I would love to become a flight attendant. I live close to Fort Lauderdale airport, only about 30 miles from Miami International Airport and 80 miles from West Palm Beach Airport. I also have two teenagers (13 and 16) so that’s where my question begins. If I live in Florida but my base is in New York, will I have to agree to relocate? How does that work if I live in Florida and have kids and a husband? Would the airline pay me to fly out to my base station every time I need to report to work or do I have to pay for that? Or would I just have to move there? This is what I don’t really understand. – Gladys
On the flight attendant job application you’ll probably find the question, “Are you willing to relocate?” Check the box “no” instead of “yes” and it’s safe to assume you probably won’t get called in for an interview. It’s common knowledge that flight attendants must be willing to cut their hair and go anywhere.
After you’ve successfully completed training, you’ll probably be put on probation. At my airline, probation lasts six months and new hires on probation do not receive travel benefits during this time. New flight attendants who choose to live in another city are on their own when it comes to covering the expense of getting to and from work during the first six months. Once off probation, commuters at my airline fly for free by standing by for an open seat. This is called non-reving because you are now a non-revenue passenger. Keep in mind there are very few open seats available on flights today, especially around holidays, during weekends and all through the summer. I’ve actually seen flight attendants come to blows over the jump seat on the last flight out. Which is why you’re lucky you live so close to three airports. You have options when flights are full or when delays and cancellations affect air travel.
Today I spoke about what it’s like to be a flight attendant in front of a very tough crowd - my son’s preschool class. Oh you better believe I filmed it ! Over the next few days I’ll be posting videos. Today’s clip answers the following question - How many stripes does the Captain have?
Next week I’m to start flight attendant training for American Eagle. But today I got a call from Delta and they want me to go for a face to face interview two days after I’m to start training! If I go to the Delta interview, I’ll forfeit American Eagle completely and won’t ever be able to reapply, as this is my second chance to go to training with them. I’m giving up my good paying but burned out retail management job and changing my life to do my long lived dream job as a flight attendant. I’ve been waiting to get a call back for over a year due to training cancellations last year. American Eagle training is three weeks long, but doesn’t pay, while Delta pays for six weeks of training. I’m afraid to give up American Eagle to go to a Delta interview and possibly not make it and then I’m out both! What should I do? – Laura
Have you tried to delay your training class with Eagle? If not, give the airline a call and see if you can push it back a few days, meaning you’d like to start in the next available training class. I’m sure they have a couple of them lined up. This way you can go to the Delta interview without forfeiting a shot at Eagle. Most airlines hire on the spot, so you’ll know the day of the interview if Delta is interested or not. If they send you to “medical”, congratulations, you made it! If they say they’ll contact you soon, that’s code for thanks but no thanks. Move on.
(Photo courtesy of DavityDave)
In 1995 I made $18,000 a year working for a major U.S. carrier. Nowadays most newly hired flight attendants make even less than that. This is because right after 9/11 the majority of flight attendants took huge pay cuts in order to help keep the airlines up and running. Not only did I lose 30% of my salary, I’m still not making what I did before the terrorists did what they did that day in 2001. The only reason I bring this up is because flight attendants that are hired today work harder than ever before, are paid less to do so, and may never make what I do now because salaries are capped after a certain number of years on the job.
How much do flight attendants make? It depends on the carrier, company seniority, and number of hours worked each month. On average flight attendants make $35,000-$40,000 a year. What most people don’t realize is newly hired flight attendants in the U.S. start out only making between $14,000 – $18,000 a year. While some flight attendants manage to top out near the end of their careers at $60,000 (I’ve even heard rumors of flight attendants making as much as $80,000) the only way to do this is to work a killer schedule picking up incentive pay along the way for things like speaking another language and flying the lead position (or both).
Beginning salaries vary by carrier with major airlines paying more than smaller ones. Regardless of experience new hires start out at the same hourly rate and each year are given a raise based on an already established pay scale. It’s important to note that most flight attendants max out on pay after ten to twelve years on the job. Flight attendants are paid hourly, not annually, for flying time only. This means the time clock doesn’t start ticking until the aircraft door is closed and the airplane has backed away from the gate. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, flight attendants generally work 65-90 hours each month and spend another 50 (unpaid) hours on the ground preparing planes for flights, writing reports following completed flights and waiting around for planes to arrive.