Advice and Examples: Describe a time you faced an unexpected difficulty. How did you deal with it? For an American Airlines Interview Question.
3. Describe a time you faced an unexpected difficulty. How did you deal with it?
How to Answer
This performance-based question aims to reveal how well you adapt to unexpected changes when they occur. How you answer will inform them whether you can adjust when things don't go according to plan. You want to exhibit that you have a firm grasp on your emotions and that you are resourceful and able to maintain a positive and professional attitude despite the circumstances. American Airlines looks for those with "critical thinking abilities." This requires using logic and reasoning to identify alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
Entry Level Example
"The biggest difficulty I faced was my university closing its doors at the beginning of the pandemic. It took them some time to adapt to remote learning, and their classes were not very successful. I found ways to reach out to my professors and continue my learning in a self-guided manner to avoid losing momentum where possible. I learned enough to avoid repeating any coursework and was quite proud of my ability to be versatile."
"I face unexpected difficulties frequently in my current position. The company is under a financial strain, and due to our policies and constraints, I can't always deliver the customer experience I'd prefer. But regardless of this, I always put in 200%, conducting myself with integrity and empathy and showing our customers the respect and gratitude they deserve. I treat them like family and put my all in with transparency when I am permitted."
"I remember working for a flight with meal service and I opened the meals and there were lunch meals which were correct but the outbound flight had breakfast meals instead of dinner meals. I ended up serving the breakfast meals for lunch and presenting them as such. We were overnighting after this flight and I didn't want the next crew to have to worry about anything. So me and my other flight attendant both decided breakfast for lunch was more presentable than breakfast for dinner. We were able to explain to our passengers I'm sorry but unfortunately, we were only catered breakfast items during this time and these are the options. We do also have snack boxes as well if you would like that option instead. Everyone was super happy and understanding. The destination I was going to wasn't a catering station and sometimes you have to remember this aircraft doesn't end with your team. The other flight attendants were very thankful that we thought about them in our process for meals and their flight service."
Written by an Anonymous User
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Stephanie Cafaro Reviewed the Above Answer
This is a great example--it sounds like you handled this unexpected challenge with ease!