As an Air Force Flight Steward, you’ll be an integral part of the crew on the Air Force’s primary strategic air transport asset, the Boeing 757, flying both internationally and domestically.

  • Service
    Air Force
  • Specialisation
  • Location
    Whenuapai and Woodbourne
  • Starting Trade Training
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About the role

Being ready and able to take action in the event of an inflight or ground emergency is the primary aspect of your role. You’ll receive all the training required to enable you to control emergency situations, operate emergency equipment, administer first aid and direct passenger evacuation. 



Prior preparation is essential for the safe, effective and efficient conduct of any flight. As a Flight Steward you will conduct pre-flight inspections of emergency equipment and aircraft systems, complete aircraft documentation, plan and request crew and passenger catering requirements, liaise with both external and internal agencies, load rations and equipment prior to passenger arrival and assist with passenger boarding.  



There is no typical flight on the B757; you may be responsible for tasks carrying military, veteran or civilian personnel, freight, resupply flights to Antarctica, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief or VIP tasks carrying passengers such as the Prime Minister or Royal family.  
Your job will involve:

  • Conducting safety briefings 
  • Securing the aircraft cabin prior to take-off and landing and in turbulence 
  • Taking action in the event of an in-flight emergency 
  • Carrying out First Aid procedures if required 
  • Preparing and providing inflight passenger service 
  • Ensuring passengers comply with international agriculture and customs requirements 
  • Representing New Zealand and the RNZAF at the highest levels when dealing with
  • national and international VIPs


Your duties don’t end after landing at your destination or transit airfield. You will liaise with catering agencies, prepare the aircraft cabin and equipment for the next day’s flying and you may be required to escort passengers to their accommodation  
On occasion veterans fly onboard the B757 to attend commemorations of battles fought overseas.  On these flights you will escort the veterans to parades and functions in such countries as France and Turkey. The crew can also be requested to represent the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) at VIP functions.

Job on base

When you’re not flying there’s still plenty to do. You will carry out specialist training such as VIP and First Aid courses, maintain your annual currencies and complete secondary base duties such as barrack NCO or entertainments committee member. Unlike a civilian flight attendant, you will be deciding what the inflight service will consist of on your upcoming flights and planning a menu accordingly. You will be required to liaise with catering agencies around the world in order to best cater for your flight. You will also be required to prepare the aircraft for VIP flights, ensuring every need has been catered for and all the required equipment is loaded. 

As a more senior Flight Steward, in addition to these general duties, you will be overseeing the preparation of the flights you are a supervisor on. If you are an instructor, you will also be conducting Categorisation Checks and preparing for Route Checks (detail further on). You will be updating training packages in preparation for future courses, co-ordinating training and instructing when required. 

Job on deployment

This role will see you working at home and abroad. You will fly within New Zealand, and to a variety of countries overseas. Commonly visited places are Australia, the Pacific Islands, South East Asia and the Middle East. You could be flying an aircraft full of Army passengers and freight one week, and the Prime Minister and entourage the next!


Prior preparation is essential for the safe conduct of any flight. As a Flight Steward you will have an essential role in preparing our Boeing 757 aircraft for flights both in New Zealand and overseas. Your tasks will include meal planning and the ordering of food relevant to passenger requirements, aircraft documentation, pre-flight inspections, loading rations and equipment, boarding passengers and completing safety briefings.


You are a pivotal member of the crew, helping provide for the safe, effective and efficient completion of national and international Boeing 757 flights. Your flights will involve standard tasks carrying service personnel and their dependents, to full VIP tasks carrying passengers such as the Prime Minister, or even the Queen.

Your job will involve:

  • Securing the aircraft cabin prior to take-off
  • Taking action in the event of an in-flight emergency
  • Ensuring passenger welfare
  • Preparing and providing passenger and in-flight service
  • Assisting passengers to comply with international agriculture and customs requirements
  • Representing New Zealand and the RNZAF to the highest standards when dealing with national and international VIP’s
  • Securing the aircraft cabin prior to landing

Your duties don’t end after landing. You’ll be required to disembark and/or escort passengers to their accommodation, prepare the aircraft interior and make catering arrangements for the next day’s flight.

Some flights are ‘out of the ordinary’, such as veteran trips where war veterans attend anniversaries overseas. On these flights you will escort the veterans to parades and celebrations.

The crew also represent the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) at VIP functions on certain flights.


Your actions during an aircraft emergency could save lives. You’ll receive all the training required to enable you to take action in the event of an in-flight or ground emergency. Your new-found skills will also allow you to operate aircraft equipment and systems to control or limit emergency situations, aid passenger evacuation and administer first aid.

Career progression and training

Career Progression

Basic Training

Job Training

Ongoing Training

Specialist Training

As you become more experienced, you will be given greater responsibilities in managing personnel and equipment.

As a senior Flight Steward you’ll be required to perform military leadership duties and be responsible for personnel under your supervision. Your role will include conducting personnel performance appraisals, mentoring, personal development planning and maintaining discipline.

You will also take on a senior role onboard the aircraft where you will supervise your Flight Steward team. Your in-flight responsibilities will include ensuring planning, coordination, service and safety requirements have been completed correctly and that your team responds positively to any changes in the schedule.

Senior Flight Stewards get the opportunity to pass on their skills and knowledge to new members of the trade. If you are trained as a Flight Steward instructor, you will teach Boeing 757 initial conversion and simulator training and assist in the maintenance of high professional standards across all members of the Flight Steward trade.

Upon successful enlistment into the Air Force you’ll be posted to RNZAF Base Woodbourne (near Blenheim). Here you’ll do 12 weeks of basic military training to find out if you’ve got what it takes to be in the Air Force, and learn various subjects including:

  • Organisation and Administration
  • RNZAF Customs and Protocol
  • Drill and Parades
  • Military Field Skills and Weapon Training
  • First Aid, and Search and Rescue Techniques
  • Physical Fitness

Following 12 weeks basic military training at RNZAF Base Woodbourne, you’ll be required to pass a four-week Corporal Qualifying Course. The Corporal promotion course is designed to assist RNZAF personnel in a smooth transition to the responsibilities associated with the rank of Corporal. This course is conducted at Command and Recruit Training Squadron at RNZAF Base Woodbourne.

Corporal Qualifying Course is part of the continuum of RNZAF training. It builds on the experiences and training from the previous ranks, and prepares, not only for the new rank, but also for future promotions that may lie ahead. The key components of the course are:

  • Leadership (theory and practical)
  • Communication (written, verbal)
  • Service law
  • Drill

All elements of the course combine together to provide students with tools to perform effectively as a Corporal in the RNZAF.


Having completed Corporal Qualifying Course you will follow straight on with a nine week NAC course, conducted primarily at RNZAF Base Ohakea. This course will teach you the generic requirements of becoming a member of an Aircrew team. It will cover Air Force aviation related subjects such as:

  • Airmanship
  • Navigation
  • Meteorology
  • Principles of flight
  • Technical administration
  • Aircrew conditions and duties
  • Human factors
  • Survival (sea, coast, bush and combat)
  • Parachuting
  • Mathematics
  • Aircraft weight and balance

Once you have completed Basic Training, Corporal Qualifying Course and NAC, it is time for your trade specific training to commence. This is your Flight Steward Conversion Course. This is held at No. 40 Squadron, RNZAF Base Auckland. On completion of this course, you will be awarded your Flight Steward Brevet and be officially qualified as a Flight Steward on the B757 aircraft. This course divided into two Phases; a ground phase and a flying phase.

The Ground Phase contains four weeks of theory providing you with background information to enable you to commence with your flying phase.

Topics covered are:

  • Emergency equipment and procedures
  • Aircraft systems
  • Passenger first-aid
  • Manuals and documentation
  • Aircraft equipment
  • Aircraft configurations
  • Baggage and handling procedures
  • VIP procedures
  • Catering and hygiene
  • Passenger service

The flying phase is where the fun starts and you take to the skies! It will consolidate the training you have received to date and put the theory you have learnt into practice. You will complete approximately 50 hours of flying including national and international flights.

You will receive training and on-the-job experience in the following duties:

  • Flight steward flying duties encompassing in-flight passenger safety and comfort, and pre and post-flight duties
  • Organisation and co-ordination of catering requirements for crew and passengers
  • Liaison between RNZAF and external agencies for requirements
  • such as task changes, catering and transport
  • The implementation of emergency procedures and equipment

Now that you have been awarded your Brevet, the training doesn’t stop there. Every year you will be required to conduct a Categorisation Check and Route Check. A Categorisation Check is a theory/oral exam which encompasses information taught on your initial phase of conversion course, and your emergency procedures.

A Route Check is a practical flight test to ensure you are carrying out safe working practice in the airborne environment. It is mandatory to pass these checks annually.

Simulator training is conducted annually to support your categorisation and route checks, and to enable you to practice emergency procedures in a safe environment.

As you become more senior in the trade of Flight Steward, instructing becomes one of the roles you can expect to fill. To enable you to become an instructor, a number of Instructional Technique Courses for both theory and practical training are completed.

You will then become involved in conducting initial and ongoing training of Flight Stewards.

As a Flight Steward, among other things, you are responsible for the welfare of passengers. This includes administering first aid if required. First aid equipment is carried on board to assist with this. As such, Flight Stewards are required to carry out First Aid training on an ongoing basis to prepare them for the occasions where they may be required to carry out onboard first aid.

As many dignitaries of VIP status are carried aboard the B757, Flight Stewards are expected to provide elite cabin service. To ensure you are equipped to carry out this service, you will receive specialist VIP service training. This will be carried out when you reach a level of proficiency to gain VIP qualification on board the B757.

Not only are you required to conduct specialist trade training, there are a number of specialist Aircrew currencies you are required to maintain. To that end, you will conduct specialist training in the following areas, and subsequently conduct refresher training to maintain qualification:

  • Aircrew Survival Training (ice, bush and sea)
  • Aviation Medicine Training
  • Core Military Skills Training
  • Fitness Training / Currency
  • Law of Armed Conflict Training
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Salary and benefits

Careers in the Air Force are well-rewarded, as well as being diverse and exciting. As you become more experienced and move up through the ranks, gaining additional skills and qualifications, you will see your salary rise accordingly.


Under Initial Training


Starting Trade Training


Future Potential Earnings

Figures updated on July 1st 2023

Benefits and allowances

Earn a competitive salary while training or learning your trade, along with additional allowances for time spent in the field, at sea, overseas, or deployed on operations.

In addition to salary and allowances, other benefits of joining the New Zealand Defence Force include:

Access to your Service marae or tūrangawaewae

Sponsored tertiary study programmes at all levels

Free access to gyms and swimming pools on camp and bases

Opportunities to travel

Free and subsidised medical and dental care

Subsidised food and accommodation on camps and bases

Free and subsidised insurance cover

Help to buy a home and save for retirement

Entry requirements



Fitness and medical


Period of Service

  • You must be at least 17 years of age.
  • Meet the citizenship & security requirements to gain SV security clearance for this trade.

Minimum: 3 years secondary school. Note, qualifications may be used to assess trade suitability.

To be competitive: NCEA Level 2.

Find out more about the NCEA levels and certificate requirements

  • You must be medically fit for service.
  • Colour perception restrictions may apply.

There are strict citizenship and security requirements to gain the required SV security clearance for this trade.

Find out if you’re eligible here.

Your training is some of the most thorough and advanced in the world. On graduation you will be required to complete a return of service of 24 months.

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