Everything you need to know about flight attendant drug testing
One common question we get is “can I be a flight attendant and use recreational drugs or marijuana?” When you work in the aviation industry you’re in a safety-sensitive job – meaning that crew and passenger safety if your top priority. Showing up to work impaired puts everyone, even yourself, at risk. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has strict drug and alcohol regulations. But your airline might have their own policies that you will have to follow too. All applicants must pass a pre-employment drug test and employees will have to take random Department of Transportation (DOT) drug screenings.
Which drugs will I be tested for?
Your pre-employment screening and all employee drug tests look for:
If a trace of any of the above is found, it will disqualify you immediately from gaining the position you are applying/hired for. Failed tests will disqualify you from working in the aviation industry for 10 years or more.
Although many US states have made the medical or recreational use of cannabis products legal, the FAA does not allow the use of medical marijuana. Even if you have a prescription, a positive pre-employment drug test will disqualify you from employment and will get you in trouble even after you have the job.
The same rule applies when visiting other countries where any of the above drugs are legal. Any positive results will result in either being disqualified from candidacy or losing your job.
How often do flight attendants get drug tested?
As a flight attendant, your primary duty is to ensure the safety of the passengers and their passage in flight. So you have to be at your best, and fully alert, at all times.
If you have a clean drug test result and get hired, you’re still subject to random drug tests anytime on duty. If you’re an occasional marijuana user, keep in mind that it can stay in your system for up to 30 days. One little moment of pleasure can cost you your career.
Don’t forget, flight attendants are always subject to DOT drug and alcohol regulations. If you test positive or refuse a drug test, the airline is required to pull you from your job immediately. You may be able to return to duty after meeting specific conditions and being assessed by a Substance Abuse Professionals (SAP). To find out more about the steps to take, visit this FAA Q&A page.
Can I drink alcohol?
Crew members have strict guidelines for alcohol consumption too. First and foremost, you must be of legal drinking age. Each company sets guidelines for what’s called ‘bottle to throttle’.
Your company policy is that employees can’t not have an alcoholic beverage within 12 hours of beginning your shift and you’re on a trip away from base with a 15-hour layover. Your shift ends at 6:00 P.M., begins again at 9:00 A.M. the next morning, and you’re going out to dinner with your coworkers. In this case, you can’t have any alcohol after 9:00 P.M. that evening.