Flight Attendants: Salary Overview
Flight attendants ensure that airline passengers travel safely and comfortably.
They provide routine services and respond to emergencies.
Their job description typically includes participating in preflight briefings, conducting inspections of emergency equipment, demonstrating to passengers how the safety equipment should be used, ensuring that the passengers have their seatbelts fastened, serving and selling beverages and food, taking care of passengers with special needs, instructing passengers on how to safely evacuate the aircraft in case of emergency, and coordinating emergency medical care if needed.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for flight attendants was $56,640 as of May 2019.
This means that half of all flight attendants earned less than this amount while half earned more.
Salaries vary based on a wide range of factors, such as experience, education, and employer.
The lowest 10 percent earned less than $29,270 while the top 10 percent made more than $80,940 a year.
The 25th percentile for this profession was $41,070 which means that 75 percent of all flight attendants earned more than this amount.
They can spend several nights a week away from home.
Flight attendants usually fly 75 to 100 hours a month and usually spend another 50 hours on the ground where they prepare flights, write reports, and wait for the aircraft to arrive.
They have to receive at least 9 consecutive hours of rest after any duty period before starting their next duty period.
Flight attendants also receive an allowance for meals and accommodations while traveling away from home.
The initial set of uniforms and luggage is typically purchased by the flight attendant but the airline company pays for replacements and upkeep.
Flight Attendant Salary by Industry
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, flight attendants held around 119,300 jobs in the United States in 2019.
About 96 percent of them worked in the field of scheduled air transportation.
The field of nonscheduled air transportation hired only 2 percent of all flight attendants while 1 percent of them worked for companies that provide support activities for air transportation.
The average annual wage reported by flight attendants who worked in the field of scheduled air transportation was $56,270.
Those who worked in the industry of nonscheduled air transportation reported an average annual wage of $59,870 per year.
The average annual wage was $48,920 a year for flight attendants who worked for companies who provide support activities for air transportation and $49,990 for those in the field of management of companies and enterprises.
In conclusion, the highest-paying field for flight attendants was the field of nonscheduled air transportation, a sector that hired only a small portion of all flight attendants.
However, salaries for flight attendants are also determined by other factors, including the experience level.
According to payscale.com, flight attendants with less than 1 year of experience were paid, on average, with $19.34 a year while those with more than 20 years of experience reported a mean hourly wage of $62.20.
Flight attendants with between 1 and 4 years of experience reportedly earned $21.12 an hour, on average while those who had between 10-19 years of experience were paid with $39.43 an hour.
Mid-level flight attendants with 5-9 years of experience reportedly earned $27.07 an hour, on average.
Career advancement for this profession is also determined based on seniority.
Senior attendants usually oversee the work of other attendants on international flights.
Job prospects are looking good for flight attendants.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of flight attendants is projected to grow 10 percent from 2018 to 2028.
This growth is explained in part by the fact that many airlines are starting to use larger planes that can accommodate more passengers and this results in a greater number of flight attendants being needed on some routes.
* Based on information from the May 2021 salary report from the BLS. The figures represent accumulated data for all states of employment for Flight Attendants. BLS data represents averages and medians for workers at all levels of education and experience. This data doesn't represent starting salaries.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.