Cabin Crew Pay: What do airlines pay their Flight Attendants?

In this post I’m going to list the pay averages that Flight Attendants and Cabin Crew can expect in various airlines around the world. I’ll list the salaries first, then summarise the role and its responsibilities, and conclude with some tips on getting started and your career prospects. If you are a current or ex-Flight Attendant please help others by posting a comment with your best tips for starting and succeeding in this career.

The following figures were collected in January 2019. At the time the average salary for cabin crew in the UK was about £17,000 – £29,000 GBP per year. The following salaries are for airlines based in the UK and are annual average ranges in Pounds Sterling.

  • British Airways (BA) £12,000 – £30,000 GBP.
  • British Midland (BMI) £15,000 – £29,000 GBP.
  • EasyJet £10,000 – £23,000 GBP.
  • Jet2.com £10,000 – £23,000 GBP.
  • Norwegian Air Shuttle £12,000 – £15,000 GBP.
  • Ryanair £10,000 – £24,000 GBP.
  • Thomas Cook £12,000 – £27,000 GBP.
  • TUI Group £12,000 – £14,000 GBP.
  • Virgin Atlantic Airways £9,000 – £16,000 GBP.

The following annual averages are for airlines based in the USA and are in US Dollars. These figures include bonuses and other compensation.

  • AirTran Airways $35,000 USD.
  • Alaska Airlines $56,000 USD.
  • Allegiant Travel Company $31,000 USD.
  • American Airlines $39,000 USD.
  • Continental Airlines $29,000 USD.
  • Delta Airlines $49,000 USD.
  • ExpressJet Airlines $31,000 USD.
  • Frontier Airlines $19,000 USD.
  • JetBlue Airways $38,000 USD.
  • Mesa Airlines $21,000 USD.
  • Piedmont Airlines $23,000 USD.
  • PSA Airlines $18,000 USD.
  • Republic Airways $26,000 USD.
  • SkyWest Airlines $21,000 USD.
  • Southwest Airlines $51,000 USD.
  • Spirit Airlines $45,000 USD.
  • Trans States Airlines $20,000 USD.
  • United Airlines $44,000 USD.
  • US Airways $34,000 USD.
  • World Airways $49,000 USD.

In Canada a flight attendant can expect to earn between C$23,000 and C$60,000 before bonuses and other compensation. For example, the average for Air Canada has been quoted at $54,000 CAD.

Middle East and other airlines

These are annual salary averages in UAE dirhams.

  • Air Arabia 120,000dhs dirhams.
  • flydubai 144,000dhs dirhams.
  • Emirates 78,000 – 180,000dhs dirhams.
  • Singapore Airlines 120,000dhs dirhams.
  • Responsibilities of a Flight Attendant.

Flight Attendants are required on any commercial flight that has more than 19 passengers aboard. One Flight Attendant is required for every 50 passengers.

On large aircraft there is usually a hierarchy of cabin crew which might include; a Purser, and a Chief Purser sometimes also called In-flight Service Manager, Flight Service Manager, Customer Service Manager,  or Cabin Service Director.

The Flight Attendants’ primary role is the safety of the passengers but as we all know they have many other responsibilities too.

Flight Attendants start their shifts with a briefing given by the Captain of the flight in which he or she summarises the route, the aircraft, the weather, and any other relevant information relating to the aircraft and the passengers. Once they have been briefed the Flight Attendants will start checking the equipment aboard the aircraft to ensure it is all present, serviceable, and re-supplied where necessary.

During the flight they ensure the safety and comfort of passengers. In the event of any type of emergency, minor or major, they are trained to respond.

Cabin Crew Pay By Country

  • Australia, between AU$36,000 and  AU$64,000 Australian Dollars.
  • Canada, C$12,000 rising to C$38,000 Canadian Dollars.
  • Dubai, AED35,000 rising to AED234,000 Arab Emirate Dirhams.
  • Egypt, E£68,000 rising to E£117,000 Egyptian Pounds. Germany, €11,000 rising to €27,000 Euros.
  • India, Rs209,000 rising to Rs908,000 Rupees.
  • Malaysia, RM1,000 rising to RM106,000 Ringgits.
  • New Zealand, $35,000 rising to  $60,000 New Zealand Dollars.
  • South Africa, R60,000 rising to R304,000 Rand.
  • United Kingdom, £13,000 rising to £41,000 Pounds Sterling.
  • United States, $21,000 rising to $74,000 US Dollars.

How to become a Flight Attendant

The requirements for the role of Flight Attendant are fairly standard throughout the aviation industry all around the globe. Due to a high turnover of staff the airlines have to recruit and train new cabin crew frequently, so look out for news of recruitment drives by the airlines of your choice.

Obviously you’ll need to be energetic, able to communicate clearly, and quick to learn a variety of new skills that will be taught during training. Airlines are looking for people with good customer service skills. If you can speak two or more languages it’s a distinct advantage.

A Flight Attendant is an ambassador for the airline and its brand so personal appearance and grooming is very important. Employers are looking for a professional image and they are not keen on visible tattoos or overt piercings.

After 3-6 weeks of training and passing several tests you will be assigned to your first route. There is likely to be further tests and training as your career progresses. As you gain experience, perhaps on short haul flights to begin with, you can add to it with long haul flights and looking after Club & First Class passengers. In time you may gain promotion with all the added responsibilities and pay increases. The skills and experience gained will enable you to transfer to other roles within any other airline too.

One thing is for certain; as long as the aviation industry remains buoyant there will be demand for Flight Attendants, particularly for those with a track record for reliability, punctuality, and professionalism.

Prospects for Flight Attendants

If you remain working as a Flight Attendant you can work your way up the the company ladder or move about within the airlines. You’ll gain experience, learn new skills, and perhaps learn a second or third language. Your options will increase and you could be rewarded with promotions or moving into the role of a VIP or Corporate Flight Attendant.

Alternatively, you could cease flying but continue to work for the airlines in a ground based role with more regular hours. Outside of the airlines you could use your skills in another role within, for example, the hotel or the cruise ship industry. So you may start on low pay with long anti-social hours but the training and experience make you a very employable person in the years to come.

A few final tips about Cabin Crew careers

If you intend to move to another airline be sure to do your research first. Search for reviews of the airline written by current or ex-employees on job seeker websites.

Note that the culture and attitude toward Flight Attendants varies, particularly from country to country. Some airlines demand strict behaviour and even enforce curfews on their staff. They can also show an unreasonable lack of tolerance regarding even the smallest of errors, and no job security.

So be certain before you move to a new airline that it’s the right choice by taking into account all the things you take for granted with your current employer.

Good luck with your career!

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