How Much Does A Flight Attendant Make?

The Salary of a Flight Attendant

Flight attendants have one of the best jobs in the world. However, in return for this amazing job, their remuneration in cash is quite low. When you weigh it against the education that one needs to undergo to, it doesn’t seem to matter all that much. But when you consider the stresses that a flight attendant must undergo then it may start to seem a bit less. Either way, check out the facts and then judge for yourself.

The average salary that flight attendant gets is around $38,000. Dallas and San Francisco offers about 12% more than the national average. Atlanta, on the other hand, offers 19% less than the national average. Most airlines pay for only the amount of time a flight attendant spends on the airplane. Some airliners extend this to 15 to 20 minutes preflight and post flight which includes the briefing time. The amount an air hostess or air host gets while working on the ground is different. A flight attendant spends about 120-150 hours a month while on duty (including onboard service and ground service). Let us see some of the factors that determine the wages that a flight attendant gets

Type of flight

This refers to the fact that is the flight international or domestic. A domestic flight obviously earns an inferior amount at about $21-46 an hour. On the other hand, International flights pay about $21-50 an hour depending on the seniority of the flight attendant.


Like in any other job, the experience that a person has is a major factor in deciding the salary of a flight attendant. A senior flight attendant gets paid more than a recruit. They enjoy fewer restrictions when compared to them. Other than that, they are also given more perks than a recruit. A senior also gets to decide the flights that he or she will serve in. Your salary can increase about 40% with about 20 years of experience. This will enable you to earn about $60,000 as an average.

Size of the plane

The size of the aircraft is a major factor in deciding the salary. Since a bigger aircraft needs to cater to more people, the wages of a flight attendant needs to be more in such cases. This is even more true for the flight attendant in charge (sometimes called Purser) since a bigger plane means more crew members. Thus, they are supposed to look after and instruct a bigger crew leading to an increase in pay.

Number of languages you can speak

Being a polyglot is of a lot of importance in this industry. Especially during international flights. Your passengers may be from every corner of the world and you will not be a useful flight attendant if you cannot communicate with them and cater to their needs. So, if you know more languages, the chances of you getting more number of flights is more. This will also help you travel to different locations. If you ever wanted to go to Paris, start learning French now!

Duration of your flight

Sometimes during longer flights you have layovers. During these layovers, you are given meal allowances that you can choose to spend however you want or save it if you have packed your lunch. Depending on how much time you are going to spend in the layover, your allowance is decided. However, if food is served for everyone on board, then you are not given this money.


As with any industry, how well you get paid depends on the company you are working with. If it is a small-time airliner which only performs a few domestic flights, then you are likely to be paid less. However, if you decide to side with a major airliner, then the chances of you getting paid are higher. For example, American Airlines is known to pay a maximum of $122,000 as salary. On the other hand, ExpressJet Airlines Inc. is known to pay a minimum of $18,000 per annum.


As a flight attendant, you can be promoted to being a Purser, who oversees all the other flight attendants. To reach this post you typically need to have at least one year of experience and need to have shown your excellence in performance. Sometimes, becoming a purser can almost double your salary. As a purser, your allowances are more and you get paid more to travel at different times.


Sometimes, your fellow flight attendants may call in sick or may need a vacation. At such times, they need to fill in these gaps with others. In this case, you can be asked for help for which you will be paid extra. Flight attendants can also volunteer in such situations to make a bit of extra money. They can also be called when the maximum limit of hours of some other flight attendant has been reached. This is typically towards the end of the month.


As mentioned earlier, the job of a flight attendant also has certain benefits. If they are ever on duty and need to stay somewhere, a hotel or an apartment is arranged by the airliner. They also look after the food arrangements. Sometimes, when the stay isn’t so long, they are given an allowance to spend on food, called ‘Per Diems’. The amount of the allowance is obviously decided by your seniority and the city you are supposed to reside in. As a flight attendant, when you are out of probation (which usually lasts 6 months for a recruit) you can travel for free if there is a seat available and the airline is headed that way.

Of course, you also get to meet amazing people on your flights and get to have the time of your life if you really enjoy flights. Not that you have all the facts with you, you can decide if the salary is meager or not. If you do decide to go for the post of a flight attendant, then we shall see you next time up in the air!