How Much Do Flight Attendants Make?

How Much Do Flight Attendants Make?

From the time that airlines first started crossing the skies, the allure of being a flight attendant has been the dream of many a young person.  It seems glamorous to be able to traverse states, countries, and oceans all while flying in a sophisticated miniature world.  Yet, there are some drawbacks to being a flight attendant, as well.  In this post, we will be looking at several elements of this career from how much do flight attendants make to what are the requirements to become one.

Probably the most important aspect of choosing any career is finding out the salary first and foremost. Besides doing what you love, finding out how much you can make at it is one of the biggest decision factors in anyone’s life.  So how much do flight attendants make?  Well, this depends upon a variety of factors and which website you get your information from.  According to, “the median annual (US) Flight Attendant salary is $69,909 as of September 30, 2016, with a range usually between $56,104 to $86,683…”  Yet according to Occupational Outlook Handbook (the U.S Census Bureau of Labor and Statistics), the 2015 median salary of flight attendants was $44,860.  And yet a third site ( lists the pay range from $23,000 to $79,000.

Even factoring in the differences between the three sites, this does sound like a healthy salary, but looks can be deceiving.  Some flight attendants have complained that they only made about $10,000 their first year.  So what are the elements that cause such a wide difference in salary?  According to, “Flight attendants are paid on an hourly basis determined by a union contract that is almost entirely based on seniority.”  Thus, one of the greatest differing factors in how much flight attendants make are the amount of years you have worked in the airline industry.  Many flight attendants state that they have never made over $40,000 even after working for one company for over 10 years.


One of the reasons for this disparity in how much flight attendants make has to do with the time spent waiting in the airport.  Some airlines do not pay the attendant for assisting customers to board and deplane.  They will only pay them for the time the plane leaves one gate and arrives at the destination gate.

Other contributing factors to how much flight attendants make will include the airline that you work for, the number of weekends, holidays or nights you work, and whether you are flying internationally or nationally.  So, for example, if you work for a small airline that normally flies only short distances from one state to the next, you will likely make a far lower salary than the average $50,000.  On the other hand, if you work for an international airline and do ocean crossings at night on a regular basis, your salary will greatly increase.  So let’s review again: how much do flight attendants make?  They can make anywhere from $16,000 to $80,000 on the top end of the scale.

If how much flight attendants make hasn’t deterred you and you still dream of flying across the skies, then you will want to next look at the requirements it takes to become a flight attendant.  The following list from gives a general idea of what is required.

  • Age: Must be at least 18 to 21 years of age
  • Height: Must be between 4 ft 11 inches to 6 feet 3 inches
  • Reach: More importantly than your height is your reach. Cathay Pacific requires you to be able to reach up to 6 feet 7 inches (208 centimeters).  This is why so many flight attendants wear heels!
  • Weight: Must be proportional to your height
  • Vision: You must have at least 20/30 vision with or without glasses and contacts.
  • Appearance: Conservative and well-groomed are the words of the day when it comes to appearance for flight attendants. Hair should be above your shoulders or collar length.  (Or pulled back into a bun so it doesn’t interfere with your work.)  No piercings, visible tattoos or excessive jewelry are allowed.
  • Personality: Friendly, positive, good communication skills, and excellent literary skills are all necessary if you want to make a career as a flight attendant.

If this career still sounds like a fit for you, then pack your bags as you are about to take off for the wild blue yonder.


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