Job Title and Median Salary
|$56,640 per year|
|High school diploma or equivalent|
|Less than 5 years|
|Moderate-term on-the-job training|
|17% (Much faster than average)|
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the May 2019 median wage for flight attendants was $56,640. At the time of this BLS report, the employment of flight attendants was expected to grow by 17% between 2019 and 2029; this growth is much faster than average for all occupations. This growth is based on the future of flying with newer and larger aircrafts carrying a larger amount of passengers, thus requiring more onboard staff on some routes.
Table 1. This table from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expresses various quick facts based on research and statistics gathered by the BLS. AHA does not claim any of this information, and it is expected that this data will change in the upcoming years and reports given by the BLS.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Flight Attendants, at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/transportation-and-material-moving/flight-attendants.htm (visited March 16, 2021). Please note that this information by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is subject to change, especially due to COVID-19. For more information on AHA’s response to COVID-19, please click here.
Flight Attendant Jobs
In general, flight attendants have (but are not limited to) the following responsibilities:
- Partake in pre-flight meetings with pilots, discussing flight details and expected cabin conditions
- Perform inspections of emergency equipment prior to each flight
- Demonstrate the use of certain safety/emergency equipment to passengers prior to takeoff
- Verify passengers have secured their seatbelts when required
- Ensure other safety requirements are upheld (such as feet in the aisle, trays are up when required, etc.)
- Serve meals, beverages, and snacks during the appropriate times
- Ensure all passenger needs are met
- Reassure passengers throughout the flight, particularly when turbulence occurs
- Coordinate or oversee medical care when needed
- Direct passengers as needed, including during evacuations of the aircraft during a crisis
Injuries and illness within this career have some of the highest rates of all occupations. To avoid injuries, it’s important that all flight attendants take heed to safety procedures. For example, flight attendants must ensure that all overhead bins are secured so that overhead luggage does not fall at any point during the flight, particularly during high-turbulence. Additionally, the cabin crew must ensure that carts used for on-flight services are secured and latched when not in use.
Work schedules can vary quite a bit for flight attendants, as airlines operate during days, nights, weekends, and holidays. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has requirements for airlines that require flight attendants to receive a certain amount of consecutive rest hours between duty hours. According to the BLS, a typical on-duty shift is around 12-14 hours per day. Additionally, flight attendants typically fly for 75-100 hours per month and spend about 50 hours on the ground to prepare flights, write reports, and awaiting aircraft arrival. With this career, seniority plays a role. Typically, flight attendants with more seniority have more flexibility in their schedules than brand new workers.