How Much Money Do Flight Attendants Make?

For many, flight attendants are simply the people who pass out your free in-flight drink and snack bag. But, in reality, a flight attendant is so much more than a server. In fact, according to The Balance Careers, flight attendants are in charge of ensuring the entire aircraft is safe, from the safety equipment to each and every member on board. They are the ones responsible for responding to any in-flight emergencies and helping passengers who need extra help or may have a disability.

And while flight attendants have not had it easy as of late, between the pandemic and high-profile scandals, according to Forbes, the need for flight attendants is rising. In fact, from now until 2028, there will be a 10% increase in flight attendant jobs, making it a sought-after career for many. In addition to the high demand, and in turn, high job security, it is also a great career for those who may not have a college degree. While many airlines do prefer a degree, it is not a requirement to become a flight attendant, per The Balance Careers. But while a degree may not be a necessity, there is a ton of training involved before you can begin, plus certification from the FAA. If you're considering the sky as your new home office, here's what you can expect your salary to be.

Flight attendant salaries can have a large range

There are a lot of factors involved in how much you are paid as a flight attendant. According to Go Banking Rates, your salary depends on your skill level, your certifications, the airline you work for, and even the city and state you are based. But, per U.S. News & World Report, the average salary for a flight attendant is $59,050 as of 2020. The highest-paid attendants make about $71,550 a year and the lowest-paid attendants make about $43,000 a year. If you are willing to move anywhere, flight attendants based out of Austin, Texas make the most, followed by San Diego, California, and Orlando, Florida. Overall, though, Indiana, Massachusetts, and North Carolina pay their flight attendants the best.

When it comes to airlines, as of this writing, American Airlines is currently offering the highest salary for a flight attendant job on one of their aircraft, per Go Banking Rates. But it's not always just about the salary. Many airlines offer their flight attendants additional advantages like discounted or free flights, discounts at hotels, 401k and health benefits, and more.

What it's really like to be a flight attendant

Before you can reach the sky, you'll have to do some work on the ground. To become a flight attendant you will need to pass certain tests and complete certain requirements. Most airlines have a maximum height and all require an attendant to be able to sit in the jump seat, lift baggage, and do other physical activities while on the job (via The Balance Careers). After interviewing and background checks, you will need to complete your airline training and get your Certificate of Demonstrated Proficiency from the FAA.

Once you are hired, you can expect to deal with long layovers, rowdy, and sometimes gross, customers, and even fights between customers, per Medium. But often, the good can outweigh the bad. Danny Elkins, a flight attendant of over 35 years told Business Insider that while the job can be grueling, it is overall a fantastic opportunity. "The best part is being able to have dinner in San Francisco one week and go to the beach in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in winter, the next — all while getting paid," he said.