How To Become an Airline Cook

Ever been on a flight and when served with the in-flight meal, your first thought was you could do better? You could become an airline cook and prove it! Read on for information on how you can become an airline cook.

Job description

To put it in the simplest of terms, you are a cook and you work for an airline! But seriously, as an airline cook, your job involves preparing meals for in-flight catering services as well as on-the-ground refreshments served at the airline’s waiting lounges or other passenger services areas.

There is not much scope for employment in airlines which service short routes, since budget cuts and competition forced these airlines to do away with complimentary meals and beverages. Therefore, your best bet are long-distance airline companies, where the average flight duration is over five hours and more. These companies usually have their own subsidiary catering companies or outsource the same to large hotels. So you could apply for jobs in either of the two categories. The job includes, but is not limited to:

  1. Preparing menus for various meals, depending upon passenger requests, for example, vegetarian-only, kosher meals, etc.
  2. Ensure ingredients used are fresh and food is prepared in hygienic surroundings.
  3. Maintain prescribed health and safety standards.

Education & training

  • High school diploma or a GED equivalent is the minimum mandatory education required.
  • Upon completion of graduation, a degree or diploma course in hotel management or from a culinary school is the next step. The duration of these programs ranges from one to four years.
  • While working on a graduate program, it is also beneficial to get practical training by pursuing an internship or part-time job as a cook.

Growth prospects

Basic entry-level positions may require the least minimum qualifications, except for a skill in cooking, but if you’re looking for career advancement, it is better to gain professional qualifications, such as training programs from accredited culinary or hotel management institutes. There is always a shortage of qualified personnel in the airline catering industry, so there is ample scope for career growth for ambitious and dedicated professionals. Executive chefs can expect to start at a salary of about $50,000, while the compensation for entry-level cooks is much lower.

The information mentioned in this article should help you in pursuing a career as an airline cook.


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