The average salary of flight attendants in the United States stands at $46,750 per year. For Canadian attendants, pay ranges from C$23,640 (approximately $17,655 USD) to C$65,161 ($48,666 USD). In the United Kingdom flight attendants make between £12,000 ($14,972 USD) and £30,000 ($37,431 USD). The range in Australia spans from AU$34,259 ($26,336 USD) to AU$66,261 ($50,937 USD). In Switzerland, the average salary for flight attendants is CHF 36,360 ($37,321 USD). Service workers and shop and market sales workers in the Norwegian air industry, which includes flight attendants, make an average of NOK 411,600 ($50,284 USD). Below you can learn more about the flight attendant salary, as well as the prospects of this profession.1
Flight Attendant Salary Influencers
The pay of a flight attendant turns on factors such as the nature of the airline industry and where flight attendants are employed. Within the airline sectors, entities such as labor organizations and governments help influence the salaries of flight attendants.
The commercial airline industry is global and strongly unionized. Collective bargaining shapes the pay, benefits and other working conditions of flight attendants. Seniority, especially in unionized airlines, helps define compensation, selection of flights to work, job security and other perks for flight attendants. As a result of international travel, attendants may receive incentives and reimbursement for expenses resulting from flights requiring overnight stays.
2. Geographical Area
|Flight Attendant Salary||Hourly Wage||Annual Wage|
Flight Attendant Salary in the US
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that flight attendants in the United States earned an average salary of $46,750 as of May 2015. One out of ten made more than $72,090 per year.
Flight Attendant Salary in Canada
According to PayScale, flight attendants in Canada earn an average pay of C$20.59 per hour. The yearly average comes to C$41,000. PayScale reports the pay range at C$23,640 to C$65,161 per year.
Flight Attendant Salary in the UK
The United Kingdom’s National Careers Service puts the range for flight attendants at £12,000 to £30,000 per year. Starting salaries run from £12,000 to £14,000, while experienced attendants make between £15,000 and £21,000. For “Highly Experienced” attendants, the pay averages £30,000 per year.
Flight Attendant Salary in Australia
PayScale says Australian flight attendants earn on average AU$42,070 per year. Accounting for bonuses and commissions, earnings span between AU$34,259 and AU$66,261.
Flight Attendant Salary in Switzerland
The flight attendants in Switzerland earned an average of CHF 36,360, according to a PayScale survey.
Flight Attendant Salary in Norway
According to Statistics Norway, “Service Workers and Shop and Market Sales Workers” earned a monthly pay of NOK 34,300.
Airlines usually seek flight attendant applicants with prior experience in the hospitality industry. As a result, prior employment with hotels, resorts and travel companies may enhance employment chances. Airlines also look for applicants to have prior work in sales or other customer service positions.
New hires typically undergo training through the airlines which may last three to six weeks, depending on the airline. During training, the attendants learn how to evacuate passengers, the use of air masks and other emergency equipment, rules for behavior and prohibited items on flights and first aid. Trainees take practice flights. In the United States, the training is required for certification by the Federal Aviation Administration. Australian flight attendants may train 18 to 24 months. Australia law requires flight attendants to receive a Responsible Service of Alcohol certificate, first-aid certification and a passport.
Typical flight attendant hours vary by airline and even by country. For instance, flight attendants in Australia log an average of 31.7 hours per week. Shifts generally run 12 hours to 14 hours per day, with flight attendants likely traveling to several cities at a time. Flight times can increase for attendants working international routes. Aviation regulations may impact work intervals. In the United States, the Federal Aviation Administration mandate a nine-hour period of rest between duty periods.
Given the length and 24-hour operation of airlines and airports, flight attendants can expect many evenings, nights, predawn and also weekend hours. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, flight attendants work nearly 75 to 100 hours per months, with an additional 50 hours on the ground. This time is often devoted to reports, preparing planes and accommodations for flights and awaiting flights to which they are assigned.
Bonuses & Benefit Packages
For many flight attendants, benefit packages include vouchers or reimbursement for hotel stays, flights or meals. Additionally, flight attendants on international or long-distance domestic flights may receive these benefits to defray the costs of overnight stays. With a heavy union presence in the airline industry, flight attendants rely on collective bargaining and also union representatives for pension and other job benefits. Unions may themselves have retirement, insurance coverage and other benefit programs.
In certain countries, flight attendants obtain government-mandated benefits. For instance, Switzerland runs a compulsory retirement program. The first two tiers, or pillars, are run by the Swiss government and afford retirees up to 60 percent of their work income. In Norway, flight attendants participate in a compulsory benefit program of occupational pension, occupational insurance, holiday pay and leaves of absence. Australian flight attendants can receive superannuation retirement benefits, representing generally 9.5 percent of the annual salary.
Generally, the growth of flight attendant jobs should be slight. For instance, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a two percent increase in the number of positions between 2014 and 2024. In Australia, the government expects new job openings for travel attendants, which include flight attendant, to be “below average.”
Various aspects of the airline industry have suppressed job growth for flight attendants. Airlines have significant costs in fleet maintenance and fuel. Regulations may also affect employment. For instance, Service Canada reports rule makers changed mandated ratios of flight attendants to passengers from 1/40 to 1/50. According to Service Canada, companies with smaller aircraft may hire a greater proportion of flight attendants compared to office staff. This may offset the increase in minimum ratios that otherwise would reduce employment of flight attendants. In the United States, air carriers may opt for planes able to carry more passengers rather than smaller planes serving regional travelers. The salaries in this field are relatively competitive, as proven by the commercial pilot pay.
To sum up, prospects for flight attendants may rise due to job turnover, retirement of flight attendants and a move of airlines to cut administrative staff in favor of flight attendants. Factors such as maintenance and fuel costs may play a role in future hiring of attendants. Other facets of the airline industry affecting pay include the presence of unions and seniority of attendants.