United Airlines has just opened an expanded flight attendant training center in Houston at a cost of $32 million and which will be capable of handling 600 flight attendants per month.
The centerpiece of the 56,000 sq. ft. facility is a 125,000-gallon pool that has a mock aircraft fuselage so that flight attendants can train for the very worst-case scenario of an evacuation onto water.
Along with the state-of-the-art aquatic center, United has also installed additional cabin mockups so that flight attendants can train in realistic-looking environments. The mockups feature sounds, lights and smoke to mimic the kind of emergencies that flight attendants might have to deal with in real life.
There are also various ‘door trainers’ that allow flight attendants to practice the different techniques of opening and closing various models of an aircraft door. These door trainers also allow flight attendant to practice emergency evacuation commands.
United has more than doubled its Houston training facility – just in time for a massive influx of new hire flight attendants. The airline has plans to hire and train as many as 4,000 new flight attendants in 2023, and the facility will also be used for recurrent refresher training for experienced crew members.
The facility will see roughly 600 flight attendants pass through its doors every months, although to reduce demand United only offers refresher training for exiting flight attendants every 18 months – whereas many airlines still mandate annual recurrent training.
“The best flight attendants in the industry deserve the best, most modern training facility in the country,” commented Scott Kirby, United’s chief executive.
New hire flight attendants undergo a six and a half week training course at the Houston campus. There are various cabin mockups, lecture halls and a 400 seater autotorium. There’s even a public address room where trainees can practice their onboard announcements.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.