Hierarchy of Flight Crew

April 19, 2012

Hierarchy of Flight Crew

Hierarchy varies from one airline to the other. Aircraft Crew is divided into two groups- Cockpit Crew and Cabin Crew.  As an Aircraft Crew, there is a captain/ Pilot/ Commander, a first officer/ Co- Pilot, possibly a second officer (or another first officer) in the cockpit then a senior cabin crew member (different airlines use different designators) and other junior crew in the cabin. Depending on the airline, more senior crew is in charge of a particular class of travel, than junior cabin crew. Allocation of crew also depends on the size and configuration of an aircraft.

Some airlines rank crew working in the premium cabins higher, some even pay them more.  Other airlines don’t.  British Airways for example have two grades of main crew.  Grade Ones work in First, Grade Twos work in Club World, World Traveller and World Traveller Plus. Quite often, the Grade Ones may well in fact be junior to many Grade Twos.  Many Grade Ones will opt to work in economy over First if there are enough Grade Ones.  Club World can also be left to the most junior of the Grade Twos, depending on the loads and destination.

It is better to classify it according to specific airlines to be truly accurate with the term/ word they use for hierarchy levels.

Hierarchy of Cockpit Crew:

  • Captain/ pilot/ Commander
  • Possibly another Captain (Bigger Aircrafts)
  • Senior First Officer/ Co- Pilot
  • Possibly another SFO, or FO (Bigger Aircrafts)
  • Observers/ Engineer

Hierarchy of Cabin Crew:

  • Cabin Service Director (Bigger Aircrafts/ long Hauls)
  • Purser/ Inflight Manager/ Check Hostess/ Inflight Supervisors
  • Grade One crew
  • Grade Two crew
  • Air Hostess/ Stewards (if there is no grading)
  • Trainees

All Cabin Crew reports to their Base Manager headed by the Head Inflight at the base station.