How Much Do Flight Attendants Make on Average (Salary)

How much do flight attendants make? Flight attendants are in charge of an aircraft's cabin and are responsible for the passengers' safety and comfort. They spend more time with passengers than any other airline employee, and they strive to provide the most customized service to each and every passenger during the trip.

flight attendant salary

Flight attendants can work in either first-class or economy class, providing more extensive service to a smaller number of passengers. Service entails attending to a wide range of requirements and requests, and flight attendants are only given a limited amount of time throughout the trip to provide the most customized service to each and every customer.

What is a flight attendant?

flight attendant salary

For the safety and security of passengers, airlines are obligated by law to have flight attendants. Flight attendants' major responsibility is to keep passengers safe by ensuring that everyone follows security procedures and that the flight deck is secure. Passengers can expect flight attendants to make their trips as comfortable and stress-free as possible. They can have to deal with passengers who are unruly at times.

The captain (pilot) can provide a preflight briefing with flight attendants regarding essential flight information, such as the number of hours the flight will take, the plane's itinerary, and weather conditions, roughly an hour before takeoff. Flight attendants make sure that emergency equipment is functional, that the cabin is clean, and that there is enough food and drink on board. As passengers enter the plane, flight attendants greet them, lead them to their seats, and help them as required.

flight attendant salary

Before the plane takes off, flight attendants instruct correct usage of safety equipment to all passengers, either in person or by video recording. They also make that seat belts are buckled, seats are locked upright, and all carry-on items are securely stored in line with federal law and business policy.

flight attendant salary

What does a flight attendant do?

The captain briefs the flight attendants about an hour before each trip. The weather, potential turbulence, flight duration, and other aspects that can impact the forthcoming flight are all covered in depth. They are also given information about the aircraft's safety features and emergency kit supplies. A passenger list is checked, and flight attendants are alerted if any special needs passengers, young children, or VIPs will be on board.

General service

Flight attendants help passengers with the boarding procedure once they have been summoned to board. They assist any passengers with special needs, minors, or VIPs to ensure that they are properly cared for when boarding. Tickets and seating placements are checked for correctness as well as suspected counterfeit or stolen tickets by attendants. They also assist passengers with loading carry-on luggage, ensuring that it complies with the aircraft or airline's size and weight regulations.

flight attendant salary

Safety demonstrations

In a safety demonstration, flight attendants are also responsible for informing passengers on specific aircraft safety regulations. Passengers are taught how to find the nearest emergency exit, how to correctly fasten their seat belts, what to do if there is turbulence, how to utilize safety vests or flotation equipment, and how to use the drop-down oxygen masks. Passengers can be shown a brief film covering this information while the flight attendant keeps an eye on them.

flight attendant salary

Following the safety demonstration, attendants secure the cabin by turning off electronic devices and mobile phones, properly stowing carry-ons, ensuring that seats are in an upright posture, and stowing tray tables. Pre-take-off service refers to the complete process, from boarding to takeoff.

flight attendant salary

In-flight service

Flight attendants inspect passenger comfort once the jet is safely in the air. Passengers who want headphones or cushions are given them, and food or drinks are served. Flight attendants must do frequent safety checks and listen for odd noises in addition to serving passengers. Before completing a final safety check, attendants must concompany that all garbage has been removed from the cabin and that all seats are in their proper placements. After the plane has landed, attendants help passengers in securely exiting the plane.

flight attendant salary

Average flight attendant salary

The average compensation for a flight attendant is higher than the national average. Richmond, CA is at the top of the list, with Stamford, CT and Bellevue, WA coming in second and third, respectively. Bellevue, WA outperforms the national average by $11,324 (18.9%), while Richmond, CA continues the trend with another $13,411 (22.4%) above the national average of $59,987.

The average income in these top ten cities changes just by 8% between Richmond, CA and Pasadena, CA, emphasizing the limited possibility for wage development. When evaluating location and income for a Flight Attendant position, the prospect of a reduced cost of living can be the most important aspect to consider.

flight attendant salary

Average flight attendant salary by state

  • Arizona: $60,981 per year.
  • California: $53,860 per year.
  • Colorado: $48,640 per year.
  • Florida: $58,780 per year.
  • Georgia: $46,860 per year.
  • Illinois: $45,112 per year.
  • Indiana: $63,860 per year.
  • Massachusetts: $57,560 per year.
  • Michigan: $55,400 per year.
  • Minnesota: $50,870 per year.
  • North Carolina: $60,950 per year.
  • Nevada: $58,760 per year.
  • New York: $46,570 per year.
  • Ohio: $58,230 per year.
  • Oregon: $70,850 per year.
  • Pennsylvania: $62,031 per year.
  • Puerto Rico: $18,270 per year.
  • Texas: $66,120 per year.
  • Utah: $47,320 per year.
  • Virginia: $45,220 per year.
  • Washington: $65,030 per year.

Information provided by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (source).

Monthly wages

The national average is $4,998 per month.

Weekly wages

The national average is $1,153 per week.

Hourly wages

The national average is $29 per hour.

Highest paying by state

Highest paying salaries by state.

  • Richmond, CA: $73,399 per year.
  • Stamford, CT: $71,472 per year.
  • Bellevue, WA: $71,311 per year.
  • Lakes, AK: $68,810 per year.
  • San Francisco, CA: $68,794 per year.
  • Palmdale, CA: $68,053 per year.
  • Santa Clara, CA: $67,795 per year.
  • Hartford, CT: $67,661 per year.
  • Sterling, VA: $67,627 per year.
  • Pasadena, CA: $67,413 per year.

Wages by airline

flight attendant salary

Not all airlines pay flight attendants the same wages.

  • JetBlue Airlines: $21 per hour.
  • Delta Airlines: $31 per hour.
  • American Airlines: $34 per hour.
  • Hawaiian Airlines: $35 per hour.
  • Southwest Airlines: $37 per hour.
  • United Airlines: $48 per hour.
  • Frontier Airlines: $20 per hour.
  • Delta AirElite: $18 per hour.
  • Spirit Airlines: $17 per hour.
  • Skywest Airlines: $21 per hour.
  • Alaska Airlines: $26 per hour.

Average salary by seniority

Average hourly pay based on seniority level.

Top-level flight attendant earnings begin at:

$52.33 per hour, $108,850 per year.

Senior-level flight attendant earnings begin at:

$38.28 per hour, $79,620 per year.

Mid-level flight attendant earnings begin at:

$27.04 per hour, $56,251, per year.

Junior-level flight attendant earnings begin at:

$19.11 per hour, $39,741 per year.

Starting level flight attendant earnings begin at:

$13.98 per hour, $29,069 per year.

Job market outlook

In the United States, there are around 116,600 flight attendants. Between 2016 and 2026, the job market for flight attendants is anticipated to expand by 10.2%.

flight attendant salary

Requirements to be a flight attendant

A high school diploma is the minimum qualification for flight attendants, but a post-secondary degree, particularly in public relations, communications, or hotel administration, is preferable.

Attendants train for six weeks to six months after being employed by an airline and completing background checks and drug testing, depending on the nation and airline regulations. They are often trained at the airline's hub or headquarters, and upon successful completion of the program, they get a Certificate of Demonstrated Proficiency.

flight attendant salary

The emphasis in training is on safety for both the crew and the passengers. Attendants have received first-aid training and can administer CPR and defibrillation if necessary. They can manage minor injuries, nosebleeds, and sickness after receiving training. In addition, procedures for dealing with onboard births and fatalities, hazardous substances or gasses discharged into the cabin, and inebriated passengers are described.

flight attendant salary

Flight attendants know how to safely remove people off the plane and battle flames in the case of an emergency. In the case of a decompression emergency or a distant emergency landing in a jungle, sea, or desert environment, they are taught survival techniques. Attendants are frequently trained self-defense and, in certain circumstances, the use of lethal force in the event of a terrorist assault or hijacking.

Learn how to become a flight attendant.

flight attendant salary

Common questions

Frequently asked questions about flight attendant careers.

How long does it take to become a flight attendant?

Airlines give basic training to flight attendants when they are recruited, which can take anywhere from six weeks to three months, depending on the country. The training is often conducted at the airline's flight training facility and must be approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

New flight attendants are then placed on call (or reserve status), which requires them to be prepared to report to the airport on short notice to staff extra flights or fill in for absent crew members. Flight attendants are generally placed on reserve for at least a year, but in some places, they can be placed on reserve for up to several years. Flight attendants earn enough seniority after this period to bid on monthly assignments.

flight attendant salary

Favorite Resources

Our favorite resources are included below.

Job interview resources

Resume and cover letter resources

Job search resources

free interview question and answer full guide

Interview Question and Answer Guide (PDF)

Get our full interview preparation guide. Complete with common interview questions and example answers. Free. No email required.

Grab the PDF

Related Hiring Resources

author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), NCDA Certified Career Counselor (CCC), and general career expert. Patrick has completed the NACE Coaching Certification Program (CCP). And has been published as a career expert on Forbes, Glassdoor, American Express, Reader's Digest, LiveCareer, Zety, Yahoo, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, SHRM.org, Process.st, FairyGodBoss, HRCI.org, St. Edwards University, NC State University, IBTimes.com, Thrive Global, TMCnet.com, Work It Daily, Workology, Career Guide, MyPerfectResume, College Career Life, The HR Digest, WorkWise, Career Cast, Elite Staffing, Women in HR, All About Careers, Upstart HR, The Street, Monster, The Ladders, Introvert Whisperer, and many more. Find him on LinkedIn.

Share

Help us by spreading the word