Flight Attendant Salary & Benefits Explained | CareerMetis.com

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Flight attendant salary will vary based on the company that hires you. In almost all cases, it can be a very lucrative and exciting career. The flying benefits are one of the most appealing perks of being a flight attendant.

Read below for more details about flight attendant’s salary & benefits.

Yearly Pay Increases

A flight attendant’s hourly wage will vary depending on the number of years he/she is with the company and the size of the airline. Some smaller airlines might start at $17-19 per hour while another could start at $20+ per hour. If you have extensive experience and you are hired by a private airline, that hourly rate could be even significantly higher.

Although you are likely to start at around $20, most airlines have a set schedule for yearly pay increases. Your hourly rate will go up somewhere between $2.00-$5.00 dollars every year.

The above stats are mainly applied to major North American airlines such as Delta, United Airlines, JetBlue…etc and flight attendant contracts are slightly different in other parts of the world.

For example, Middle Eastern Airlines such as Etihad, Qatar, Airways, FlyDubai have different benefits and salaries that also attracts candidates from all over the world.

Starting Off as a Reserve

The first thing all new flight attendants must understand is the reserve policy for the airline that hires them. Almost every flight attendant starts out as a reserve.

Being a reserve means your schedule is more uncertain because you are on-call for specific days and times rather having a set schedule.

Every reserve is guaranteed a specific amount of hours per month and it usually ranges between 74-85 hours. Starting out, you may or may not fly the guaranteed number of hours in a given month but you will always receive the guaranteed pay.

To get an idea of what your monthly pay will be, multiply your hourly pay by your guaranteed hours. There are other pay additions and deductions we will discuss in more detail below.

The length of time you will be a reserve varies; it depends on several factors. Two of the main factors being the airlines needs and the bases needs in which you are stationed.  

Some flight attendants are on reserve for as little as a couple months while others as long as ten years.  We suggest you do your research and ask around to get a better idea of how long you should expect to be on reserve with your specific company and their different bases.

Once you have moved up in seniority and are no longer needed for reserve, you can become a line holder. Being a line holder means you will no longer be on call at any given time but instead you will know the details of your monthly schedule and trips several weeks in advance. T

here is no guaranteed number of paid hours but you will probably work slightly more often than you would as a reserve.

Additional Flight Attendant Salary & Benefit Information

Benefits & Deductions: 

In most well-known airlines there is a dental, health, and vision benefit plan for a small paycheck deduction. Most airlines offer retirement plans and a pre-approved amount is deducted from each check for this savings plan. You will also pay monthly union dues and normal taxes from each paycheck.


There is almost always an opportunity to pick up more hours. Most flight attendants have options to pick up extra trips and quite often can make more money in a given month by being more aggressive with their schedule. You will learn the ins and outs of working your schedule fairly quick and be able to take advantage of the flexibility.


 Most airlines offer hard working flight attendants some type of bonus incentives to look forward to. It could be for perfect attendance, on-time performance, or even a company profit share that everyone benefits from.  These bonuses can be as much as low as $100 in any given month.

Another addition to the pay check you can look forward to is your per diem.

A per diem usually ranges from $1.50-$2.00 and is calculated for the entire time you are away from your base (from the time you check in for your trip to the time you return to your base from your trip). Keep in mind, a trip can range from 1- 6 days.

As you can see, the pay ranges vastly and is dependent on several factors throughout a flight attendants career. With all the information provided, one could expect to make between $18,000-$85,000+ a year as a flight attendant. The longer you stay, the more your pay and salary increases.

  • For trip assignments that require an overnight stay in cities away from your base, your airline will provide hotel accommodations and transportation to and from the airport.
  • Flight attendants are given free airfare on their airline employment and usually for other partner airlines. In addition, your parents fly free and you will receive passes to give to 2 pass riders of your choice to fly free for the year. Keep in mind, these free flight privileges are for standby travel only and travel perks vary by airline.
  •  Some airlines still offer buddy passes at discounted rates but this will limit the number of pass riders you can add to your list for the year.

In addition to everything we have mentioned above, you will enjoy the benefits of receiving discounts at airport retail and food stores as well as other outside entities your company has partnered with to offer you discounts.

It is exciting and certainly worth it to make a living as a flight attendant. Put your time in as a reserve, be flexible, and stay enthusiastic.

It is a rewarding career that will show you the world and, ultimately, earns you an impressive flight attendant salary at the same time.

Written By
Yassine Elkarmoudi the founder of Etihad Assessment , a platform for cabin crew guidance dedicated to helping candidates pass the recruitment process and become world leading flight attendants. The site has beneficial resources for everyone on a job hunt for airlines abroad, especially Middle Eastern Airlines.

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