flight attendant salary

What is Typical Flight Attendant Pay?


Can you tell me how I would be paid working as a flight attendant? Am I paid by the hour or for each flight flown ? Thank you for your time.



Flight Attendant Pay

Unlike most 9 to 5 office workers who earn salaries that are privately negotiated and performance-based, flight attendant pay is based on an hourly union rate that is based almost entirely on seniority. For example, all first year flight attendants at a particular airline might earn $19 per hour; all sixth year flight attendants, $32 per hour; and all fourteenth year flight attendants, $41 per hour. Each airline’s hourly base rate is unique. Some airlines pay higher hourly rates than others.It all depends on the labor contract. Every 3 to 5 years, each airline negotiates a new labor contract with its flight attendant union. Once compensation is agreed upon, it is fixed for the duration of the contract. I will refer to various terms in this post relating to flight attendant pay. If you are unsure of the term, please look up its meaning in the Flight Attendant Dictionary.

As a flight attendant, you won’t be paid this hourly rate for every hour that you work. The time you spend commuting to the airport, sleeping in hotel rooms, standing around the airport between flights, and assisting passengers during boarding and deplaning is essentially unpaid labor. Most airlines only pay you from the time an aircraft pushes back from the gate to the time it arrives at the gate of its destination. This is commonly referred to as flight time, block time, or hard time. The major exception to this is meal expenses. Most airlines pay a nominal hourly rate to cover meal expenses. Hotel lodging is paid for by the airline.

Technically, flight attendants are paid based on accrued pay time,which includes block time plus any excess claim time. Claim time is time paid in excess of block time. For example, if you were required to deadhead to another city during a trip, you would not work the flight (and would not earn block time), but would be entitled to additional deadhead time. This additional time would be reflected in your pay time.

Instead of flight time-based pay, certain airlines compensate flight attendants based on the number of accrued monthly flight miles. Others pay flat salaries regardless of the hours (or miles) flown. These compensation methods are unique, but you should nevertheless be aware of them.

Next week, we will continue this discussion on how you are paid as a flight attendant. 


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