Have you ever dreamed of jet-setting around the world as a flight attendant but worried that a felony conviction might dash your hopes? If you’re wondering whether airlines hire felons as flight attendants, you’re not alone.

Many people would love the travel perks and decent pay of this customer service job but aren’t sure if their criminal record disqualifies them.

The short answer is yes, it is possible to become a flight attendant with a felony, but it depends on the specific circumstances. Airlines have strict hiring standards, so having a criminal history will make it harder, but not necessarily impossible, to land this competitive job.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explain everything you need to know about getting hired as a flight attendant with a felony conviction. You’ll learn airline hiring policies, how to improve your chances, which airlines are more open-minded, strategies for handling the background check, and much more.

Airline Hiring Policies on Felonies

When it comes to hiring flight attendants, most airlines have strict policies when it comes to felony convictions. These policies are in place to ensure the safety and security of passengers and crew members.

However, it is important to note that each airline may have slightly different hiring policies, so it is always best to check with the specific airline you are interested in working for.

Most Have Blanket Bans on Serious Convictions

Unfortunately, the majority of airlines have blanket bans on hiring individuals with serious felony convictions. This includes crimes such as murder, sexual assault, terrorism, and drug trafficking. These types of convictions are seen as high-risk and can disqualify an individual from being considered for a flight attendant position.

One of the main reasons airlines have these blanket bans is due to the potential risks associated with having someone with a serious criminal history on board an aircraft. Airlines prioritize the safety and well-being of their passengers and crew, and hiring individuals with serious felony convictions could pose a threat to this.

Exceptions May Be Made on a Case-by-Case Basis

While most airlines have strict policies, there are some cases where exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis. Airlines understand that people can make mistakes and may have turned their lives around after a felony conviction.

In these cases, airlines may consider factors such as the nature of the conviction, the time that has passed since the conviction, and any evidence of rehabilitation.

For example, if an individual has a non-violent felony conviction from several years ago and has since demonstrated a commitment to positive change, they may be given an opportunity to explain their past and present a case for their suitability as a flight attendant.

This allows airlines to assess the individual’s character and potential for success in the role.

Timing, Nature of Conviction Are Key Factors

When it comes to considering candidates with felony convictions, timing and the nature of the conviction are key factors for airlines. If a conviction is recent, it may be more challenging for an individual to be considered for a flight attendant position.

However, if a significant amount of time has passed and the individual has shown genuine rehabilitation and positive change, it may increase their chances of being considered.

Additionally, the nature of the conviction plays a role in the decision-making process. Non-violent convictions may be viewed differently than violent or serious offenses. Airlines want to ensure that individuals with felony convictions do not pose a risk to the safety and security of passengers and crew members.

It is important to note that each airline has its own specific policies and procedures when it comes to hiring individuals with felony convictions. Some airlines may be more lenient than others, while some may have stricter guidelines.

If you are considering a career as a flight attendant and have a felony conviction, it is essential to research the specific policies of the airlines you are interested in and reach out to them directly for more information.

How to Improve Your Chances

Be Upfront and Show Remorse/Rehabilitation

When applying to become a flight attendant with a felony conviction, it is important to be upfront about your past and show genuine remorse and rehabilitation. Airlines value honesty and integrity, so it is essential to disclose your conviction during the application process.

Explain how you have learned from your past mistakes and highlight any steps you have taken to improve yourself since then.

One way to demonstrate your rehabilitation is by obtaining character references from individuals who can vouch for your personal growth and positive contributions to society. These references can come from employers, mentors, or community leaders who have witnessed your progress and can attest to your character.

Additionally, consider writing a personal statement that explains the circumstances surrounding your conviction and how you have changed as a result. Be sincere and genuine in your approach, as this can help the hiring team understand your journey and see you as a viable candidate despite your past.

Get Your Record Expunged if Possible

If you have the opportunity to get your felony conviction expunged, it can significantly improve your chances of becoming a flight attendant. Expungement removes the conviction from your criminal record, making it inaccessible to the public and potential employers.

Consult with an attorney who specializes in expungement to determine if you are eligible and to guide you through the process. Each jurisdiction has different laws regarding expungement, so it is crucial to understand the requirements and procedures specific to your case.

Having a clean record can demonstrate to airlines that you have taken the necessary steps to put your past behind you and are committed to a fresh start. It can also alleviate any concerns they may have about your ability to meet the strict security requirements of the aviation industry.

Apply Broadly and Follow Up Diligently

When seeking a career as a flight attendant with a felony conviction, it is important to apply to multiple airlines and not limit yourself to just one. Each airline has its own hiring criteria and policies regarding applicants with criminal records.

By casting a wider net, you increase your chances of finding an airline that is more lenient or understanding of your situation.

After submitting your applications, be diligent in following up with each airline. Send a polite and professional email or make a phone call to inquire about the status of your application. This shows your genuine interest in the position and can help keep your application at the forefront of the hiring manager’s mind.

Remember, persistence is key. Rejection may be disheartening, but don’t let it discourage you. Keep applying and refining your approach. With determination and the right opportunity, you can overcome the challenges associated with a felony conviction and pursue your dream of becoming a flight attendant.

Which Airlines Are Most Likely to Hire Felons?

When it comes to hiring flight attendants with felony convictions, some airlines are more lenient than others. While having a criminal record may pose a challenge, there are airlines that may be willing to give individuals with a past conviction a second chance.

Spirit, Frontier, and Allegiant Are Relatively Lenient

In recent years, low-cost carriers like Spirit, Frontier, and Allegiant have been known to be more open to hiring individuals with felony convictions. These airlines tend to focus on a candidate’s qualifications, skills, and character rather than solely considering their criminal history.

However, it is important to note that each case is evaluated on an individual basis, and the severity and nature of the conviction may still be taken into consideration.

While these airlines offer opportunities, it is crucial for applicants with felony convictions to be honest and transparent during the hiring process. Providing a detailed explanation of the circumstances surrounding the conviction, as well as any steps taken towards rehabilitation, can greatly improve their chances of being considered for a position.

Mainline Carriers Like Delta and American Are Stricter

Mainline carriers such as Delta and American Airlines tend to have more stringent hiring policies when it comes to individuals with felony convictions. These airlines prioritize safety and security, and as a result, they may be more cautious about hiring candidates with criminal records.

However, it is important to note that each case is evaluated individually, and not all convictions automatically disqualify an applicant.

Individuals with felony convictions who are interested in pursuing a career as a flight attendant with mainline carriers should be prepared to provide thorough and honest explanations of their past mistakes.

It may also be beneficial to showcase any efforts made towards rehabilitation and personal growth.

Cargo Carriers May Be More Flexible Than Passenger Airlines

When it comes to hiring individuals with felony convictions, cargo carriers may be more flexible compared to passenger airlines. Since cargo carriers primarily focus on transporting goods rather than passengers, they may have less stringent requirements when it comes to criminal background checks.

However, it is important to note that safety and security are still top priorities for these companies, and certain types of felony convictions may still be disqualifying.

It is also worth mentioning that the hiring policies of airlines can change over time. Therefore, it is always recommended for individuals with felony convictions to research and reach out to airlines directly to inquire about their current policies and any potential opportunities for employment.

Strategies for Passing the Background Check

Know What the Airlines Will Find Out

When applying to become a flight attendant with a felony conviction, it is crucial to understand what information the airlines will uncover during their background check. Airlines typically conduct thorough background checks that include criminal records, employment history, and credit checks.

They want to ensure that their employees have a clean record and can be trusted to uphold the standards of the airline industry.

To get a better understanding of what the airlines will find out, you can visit the websites of major airlines and review their eligibility requirements. These requirements often outline the specific offenses that may disqualify an applicant, such as violent crimes or drug-related charges.

By being aware of the airline’s criteria, you can assess your chances of passing the background check.

Get Copies of Your Records in Advance

Prior to applying for a flight attendant position, it is essential to obtain copies of your criminal records and any other relevant documents. This proactive approach allows you to review your records and ensure their accuracy.

Mistakes can happen, and it’s better to address any discrepancies before the airlines discover them during their background check.

You can request your criminal records from the appropriate government agencies, such as your local police department or the state’s Department of Justice. It’s also advisable to obtain any court documents related to your conviction.

Having these records on hand will enable you to provide accurate information and address any questions that may arise during the application process.

Be Ready to Explain Your Situation

When applying for a flight attendant position with a felony conviction, it’s crucial to be prepared to explain your situation. Airlines may give you an opportunity to provide a written statement or participate in an interview to discuss your past.

Use this opportunity to be honest and transparent about your conviction, demonstrating your personal growth and rehabilitation since the incident.

It’s important to emphasize any positive changes you have made in your life, such as completing rehabilitation programs, pursuing education, or engaging in community service. Highlighting these accomplishments can help show the airlines that you are a changed person and that you are committed to a successful career as a flight attendant.

Keep in mind that each airline has its own policies and procedures when it comes to hiring individuals with criminal records. Some airlines may have stricter guidelines, while others may be more lenient.

Researching the specific hiring practices of different airlines can give you a better idea of which ones may be more open to considering applicants with felony convictions.

Remember, having a felony conviction does not automatically disqualify you from becoming a flight attendant. By knowing what the airlines will find out, obtaining copies of your records in advance, and being ready to explain your situation, you can increase your chances of successfully passing the background check and pursuing your dream career in the airline industry.

Other Potential Roadblocks and Solutions

Meeting Immigration Requirements with a Record

If you have a felony conviction, you may face difficulties when it comes to meeting immigration requirements for certain countries. Many countries have strict regulations regarding entry with a criminal record, and this can pose a challenge for aspiring flight attendants.

It is important to research and understand the specific immigration requirements of the countries you plan to work in or travel to as a flight attendant.

However, it is not impossible to overcome this hurdle. Some countries may have specific procedures or waivers that can be applied for, allowing individuals with criminal records to enter. It is recommended to consult with immigration experts or lawyers who specialize in these matters to explore your options and determine the best course of action.

Having a Felony May Limit Airport Badge Access

Another potential roadblock that individuals with felony convictions may face when pursuing a career as a flight attendant is limited access to airport badges. Airport badges are security clearances that allow individuals to enter restricted areas of an airport.

These badges are essential for flight attendants as they need to access certain areas to perform their duties.

While having a felony conviction may limit your eligibility for an airport badge, it does not necessarily disqualify you from obtaining one. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) conducts background checks on all individuals applying for airport badges, and they take into account various factors such as the nature and severity of the offense, the time that has passed since the conviction, and any rehabilitation efforts.

If you have a felony conviction, it is advisable to be honest and transparent during the application process. Provide all necessary documentation and evidence of rehabilitation, such as completion of probation or participation in counseling programs.

It is crucial to demonstrate that you have turned your life around and are committed to being a responsible and law-abiding citizen.

Furthermore, it may be beneficial to seek letters of recommendation from individuals who can vouch for your character and work ethic. These letters can help to counterbalance the negative perception that may arise from your criminal record.

It is important to note that each airline and airport may have their own specific policies and criteria when it comes to granting airport badges. Therefore, it is recommended to reach out to the airline you are interested in working for and inquire about their specific requirements.

They may provide guidance or offer additional resources to help you navigate this potential roadblock.


While it’s undeniably an uphill battle, it is possible for some people with felonies to achieve their dream of working as a flight attendant. However, your chances depend heavily on the severity of your conviction, how much time has passed, and your ability to demonstrate rehabilitation and present yourself as a reliable candidate.

By understanding airline policies, knowing which ones are more flexible, and taking proactive steps to improve your chances, you can potentially overcome your criminal record and take to the skies in this exciting career.

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