How Much Does A Flight Attendant Make?
"I am interested in becoming a flight attendant because I have heard that flight attendants make more money than most customer service people. I have been working in a store for the past few years, and while I think I enjoy customer service, I’m not a big fan of the small size of my existing paycheck. I don’t want to go through all the training, though, just to find out I’m wasting my time and I’m still going to be making minimum wage. Plus, it seems like it’d be a stressful schedule. Are there any extra perks? Do I really get free miles?"
asked by Colleen from Fort Worth, TX
Since flight attendants work on airplanes and indeed have to work unusual schedules and sometimes very long hours (though generally part time hours each week—which is nice), they do get paid more money than your typical customer service representative. I’m guessing your current annual salary is nothing like that—probably closer to $20,000, right? Most customer service agents barely earn a living wage, but that’s not the case for flight attendants.
Your salary may start out comparable to your current earnings, but it can rise with time and experience. Some flight attendants who have been working in the industry for a long time make upwards of $75,000 per year. Some even pull in six figures. That’s pretty awesome for customer service.
Flight Attendant Salary
Average Flight Attendant Annual Salary
The average annual salary for flight attendants is $51,620 a year. Salaries start at $26,570 a year and go up to $78,650 a year.
Does Your Pay Depend On Your Experience?
Executive Flight Attendant$78,650/year
(Top 10% of Flight Attendants)
Senior Flight Attendant$62,490/year
(Top 25% of Flight Attendants)
Mid Level Flight Attendant$48,500/year
Junior Flight Attendant$39,860/year
(Bottom 25% of Flight Attendants)
Entry Level Flight Attendant$26,570/year
(Bottom 10% of Flight Attendants)
Flight Attendant Average Salary Comparison
Top 10 Highest Paying States For Flight Attendants
- 1. Washington $70,500 / yr
- 2. Oregon $67,380 / yr
- 3. Arizona $63,710 / yr
- 4. Massachusetts $57,720 / yr
- 5. Florida $55,460 / yr
- 6. Texas $55,980 / yr
- 7. Indiana $51,150 / yr
- 8. Illinois $49,280 / yr
- 9. California $48,640 / yr
- 10. Michigan $47,390 / yr
Top 10 Highest Paying Cities For Flight Attendants
- 1. Seattle, WA $70,610 / yr
- 2. Portland, OR $67,930 / yr
- 3. Phoenix, AZ $63,840 / yr
- 4. Miami, FL $59,580 / yr
- 5. Boston, MA $57,720 / yr
- 6. Orlando, FL $56,180 / yr
- 7. Fort Worth, TX $53,540 / yr
- 8. Cleveland, OH $51,800 / yr
- 9. Los Angeles, CA $50,610 / yr
- 10. Chicago, IL $49,270 / yr
Flight Attendant Salary By State
Data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
As to “free miles,” there are free travel opportunities that go with this profession, and not just the flights you take during the course of your work (with those, you’ll usually be too tired to see the sights). They don’t usually take the form of “free miles,” though. Generally they are more like “stand by” travel. Basically, if a seat or seats opens up on a flight that is about to take off, or seats have gone unfilled, you may be able to take the flight for free, wherever it goes. Oftentimes family members qualify for these travel benefits as well, so that means free vacations not only for you, but for family members as well.
The good news though is that the training takes place after you are extended an offer, and not before, since each company does things differently. So you won’t be wasting time—if you are offered training, you are being offered a job. And the salary is great, as are the benefits, and if you want to make a great wage working part time, it could be ideal. Do some research and figure out how to get started. With your job experience, you should have something of an advantage when you apply.