How much do flight attendants actually make?

Last updated: July 22, 2024
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Michael Frash
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How much do flight attendants actually make?
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Becoming a flight attendant has been a popular career choice for many years, and it’s not hard to understand why.

The career gives employees the opportunity to travel the world, make plenty of new friends, and explore unique locations.

It’s not all fun and games, though.

Flight attendants may be required to work long shifts, stay away from home for days on end, and, of course, get stuck on long-haul flights for hours.

There are some definite pros and cons. But what about the pay? What is a flight attendant’s salary like? And does the salary make up for the work-related challenges?

Let’s take a look.

What is a flight attendant, and what do they do?

Flight attendants (also known as cabin crew) work on planes and in airports. They are responsible for many duties.

Their primary role is to ensure the safety of all passengers on board and make the entire flying process smooth and enjoyable.

Specific flight attendant duties include:

  • Assisting with checking in passengers

  • Responding to in-flight emergencies

  • Offering food and beverages

  • Demonstrating the use of safety equipment

  • Assisting passengers with requests as they arise

  • Administering first aid if and when required

  • Monitoring the plane for suspicious behavior

  • Conducting safety checks before take-off

  • Assisting passengers in finding their seats

So, what does a flight attendant make for all of this?

Average flight attendant salary by state

The national average salary for flight attendants is $56,300, but this differs from state to state, reflecting the cost of living.

A few other factors affect your annual salary, such as:

  • Whether you’re working as a full-time or part-time flight attendant

  • The seniority of your role (head flight attendants earn more)

  • Experience (entry-level flight attendants make toward the lower end of this scale, while those with several years of experience will earn near the 80th percentile)

(Image Source)

Some airlines may also offer contributions toward other travel costs (such as meals), over and above your base salary.

Overall, the average flight attendant pay is pretty impressive, giving you a decent bit of spending money for your overseas trips.

This is assuming, of course, that you have time to explore in between flights. You’ll often have just an overnight stay in a hotel before flying back the next day with no time for exploration and fun.

Let’s take a look at what hourly wages look like for flight attendants by state. Bear in mind that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not publish data for all states.


Average base pay

% difference to national average













New York















North Carolina






Narrowing things down a bit further, the highest paying flight attendant jobs can be found in these cities:

  • Austin, Texas: $72,460

  • San Diego, California: $64,930

  • Orlando, Florida: $63,830

  • Boston, Massachusetts: $63,620

  • Charlotte, North Carolina: $63,110

  • Raleigh, North Carolina: $61,440

  • Los Angeles, California: $60,830

  • Detroit, Michigan: $59,350

  • Atlanta, Georgia: $58,380

  • Las Vegas, Nevada: $58,160

Common questions about flight attendant salaries

Let’s answer some frequently asked questions about flight attendants and what they get paid.

Are flight attendants paid hourly or salary?

It ultimately depends on the airline and your specific role.

For example, part-time crew members are likely to be paid an hourly wage. By and large, though, flight attendants will earn an annual salary.

Do flight attendants get paid well?

All things considered, flight attendants get paid pretty well.

Considering the national median salary in the U.S. is $34,248 and the median salary for flight attendants is $56,300, flight attendants are doing a lot better than average.

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64% better, in fact.

Which airline has the highest-paid flight attendants?

Looking at average earnings, the highest-paying airlines are Alaskan Airlines, United Airlines, and American Airlines.

This changes when we look at the top paid 10% of flight attendants within each airline.

These flight attendants are working at one of the following:

  • Alaskan Airlines

  • JetBlue

  • American Airlines

  • Delta Airlines

  • Hawaiian Airlines

Here’s what the pay scale looks like for the ten top-paying airlines in the U.S.

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Is becoming a flight attendant worth it?

Becoming a flight attendant can be an extremely rewarding career.

You get paid well, are regularly meeting new and interesting people, and may even get the opportunity to explore new countries.

It’s not for everyone, though. Being a flight attendant can mean you’re isolated from friends and family for days or weeks at a time, and you’re taking on a serious responsibility for the safety of others.

Let’s explore a few pros and cons to help you decide whether this is the right fit for you.

Pros of becoming a flight attendant:

  • You may have the opportunity to explore new countries

  • You get benefits like cheap flight tickets

  • You meet a lot of people

  • Your job is varied, so this is definitely not a monotonous role

  • You get plenty of free time

In addition, the job outlook is pretty good, with a projected growth rate of 17%.

(Image Source)

Cons of becoming a flight attendant:

  • You’ll spend most of your time commuting

  • You might find the job to be stressful

  • You’ll probably miss out on important events

  • You might struggle to form romantic relationships

  • Your eating habits might suffer

  • You’re often on call and may need to fill in at the last minute

Is flight attending right for you?

Like all careers, there are pros and cons to becoming a flight attendant.

Of course, one of the huge pros is that flight attendants can earn a significantly higher salary than the national average.

Think you’ve got what it takes? Check for vacancies on the Jobcase job board.



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