(Last Updated On: February 4, 2020)
A flight attendant starts making money when a flight takes off since that is the beginning of their working hours. This means that the time taken during boarding, taxiing, delays, cancellations or anything that makes the plane not to take off is not taken into account when calculating their income. Those who secure more flight hours through longer flights are able to make more than those who generally operate much shorter flights.
In the United States, the average flight attendant makes between $23,000 to $80,000 a year regardless of whether it is a domestic or international flight. They work an average of 75 hours to 100 hours a month in the air and 50 hours just preparing for the flight. They are also compensated for meals and accommodations while they are away from home.
According to the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, a flight attendant makes an average of $48,500 a year. One’s salaries depends on a variety of factors such as experience and airlines. The average entry level salary for those with 0 – 5 years of experience is around $38,000 while the very experienced ones make around $61,000. Airlines based in San Francisco and Houston pay 10 percent above the national average while those based in Atlanta and Miami earn 15 percent less.
Flight attendants also receive a per diem to help compensate for expenses on the job. A regional airline like SkyWest pay $1.95 per diem and this can add up to $3,700 per year. Larger international airlines pay $2.20 per diem for domestic flights and flights to neighbouring countries while flights to further international destinations they make $2.70 per hour.
Here is a list of the airlines in the United States that pay their flight attendants the most after accounting for the different benefits:
1. SouthWest Airlines – $65,000
This is a favorite for most flight attendants since they have a reputation of never laying off a single worker. They are able to make an average of $37 per flight hour.
2. Delta Airlines – $57,000
Flight attendants working for Delta are reported to an earn an average of $31 per flight hour.
3. United Airlines – $54,600
4. Alaska Airlines – $52,000
5. JetBlue – $46,000
This is one of the most favorite budget carriers.
6. Spirit – $43,000
The airline is one of the ultra low cost carriers
7. Allegiant Air – $43,000
8. Frontier – $42,000
9. American Airlines – $40,000
It is ranked the world largest airline and flight attendants here are able to make an average of $34 per flight hour.
10. SkyWest – $38,000
This airline largely serves as a contractor for other larger airlines. Flight attendants working here earn an average of $21 per hour.