How Much Do Flight Attendants Really Make? (11 Airlines Compared)

flight attendant salaries
Yes, let’s answer the million-dollar question! (Photo by Philadelphia International Airport / CC BY)

Hey future flight attendants and curious minds, welcome aboard!

Ever wondered how much do flight attendants really make? Well, today I’m unveiling the insights from my firsthand experience as a flight attendant.

Let’s dive into the factors that determine a flight attendant’s salary and check out examples of average salaries.

Read on for the details!✈️🌟

Factors That Determine How Much a Flight Attendant Earns

The airline and the country of employment

Your flight attendant salary depends on both the airline and the country of employment.
Major airlines usually come with fatter paychecks compared to the small regional or low cost ones.
Now, here’s the kicker – even if you’re working for the same airline, the salary can vary depending on the country you’re in.
Take Jetstar, for instance. A flight attendant with Jetstar Vietnam might be looking at around $1,000 a month, while their colleagues with Jetstar Australia could be earning $3,000 on average. So, it’s not just about the airline; it’s also about the country.

The experience level/seniority

Let’s delve into the seniority factor – one of the most important elements. Even within the same airline, your pay structure can vary based on your experience level.

A new flight attendant in the US might start at $21.42 per hour. After six years of experience, that rate will climb to $39.49 per hour. Why the increase? Most pay structures are based on seniority, rewarding flight attendants with higher compensation, including additional flying payments for each hour. As a result, flight attendants end up earning more for the same job. 💼

The flying pay

Typically, we are compensated on a “per flight hour” basis.

This means we receive payment for the duration we spend in the air, from takeoff to landing. Unfortunately, most airlines don’t provide compensation for ground time – encompassing pre-flight terminal activities, briefings, boarding, intervals between flights, and even delays. The clock starts ticking when the plane’s doors are closed and it begins to roll, continuing until it comes to a stop after landing (referred to as “chocks on”).

Alternatively, payment can be structured as “per sector”, where remuneration is based on individual flights. In this case, it depends on whether it’s a national or international flight and/or its duration. It’s a comparable system, again with compensation limited to the time spent in flight.

Note: Delta and Skywest made a significant change by beginning to pay flight attendants for boarding in June 2022 and April 2023. This is a substantial improvement, especially when considering that boarding is one of the most challenging aspects of our job.

Other factors that can affect your paycheck

Working night shifts (night pay): Often referred to as “red-eye flights”

Speaking other languages (LOD): You can earn a bonus for each foreign language you speak, particularly when working on flights that require a Language of Destination flight attendant (LOD).

Layover allowances (per diem): Flight attendants receive a per diem allowance whenever they have overnight stays at a destination.

Position/type of aircraft: Being promoted to Business class, First class, or taking on roles like Cabin Manager or Lead Flight Attendant results in higher pay.

Transportation allowance: Flight attendants receive a monthly transportation allowance.

Commissions: Airlines may have commission schemes, such as earning commissions on duty-free and catering sales.

Credit card pitches: In the USA, airlines like American, Delta, Spirit, or Frontier have flight attendants making in-cabin pitches for credit cards tied to each airline’s frequent-flier program, providing an additional source of income.

Flight Attendant Benefits/Perks

Paid Holidays

Flight attendants typically receive a certain number of paid vacation days per year, which can range from 2 to 5 weeks depending on the country.

Contributory Company Pension

Flight attendants often have the opportunity to contribute to a company-sponsored pension plan. Airlines frequently match or contribute a certain percentage, promoting long-term financial stability. This benefit plays a crucial role in retirement planning, ensuring a comfortable lifestyle post-retirement.

Free or Discounted Airfares

Most airlines offer free or discounted airfares to flight attendants. Sometimes, this benefit extends to friends and family, which is an added bonus. However, it’s essential to note that this perk often involves flying standby, meaning boarding is dependent on seat availability. While a great benefit, it can be stressful, potentially leading to unexpected delays if flights are full. As a personal strategy, I often return a few days early from holidays to provide a safety margin in case I can’t secure a standby seat.

For more on this topic, check out these 2 articles:

A Guide to Non rev travel

What Is A Buddy Pass?

Other Common Benefits:

Flight attendants also enjoy various health benefits such as medical and dental care, or discounts on these services. Additionally, they may receive insurances and crew discounts at hotels, car rental agencies, retail stores, and more. These perks contribute significantly to the overall financial rewards of being a flight attendant.

A New Flight Attendant’s Salary Comparison Table

To make it easier to read, all the numbers in this table have been converted to American dollars (USD).

Yearly Salary From (USD) Yearly Salary Up To (USD)
British Airways $26,600 $34,200
Ryanair $15,600 $21,600
Emirates Airlines $28,200 $38,600
Qatar Airways $23,000 $39,500
Etihad Airways $25,000 $32,000
American Airlines $30,000 $45,000
JetBlue $25,000 $35,000
Delta Airlines $33,000 $45,000
Frontier Airlines $28,000 $42,000
Spirit Airlines $22,000 $32,000
Qantas Airways $27,000 $30,000

Now, let’s get into the details of each of those airlines.

How Much Do Flight Attendants Earn?

Okay, the bad news is that there’s no straightforward answer to this question, there are just so many variables. But stay with me, and I’ll talk you through them.

In their first year, flight attendants, depending on their country and employer, can see annual earnings ranging from $22,000 to $49,000 on average.

Now, there’s a spectrum here. I’ve come across individuals, pulling in a solid $65,000 annually. Conversely, some might find themselves on the lower end, like those employed by budget airlines, earning less than $13,000.

Now, here’s the catch – even when you’ve settled into an airline, your monthly earnings will still vary. It all hinges on the flights you undertake and a few other factors. So, let’s delve into the intricacies of how the earnings game plays out in a handful of different airlines.

So let’s look at how it all works on a few different airlines.

Exploring Flight Attendant Salaries Across Different Airlines

Case #1: Flight Attendant Salaries at British Airways

british airways flight attendant
British Airways flight attendants – Photo by Mike McBey / CC BY

British Airways has three different cabin crew fleets: London Heathrow Fleet, London Gatwick Fleet and London City Flyer

1. London Heathrow Fleet:

Cabin crew can earn up to £28,000 annually, inclusive of flying/duty pay and a tax-free subsistence allowance. Basic pay is £18,169. Additional perks include company benefits, including Staff Travel benefits from day 1 of joining.

Payment Structure:
Hourly payment during flying and on-duty hours, subsistence allowance during flights, opportunities for performance bonuses, and commission on inflight retail and Buy on Board sales.

Career Path:

Cabin Crew

Inflight Lead (Combining the role of experienced Cabin Crew and Senior Cabin Crew Member)

Inflight Manager (Responsibilities include managing a team of up to 22 Cabin Crew, potential involvement in recruitment and training, and ensuring a commitment to top-notch service).

2. London Gatwick Euroflyer Fleet:

£17,267 plus company benefits, including Staff Travel benefits from day 1.

Payment Structure:
Hourly duty pay of £3.62 during flying, performance-related increments annually, and commission on inflight retail and Buy on Board sales.

Career Path:

Cabin Crew

Customer Service Supervisor (Leading, motivating, and inspiring a team of up to 11 onboard Cabin Crew)

Customer Service Manager (Leading, coaching, and inspiring a team of Cabin Crew, overseeing safety, customer satisfaction, and operational efficiency, potentially in charge of teams on Boeing 777/747 and Airbus 319/320/321).

3. London CityFlyer Fleet:

Potential to earn an average reward package ranging from £21,000 to £27,000, inclusive of a starting salary of £15,152. Additional components include flying/duty pay, inflight sales commission, and allowances.

Payment structure:

Hourly payment when you are flying, company performance bonus, commission for in-flight retail sales and other payments.

Career Path:

Cabin Crew

Senior Cabin Crew

Cabin Service Manager

Case #2: Flight Attendant Salaries at Ryanair

ryanair flight attendants
Ryanair flight attendants

Let’s take a closer look at working with Ryanair, Europe’s largest low-cost airline boasting a massive fleet of 500 aircraft and a diverse cabin crew team exceeding 14,000 members.

Different Contracts, Different Earnings:

Within Ryanair, the pay and contracts for cabin crews can be quite diverse, making it tricky to pinpoint exact figures. Having conversations with my colleagues revealed a spectrum of salaries and conditions.

Here’s a breakdown of the types of contracts:


Crew members act as self-employed individuals, creating their own limited company.
Sole responsibility for taxes, insurance, and other matters.
Compensation is solely based on flying hours and a 10% commission from onboard sales. No basic salary.
Example: Buzz cabin crew in Poland, Latvia, Hungary, Austria and Slovakia

External Agency Contracts:

This is one of the best common practices. As a junior temporary cabin crew, you’ll get a three-year probationary contract. If you are a successful member of crew, you have the potential to be directly employed with Ryanair.

Employed directly with Ryanair:

Those employed directly by Ryanair will have a permanent contract and better remuneration.

Determinants of Earnings:

Here’s the scoop on working with Ryanair. The kind of contract you get and how much you earn depends a lot on where they decide to place you after training. You will get the chance to pick your base preference, but at the end of the day, it’s the airline making the call based on their needs.

If you’re thinking of a transfer later, get ready for a wait. It could long before it happens.

One positive thing is that the 6-week training is free. But you’ll need to cover accommodation and food costs. They throw in a 28€ allowance, but it might not be enough if the training is in Germany, Italy, or Ireland.

Your earnings aren’t just about where you’re based; it also depends on how often you fly. Some bases give you lots of flight hours, others not so much. Expect to earn anywhere from 600€ to 2000€ each month, depending on how much you fly.

Long story short, once you’re in with Ryanair, you could be looking at earning between €15,600 and €21,600 a year, depending on where you’re based, how much you fly, and the type of contract you have.

Examples of Ryanair Cabin Crew Monthly Salaries:


Flying 80 hours: €1830 + 10% commissions on sales
Flying 50 hours: €1650 + 10% commissions on sales


Flying 80 hours: €1100 + 10% commissions on sales
Flying 50 hours: €950 + 10% commissions on sales


Flying 80 hours: €1646 + 10% commissions on sales
Flying 50 hours: €1466 + 10% commissions on sales


Flying 80 hours: €2099 + 10% commissions on sales
Flying 50 hours: €1799.5 + 10% commissions on sales

Case #3: Flight Attendant Salaries at Emirates Airlines


emirates flight attendants
Emirates Airlines flight attendants

Emirates cabin crew enjoy tax-free salaries, averaging around AED10,388 (€2,591) monthly, adding up to over €31,000 annually, according to the airline. This comprehensive amount encompasses base salary, flight hours, and layover payments.

Let’s break it down:

  • Basic Monthly Salary for Grade II (Economy Class): AED 4430
  • Flying Pay for Grade II: AED 63.75 per hour (typically flying 80 to 100 hours monthly)
  • Average Monthly Pay: AED 10170 (equivalent to 2770 USD)

Moreover, Emirates goes the extra mile by providing complimentary accommodation for all crew members, with housing bills covered.

If you want to know more about Emirates cabin crew salary and benefits read this article.

Case #4: Flight Attendant Salaries at Qatar Airways

qatar cabin crew
Photo source: Brussels Airport from Belgium / CC BY-SA

Flight attendants at Qatar Airways start out at 96,000 QAR – 144,000 QAR ($26,300 – $39,500) a year.

This money is tax-free and includes basic payment plus flight hours and layover allowance, but as the flight attendant becomes more experienced, that rate goes up quite considerably.

Besides, Qatar Airways provides free accommodation to all the crew.

If you’re interested in knowing more about Qatar cabin crew salaries and benefits, read this article.

Case #5: Flight Attendant Salaries at Etihad Airways

crew etihad
Photo credits: dorinaadriana

Flight attendants at Etihad Airways start out at 96,000 AED – 120,000 AED ($25,000 – $32,000) a year.

This money is tax-free and includes basic payment plus flight hours and layover allowance, but as the flight attendant becomes more experienced, that rate goes up quite considerably.

Besides, Etihad Airways provides free accommodation to all the crew.

If you want to know more about Etihad cabin crew salaries and benefits, read this article.

Case #6: Flight Attendant Salaries at American Airlines

american airlines salaries
Photo credits: tash_vera

Flight attendants with American Airlines start out at $30,000 – $45,000.

This money includes payment for their flight hours, layover payments (per diem) and any other bonuses.

But as they become more experienced that rate goes up quite considerably.

Highly experienced flight attendants with AA can make up to $80,000  per annum or more.

Make sure you check out my article on American Airlines flight attendant salaries to know more.

Case #7: Flight Attendant Salaries at JetBlue Airways

jetblue salaries
Photo credits: flywitheugene

Flight attendants with JetBlue Airways start out making between $25,000 – $35,000.

This salary includes flight hours, per diem, international, position, holiday, redeye, language, recognition, and other forms of payments.

While this is the starting salary, more senior flight attendants can make upwards of $100,000.

Check my article on JetBlue flight attendant salaries if you want to know more details.

Case #8: Flight Attendant Salaries at Delta Airlines

delta flight attendant salaries
Photo credits: Delta News Hub

Delta flight attendants in their first year usually make between $33,000 and $45,000 but as they stay with Delta longer they accrue seniority.

Each year the pay rate per hour goes up quite considerably.

Senior flight attendants at Delta Airlines can make over $118,000.

This salary includes everything: standard flight hour pay plus many other additional money compensations, such as per diem (layover allowance for food or other expenses), international flights, cabin manager, holidays, language, and several other forms of payments.

Check out my article to find out all the details (and examples): Delta Airlines flight attendant salaries.

Case #9: Flight Attendant Salaries at Frontier Airlines

salaru flight attendant frontier airlines
Photo credit: patrickcall.artist

Flight Attendants at Frontier Airlines can expect to make anywhere from $28,000 to $42,000 the first year.

However, this will significantly increase over the years.

Starting pay at Frontier is $23.56 an hour, and caps out at $55.43 when you hit 20 years of service.

Check out my article if you want to know more details about Frontier Airlines flight attendant salaries.

Case #10: Flight Attendant Salaries at Spirit Airlines

Flight Attendants at Spirit Airlines can expect to make anywhere from $22,000 to $32,000 for their first year.

Starting base pay at Spirit is $21.04 an hour, and caps out at $51.13 after 16 years of experience.

Check out my article if you want to know more details about Spirit Airlines flight attendant salaries.

Case #11: Flight Attendant Salaries at Qantas Airways

Flight Attendants at Qantas Airways can expect to make from AUD $40,000 – $44,000 (USD $27,000 to $30,000) for their first year.

Starting base pay increases every year for 8 years in the case of a Regional Cabin Crew.

Customer Service Supervisor FAs can expect to earn AUD $76,000 (USD $52,000) and Customer Service Manager FAs AUD $96,000 (USD $66,000).

Wrap Up

I understand this might feel overwhelming, but I hope I’ve provided a glimpse into the diverse landscape of a flight attendant’s pay and conditions. The key takeaway is the multitude of variables at play. As you navigate this path, do thorough research, don’t hesitate to ask questions, and ensure a clear understanding of your career trajectory and associated pay rates at each stage.

Happy flying!

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About The Author


  1. Thanks a lot u helped me
    For answering my questions because i tend to join emirates i was interested by the salary due to yr explanation i see that is more interesting but i d like to know if i can do it working hours and hours in a flight it doesn t seem exhausting for you ?because i m scared that i ll get tired of it ?? And the second prblm is that we don t have pensions at the end

    1. Thank you for your comment Ghzala!
      Like every job, there are pros and cons of being a flight attendant and it all depends on your personality, preferences, and dislikes. But in my opinion, there is nothing like being a Flight Attendant, it’s a good job. If you enjoy meeting people and traveling, go for it! Even if it’s just for a short period of your life, try it.
      Good luck!

    1. Thanks Yael.
      I’ve always been annoyed too by those general salary websites that don’t have a clue what they’re talking about!

  2. First of all, thank you so much Coral for this detailed information on the Cabin crew’s career and salaries.
    Considering all pros and cons, which airline according to you would be most ideal to work in. If you could give your top 4 airlines, which ones would it be?

    1. Hey Vamshika,
      Glad it could give you an overview of flight attendant’s salaries 🙂
      The ideal airline to work in is a tough question to answer. If you’re interested in US airlines, read this article. And if you’re more interested in the Middle East airlines, read this one.

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