest Airlines flight attendant training

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

DALLAS, TX (KTVI)-The largest air carrier at Lambert Airport has opened a new training facility for new flight attendants.  Southwest Airlines opened the new training center last year in Dallas, Texas. FOX 2 went behind the scenes for a look.

The job of a flight attendant is lot more than serving a soda and a bag of peanuts.

Instructor Becky Hickey says, “This is really serious business. We’re not playing down here. This is the real thing.”

The teachers are veteran flight attendants.  Students repeatedly use the word intense to describe the demanding five week course inside this brand new $120 million, 492,000 square-foot, energy-efficient Training and Operational Support (TOPS) building.

Bayne Barnes, a student in the program, “It’s very hard. And for me to be able to handle anything is the rewarding part about it.”

Eight hours a day, five days a week the students are in class. They learn C.P.R. and how to be prepared for all kinds of medical emergencies.

Instructor Margo Valencia says, “I have helped a passenger who went into a diabetic coma basically.”

Students put in many hours in a room that contains many simulators for hands on experiences. Things like learning to open the door above the wing, inflate life vests, and how to operate the emergency rafts.

They train in a jet mock-up. With hydraulics underneath, students feel severe turbulence. Inside the plane, oxygen masks come down all the time and the emergency slides are deployed frequently.

Hickey said, “I’ve flow 29 years for Southwest and I am ready for anything because of the training I’ve gone through.”

Every year about 1,000 people are selected to become a flight attendant.   Southwest is very picky.  It’s easier getting into a big name Ivy League university than being hired by the airline.

Student Katheri Angion said, “It’s very, very tough. A lot of people have tried for years to get in and I’m blessed to be here.”

Barnes added, “Very tough to get in. I got in on the second try and it took a long response and there’s a lot of competition out there.”

When students receive their final report card, B’s and B’s are not acceptable.

Hickey said, “They all graduate as straight ‘A’ student because you can’t make less than a ‘A’ on your test. You have to make 90 or above. So when they graduate these students they are straight ‘A’ students.”

FOX 2 Newsletters

Sign up for a newsletter from FOX 2 to get updates about news and weather. We offer daily headlines, breaking news, severe weather, and forecast emails.

About FOX 2 News

FOX 2 and KPLR 11 in St. Louis cover the news in Missouri and Illinois. There are over 68 hours of live news and local programming on-air each week. Our website and live video streams operate 24/7. Download our apps for alerts and follow us on social media for updates in your feed.

President Harry Truman said: “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” That spirit is alive and well at Fox 2. Our teamwork is on display each and every day.

Our news slogan is: “Coverage You Can Count On.” We quite frankly are too busy to worry about who gets the credit. Our main concern is serving the viewer.

We go where the stories take us. Whether it be Washington, D.C when a Belleville man opened fire during a congressional baseball game practice or to Puerto Rico where local Ameren crews restored power after more than 5 months in the dark.

Coverage You Can Count On means “Waking up your Day” with our top-rated morning show. From 4:00 am-10:00 am we are leading the way with breaking news. But our early morning crew also knows how to have some fun! Our strong commitment to the communities we serve is highlighted with our Friday neighborhood shows.

Our investigative unit consists of three reporters. Elliott Davis focuses on government waste, Chris Hayes is our investigative reporter, and Mike Colombo is our consumer reporter. They work in unison with the news department by sharing resources and ideas.

We continue to cover breaking news aggressively and relied on our seasoned journalists to make a difference with the stories we covered. The shooting of Arnold Police Officer Ryan O’Connor is just one example of that. Jasmine Huda was the only reporter who had exclusive access to the O’Connor family during his amazing rehabilitation in Colorado.

Last, but certainly not least, FOX 2 and KPLR 11 are committed to covering local politics. We host debates among candidates and have the most extensive presidential election coverage. Our commitment to politics isn’t just during an election year. We produce two political shows that air every weekend.


Latest News

More News