Channel 2 Action News gets inside access to Delta flight attendant training

ATLANTA — They’re people many probably take for granted during vacations or business travel: flight attendants.

They are real-life superheroes ready to save lives in any situation.

Channel 2′s Jorge Estevez gained inside access to the Delta Air Lines training facility and was able to experience the intense training flight attendants go through to prepare for any potential danger.

Delta has been training flight attendants in Atlanta since 1940 — totaling more than 80 years of service.

Trainees spend six weeks learning how to keep you safe while cruising at 35,000 feet.

Estevez learned quickly that the training involves more than just making customers feel comfortable; it’s also about saving lives.

From turbulence to the rare chance of a crash, trainees are taught how to evacuate planes, perform CPR and give commands to get passengers to safety.

“We get them prepared to be comfortable in the moment if we ever have to evacuate an aircraft,” said Tyeisha George, technical facilitator with Delta Air Lines.

“All the things you detailed, those are important because in the skies, you guys are the boss,” Estevez told George.

“Us and the pilots,” George added.


The first test Estevez sat through was dealing with a fire on board a plane.

Estevez joined the rest of the trainees as they sat in a mock airplane with smoke coming out of one the bathrooms on board.

The trainer told Estevez to grab a fire extinguisher, and after constant communication, he quickly put out the fire.

“It’s pretty much the most dangerous situation you can face, especially when you’re in the air,” technical facilitator Jesse Penman told Estevez.

“When you’re talking about a fire, there’s smoke. People are going to panic,” Estevez told Penman.

“They will,” Penman said.

“So then it’s dual jobs (for) everyone?” Estevez asked Penman.

“Yes. So we have to keep control of the situation out here while we handle the situation back there,” Penman said.

Learning how to open every kind of door on Delta’s planes is another feature of the training.

There are 18 kinds of exits on eight different aircraft across Delta’s fleet. Estevez learned the doors are heavy and not the easiest to open.

And then there’s evacuations after an emergency landing.

The Delta trainers start the simulation with a typical flight. The trainees give the standard safety demonstration as they get ready to take off.

Once “in the air,” they encounter an emergency and have to prepare for a rough landing.

You hear the trainers yell, “Bend over! Stay down!”

In the seats, the trainees and Estevez act as passengers and bend over in their seats so their heads are close to being in between their knees.

Once they land, a trainee opens the plane door and others help the mock passengers off board, where they have to take the leap of faith down an inflatable slide.

One trainee after the other goes down the slide — as well as Estevez.

Everyone made it out safely.

“It is how it’s supposed to go. We try to make it as realistic as possible,” George said.

Estevez learned repetition was key to making sure everyone made it out.