Apply. Sure, sometimes you can get referred by a flight attendant, but in the end it's all about you, baby. Research research research. Know the airline you're applying to and know what you're signing up for. Different airlines open up the hiring window at different times, so just be vigilant. I was referred, but still had to fill out an application, do a video interview, phone interview, then finally a face to face with about 60 other people who were vying for the same position - a process that spanned 2 months. I know others who were hired in two weeks! No application is treated the same, so don't panic. There are tons of videos on Youtube that give you good insight to what the interview process is like. Glassdoor is also really helpful. Soak up as much info as possible to be confident and prepared. You got this!
Read my article on everything you'd want to know about being a flight attendant here.
Schedules vary depending on your airline, your base, and your seniority (meaning, the newer you are, the cruddier your schedule is). I don't have a route. I'm based in NYC, and from here we fly practically everywhere. My schedule comes out a month at a time, and I can swap/drop/and pick up trips as much as I'd like. Très flexible. I have 6 days a month where I'm on call and have to do whatever they tell me to do and go wherever they tell me to go with as little as 3 hours notice. I can work as much or as little as I want to, and tend to play around with my schedule to get the layovers I want, the hours I need, or days off I desire. We typically have 1, 2, and 3 day trips. One day trips are called "turns" where we just fly somewhere and come right back. During 2 and 3 day trips, we have 1-4 flights a day before getting to our layover, which can be anywhere from 9 to 30 hours.
Hey, mind your business. Just kidding. Although I don't envision myself doing this forever ever, I do plan on flying until I'm ready to retire. It's just too sweet of a gig to give up. Flexible schedule. Free travel for me AND my family. The thrill of new people and new places, all the time. It's kind of my dream job. The pay, benefits, and trips get better and better the longer you stay. Also, this is kind of a rude question to ask someone, no?