10 Highest Paid Flight Attendants and Airlines in 2024

Queen Clev
By Queen Clev

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Do you want to know who the highest-paid flight attendants are? Flight attendants are primarily responsible for ensuring the safety of passengers during a flight. Their roles are to combine as a safety officer, an inflight customer service representative, and a hospitality manager.

This high level of responsibility requires professionalism and high-level skills. The salaries for these airline employees are exceptional if one meets the minimum threshold to qualify.

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In this article, we will discuss the top 10 airlines and highest-paid flight attendants.

What does a flight attendant do?

A flight attendant is known as a steward or stewardess, an air host or hostess, and works primarily for airlines, some in private business jets, or a few other aircraft.

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Also commonly referred to as cabin crew, flight attendants act as ambassadors between the airline they work with and the passengers by primarily taking charge of their safety and comfort during the flight.

They do more than serve passengers meals, refreshments, and drinks; they must also check the supplies and emergency equipment, secure sufficiency, and ensure everything is in order.

They greet the travelers, help with their luggage being stowed properly, and ensure they are in their correct and assigned seats.

How much does a flight attendant make?

The average flight attendant salary in the United States is $33,607. Flight attendant salaries typically range between $25,000 and $43,000 a year. The average hourly rate for flight attendants is $16.16 per hour.

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Flight attendant salaries are impacted by location, education, and experience. Flight attendants earn the highest average salary in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Michigan, and Maine.

10 Highest-Paid Flight Attendants and Airlines

Below is a list of the top 10 airlines for highest-paid flight attendants, along with their salary and additional payment information.

1. United Airlines

Airline flight attendants at United Airlines earn an average salary of $219 per year. Beginners can expect to earn only about $28,000 annually, while most experienced flight attendants (the top 10%) earn an average of $100,000 annually.

Our survey shows United Airlines pays its flight attendants the highest salaries compared to any other airline. The airline offers excellent promotion opportunities for flight attendants with experience and a love of their profession.

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Furthermore, United Airlines has programs to pay their flight attendants bonuses, commissions, and profit-sharing. The additional forms of pay average $5,200 per year. Additionally, this is a good program for flight attendants to make extra money on top of their regular salaries.

2. American Airlines

Flight attendants at American Airlines are among the highest-paid. They earn an average salary of $43,460 annually. Flight attendants with vast experience (top 10%) can expect to earn an average income of $86,000 annually, while novices can expect an annual income of less than $30,000.

Besides bonuses and commissions, American Airlines also offers profit-sharing and bonus programs for its flight attendants. The additional forms of pay average $2,825 per year.

3. JetBlue Airlines

JetBlue Airways flight attendants earn between $25,000 and $35,000 a year. This salary covers flight hours, per diem, international departure, holiday, redeye travel, language, recognition, and other perks.

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This is the starting salary. However, more senior flight attendants can make upwards of $100,000.

4. Delta Airlines

At Delta Airlines, flight attendants earn an average salary of $40,236 annually. However, as they stay with Delta longer, they gain seniority. The rate of pay per hour increases considerably each year. Delta Airlines’ senior flight attendants can earn over $118,000.

The salary includes standard flight hour pay as well as many other additional forms of monetary compensation, including per diem (food allowances during certain layovers), international flights, cabin manager, holidays, language, and more.

5. Emirates Airlines

Emirates Airlines flight attendants earn between $36,000 and $53,000 annually. In addition to the salary, layover payments include flight hours and flight base salaries.

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All crew members are provided free accommodation (housing bills included) as part of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) tax-free system.

6. Qatar Airways

The starting salary for flight attendants at Qatar Airways is between 84,000 and 156,000 QAR ($23,000 and $42,800). Tax-free compensation includes a basic salary plus pay for flight hours and layovers; however, the rate increases significantly for more experienced flight attendants.

Additionally, Qatar Airways provides free housing for flight attendants and is one of the highest-paid. 

7. Etihad Airways

Flight attendants at Etihad Airways are paid between 96,000 and 120,000 AED ($25,000 and $32,000) per year.

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Flight attendants earn tax-free money from basic payments plus flight time and layover allowance, but the rate increases considerably as the flight attendant gains experience. Additionally, Etihad Airways provides free accommodations to all crewmembers.

8. WestJet

Flight attendants at WestJet Airlines earn an average salary of $35,000 per year.

A flight attendant with the most experience (top 10%) can expect to make a salary of $46,000, while those who are just starting can expect to make $24,000.

They also offer bonuses, commissions, and profit-sharing for their flight attendants, which amounts to an average pay of $2,825 per year.

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9. Spirit Airlines

Spirit Airlines pays its flight attendants an average salary of $39,000 per year.

Flight attendants with extensive experience can expect an average salary of $68,000 per year, while beginners can expect to make only $25,000 per year.

Also, Spirit Airlines offers bonuses, commissions, and profit-sharing programs to its flight attendants, whose average payment amounts to $1,500 annually.

10. Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines flight attendants earn an average salary of $42,000 per year. Flight attendants with the most experience can expect to make an average of $65,000 per year, while those starting can expect under $30,000.

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The airline also has a reputation for having among the most satisfied employees of any airline. Additionally, Southwest Airlines has a program in place that pays bonuses, commissions, and profit-sharing to their flight attendants, which amounts to an average of $4,800 per year.

It is one of the best programs in the industry for extra pay.

Highest-Paid Flight Attendants: Skills and Job Requirements

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Below is a list of the skills and requirements for the highest-paid flight attendants.

Flight attendant skills:

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  • Passenger Safety
  • Customer Service
  • Emergency Equipment
  • Non-Emergency Situations
  • CPR
  • Medical Emergencies
  • Safety Regulations
  • Safety Equipment
  • Federal Aviation Administration
  • Aircraft Cabin

Flight attendant requirements:

  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Fluency in English, both written and spoken
  • Minimum height and weight requirements
  • Ability to swim at least 25 meters unassisted
  • A valid passport and ability to travel unrestricted

Conclusion

Becoming one of the highest-paid flight attendants is a huge deal. The difference isn’t in the job itself because they are all the same; it’s in which airline you choose to build your career.

It’s important to note that salary figures can change over time and may be subject to negotiation based on individual qualifications and experience.

You should consider various factors, such as work-life balance, company culture, and career growth opportunities, in addition to salary, when choosing an airline to work for.

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