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I have briefly posted about this before, but this is a very complicated question so I will try to be as detailed as possible.
First of all, it is very important to know EVERY AIRLINE IS DIFFERENT! Therefore, your experience might be different than mine.
Every airline has different pay. If you want to know the pay for a specific airline, my best guess would be for you to Google it. I found some information on Glassdoor.com if you want to check it out. From looking at the salaries posted on Glassdoor, I think they are basing it on how much you get paid in your first couple of years – because you get a raise every year and will eventually make more than what is posted. More on that soon.
We get paid hourly – and we only get paid when the boarding door is closed! So that means all the time we spend on the airplane during boarding and deplaning, we aren’t getting paid for.
We get our schedules one month at a time. So we base our pay on how much we work in one month.
I would guess the average amount of hours worked a month is 80-120 hours. That doesn’t sound like a lot compared to most jobs that have a 40 hour work week, but again we don’t get paid for boarding or deplaning, which is a huge chunk of time.
Some airlines will have multiple different pay scales you can choose from. One pay scale could make the same amount per hour no matter how many hours you work. The other pay scale could make a smaller base rate per hour, but time and a half after you hit a certain number of hours (for example, every hour worked after 75 hours will be making time and a half.) It is kind of like overtime pay. If you are someone who likes to work a lot, that pay scale is for you.
We get a raise every year – which means you might be struggling the first year or so, but it definitely gets better.
Most airlines will give you a raise every year for 10 to 15 years, and then your salary maxes out. You might still get a raise for inflation some years even after your salary maxes out.
Most people in the industry agree that you will really start to see a positive difference in your paycheck around year 5.
We get Per diem for time away from base and layovers
If we have a layover somewhere, we get a certain amount of money each hour we layover (to pay for food, etc.)
We get paid extra for working certain Holidays
It might be double pay or time and a half.
Some airlines will pay you more money for:
- Working international flights
- Working red-eye flights
- Working as the Lead position
Most airlines also give you profit sharing and other bonuses
Most airlines will give you insurance and other perks
I’ve never met a flight attendant who started the job just for the pay. It’s usually for the flight benefits, perks, and flexibility of the schedule!
I do know that if you stick with the job, it’s possible to make a lot of money the longer you have stayed with the company. That yearly raise will start adding up and with good seniority you can also work more profitable trips.
It is also nice that we have a lot of flexibility with the amount of hours we work each month. So even if you are new, you can try to pick up as many trips as possible to make more money.