20 Amazing and Exciting Benefits of Being a Flight Attendant

airplane window view

There are so many benefits that come with being a flight attendant, it was hard to boil this list down to just 20!

Flying is such a rewarding career. If you are looking for a pros-only list of reasons to become a flight attendant, just keep reading! Even if you end up leaving the industry, like I did, the experiences and benefits will certainly change your life, for the better!

✅ Benefit #1 Travel

When you ask a flight attendant what the benefits of being a flight attendant are, the first one you will hear about is the travel. I mean, who doesn’t want to be paid to see the world?

Exploring new cities while on layovers was my favorite part of being a flight attendant because I was essentially being paid to check out museums, visit far-away friends, eat amazing food, and browse shops around the world.

Even better than traveling for work, is traveling for fun! Flight attendants’ travel benefits are not limited to work trips! As most people know, flight attendants also get access to free stand-by flights on their off time. Flying stand-by can be tricky, but if you are willing to travel during the off-season, you can fly to the most popular cities in the world for free!

✅ Benefit #2 Meeting New People

Most flight attendant’s think of meeting new people as a benefit of the job, after all most flight attendants would describe themselves as “social butterflies.”

I loved getting to meet new people every time I went to work. Since no two flight crews are usually the same trip-to-trip, you meet new colleagues all the time, in addition to meeting new passengers each flight. The best part of meeting new people is listening to their stories.

I especially loved listening to older people tell me about their families, careers, love stories, and adventures.

Oh, and meeting celebrities can be pretty cool too. (When they’re nice!)

✅ Benefit #3 Friendships

It’s a pretty common experience among flight attendants to go from zero to best friends in the span of a single flight.

Perhaps this is because we bond over the crazy things we experience together in-flight or because we often act as free “jump seat therapists,” or even because we share a lifestyle so unique that our other friends and family just cannot understand it.

Whatever the reason, friendships among crew members are certainly one of the things I cherished about my time as a flight attendant. When I fly with my old airline and run into my old friends it feels like coming home.

✅ Benefit #4 Flexible Schedules

Flexibility is another one of the most commonly talked-about benefits of being a flight attendant. Because our schedules are selected monthly, you have the ability to shape your schedule around important events.

Unfortunately, this perk is really only available after you accumulate some seniority. Junior flight attendants have less control over their schedules and will often have to spend months on reserve, which makes your life unpredictable.

That said, most airlines have trip-trading systems that allow flight attendants to trade trips with one another to help accommodate a more flexible schedule.

Once you are senior enough to hold the exact schedule you ask for, the flexibility of being a flight attendant is unparalleled.

✅ Benefit #5 Daily Adventures

Flying is an adventure at work and on the layover.

On the plane, you will see everything eventually. From medical emergencies to politicians with a full secret service entourage, the number of wild things flight attendants encounter never ceases to amaze.

In fact, “Never a dull moment,” is practically a motto among flight attendants when something goes haywire or gets exciting. This is probably why the job appeals to so many people who crave a good adrenaline rush.

On layovers, you never know what will happen. Perhaps a crew member will rent a car and take everyone to a National Park, or maybe the fire alarm will go off at 2AM.  You could end up having to take a pilot to the emergency room with a suspected heart attack and spend the whole night translating for him. Anything can happen!

✅ Benefit #6 No Micromanagement

It can be stressful to have a hyper-involved manager that sticks their nose in everything that goes on around the workplace. Luckily as a flight attendant that never happens.

Flight managers are almost never on flights. They work in the office and are intended to provide support with things like ordering uniform replacements, or getting a sick note filed properly. They are usually former flight attendants themselves, who understand cabin crew members are highly independent.

Flight service managers generally only do “check rides” with new hires to make sure they’re adhering to the legal regulations.

✅ Benefit #7 Staying in Nice Hotels

I am spoiled by the hotels I used to stay in on layovers, with their luxurious king-sized beds, fluffy duvets, complementary sparkling water, fitness centers, and saunas.

Most airlines put their crews up in 4 and 5-star hotels that have been scouted and selected by flight attendants themselves. At some of the more tropical international destinations it is not uncommon for crews to be put up in all-inclusive resorts, and many hotels offer crews complimentary access to their breakfast buffets.

Some of the big hotel chains will even let flight attendants collect loyalty points for their stay. Usually these points can’t be counted towards free stays, but they do eventually add up to grant us access to the exclusive lounges where free cocktails are served.

✅ Benefit #8 The Chance to Grocery Shop Around the World

This one might sound weird, but flight attendants love to go grocery shopping around the world. Heck, we even have special shopping lists and errand routines for certain destinations.

I know flight attendants who eagerly await layovers in France to get certain types of cheese. Or will never miss a trip to the pharmacy in Germany to get a specific type of hand cream. One of my friends even bids for trips to Barcelona specifically to get a special kind of Tanqueray Gin sold at Aldi in Spain.

To this day, I always get a kick out of visiting the grocery stores when I travel to a new foreign country.

✅ Benefit #9 Airport Discounts

Let’s face it, airports are expensive and when you practically live in them, buying necessities, like food between flights, would become prohibitively pricey pretty quickly.

This is the reason airports offer crew members a 15% discount off everything but alcohol. At major hub airports, some of the in-terminal restaurants even have secret menus for crew members that are half the price of the regular menu-items.

✅ Benefit #10 Uniforms

I don’t know about you but, now that I no longer work for an airline, I have the hardest time deciding what to wear to work every day. I miss the days of just throwing on my uniform without having to think too hard about it.

Of course, airline uniforms are not all created equal, and not all flight attendants enjoy wearing their uniform.

American Airlines was sued over their uniforms a few years back because they had been treated with a toxic chemical that made many flight attendants sick. British Airways was in the news recently because their new uniform includes a white shirt so see-through, their updated uniform standards have to stipulate what kind of bra women are allowed to wear with their uniform.

Despite the controversies it is nice to not have to purchase a work wardrobe, since the uniform is provided to you.

✅ Benefit #11 Discounted Travel for Friends and Family

Flight attendants are not the only ones who receive flight benefits. Most airlines extend these to crew members’ immediate families.

While flight attendants can offer their partners, parents, and children the same benefits they enjoy. Flight attendants are only allotted a certain number of “buddy passes” to give to friends. Still these passes can save a crew members’ lucky inner-circle a significant amount of money.

✅ Benefit #12 Travel Discounts with Partners

Most airlines have cooperations with other travel industries to offer their employees great discounts on other travel-related services from hotel stays, cruises, and car rentals to cheap shipping costs with FedEx.

The deals and discounts available to flight attendants are usually accessible through a handy online portal provided by the airline.

✅ Benefit #13 Quality Health Insurance Benefits

Especially in the United States, access to quality health insurance is certainly a benefit.

US airlines offer their employees some of the best health insurance, vision insurance, and dental insurance plans in the country. The cost of the premium is comparatively low while the care network and coverage is top-notch.

This won’t make much sense to folks outside of the US, but airlines tend to provide insurance that have a very inclusive list of in-network providers and hospitals. It is in the airline’s best interests after all, to ensure its employees can be cared for even if they are out-of-state.

✅ Benefit #14 Competitive Pay

Not to undercut the efforts of flight attendant unions in the United States as they try to negotiate better wages for crew members, but airlines do pay well compared to other similar positions in the industry.

Most airlines pay on a seniority scale, meaning the longer you work for the airline the higher your hourly rate will be. Most airlines start out paying junior flight attendants between $25 and $35 an hour, and top-out paying their senior flight attendants between $75 and $90 an hour.

While flight attendants do not currently receive pay during boarding and deplaning, (unless they work for Delta), they are paid an hourly premium for the full duration of their trip in addition to their hourly “flight pay.”

👉 Interested in flight attendant salaries ? Read my article Which Airlines Pay Flight Attendants the Most?

✅ Benefit #15 Retirement Benefits

Most airlines have a retirement plan that flight attendants can benefit from. American Airlines, for example, would match investments in a 401K up to a certain percentage.

Other benefits retired flight attendants can enjoy include, a certain number of standby-by passes per year or even full retention of their flight benefits.  On occasion airlines will even offer retirement bonuses to encourage flight crews to take an early retirement.

✅ Benefit #16 Paid Global Entry

If you work for a US based airline you can likely have the airline pay for your Global Entry card which usually costs $100 every ten-years.

For those who don’t know, Global Entry is a program that pre-clears people for a fast-track through customs. If you get approved for Global Entry you also get access to the TSA Pre-Check security lines.

It really is a great thing to have if you have to go through US customs pretty regularly.

✅ Benefit #17 Time for Side-Hustles

Along the same lines as the flexibility, flight attendants’ schedules often include plenty of time for a side-hustle or part time job.

Many, many flight attendants run their own small businesses on the side or stay connected to a prior profession part-time.

I personally put myself through college while flying because I had the time.

✅ Benefit #18 A Global Community of Peers

Although I no longer work for American Airlines, I still feel like I am a part of the wider flight attendant community.

We all live(d) this crazy lifestyle that no one outside of our profession can ever truly understand or relate to. So when you meet flight attendants from other airlines around the world, you automatically have something unique in common and it is easy to become fast friends.

✅ Benefit #19 All the Best Dinner Party Stories

Flight attendants are often star story-tellers at dinner parties. Everyone loves a good drama, and we are certainly not short on tales to talk about crazy passengers, harrowing medical emergencies, or inside celebrity gossip.

I am an academic now, but my colleagues love hearing about my old job at dinners together.

✅ Benefit #20 Transferable Skills

When you work as a flight attendant you learn so many skills that you can use in other areas of your life, or even in other careers if you ever leave the industry.

No matter what you do in life you will always be able to draw upon your first aid training, conflict resolution skills, and problem-solving abilities.


There are so many benefits of being a flight attendant. I briefly went over 20 here but if your favorite part of being a flight attendant didn’t make the list, we would love to hear from you! But I think we can all agree, the main reason anyone becomes a flight attendant is because they love to travel and they want to get paid to do what they love.

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