Flight Attendant Salary By Experience
|Experience Level||Low Hourly||High Hourly||Low Annual||High Annual|
|10 Years +||$18.76||$35.27||$39,030.00||$73,360.00|
Flight attendants are professionals whose primary responsibility is to ensure the safety and comfort of aircraft passengers. A group of flight attendants working in the same aircraft is called a cabin crew, whereas a group of pilots and co-pilots is called a flight crew. Aside from commercial passenger airlines, flight attendants are also found in select special jet aircraft and even in military aircraft.
The history of the flight attendant profession goes all the way back to 1912 when Heinrich Kubis of Germany became the world's first flight attendant. By the early 1920s, the profession grew by leaps and bounds as commercial airlines began popping up. Back then flight attendants were dominated by male professionals, often referred to as "cabin boys". It was in 1930 when female attendants made their mark, beginning with Ellen Church, the first female flight attendant.
While the traditional roles of flight attendants are limited to serving food and refreshments, assisting passengers with their baggage, and instructing them about safety policies while in transit, developments were placed to further expand the functions of today's flight attendants. Modern flight attendants are now trained in providing first aid and equipped with skills to deal with medical emergencies such as nose bleeding, alcohol intoxication, on-board births and deaths, and fires.
The September 11 attacks in 2001 have a significant effect on the flight attendant profession. Whereas the traditional candidates are usually those with a degree in hospitality management and flight service management, many airlines now give priority to applicants with background in law enforcement and military service. The prevailing theme in most airlines is to hire personnel who are equipped to deal with safety issues. Candidates with no military or law enforcement experience are now required to take training courses in conflict resolution as well as disaster management.
In the United States, there are approximately 87,190 professional flight attendants currently employed and are they are earning a median flight attendant salary of $38,020 a year. Flight attendants who are in the top 10% salary bracket are making $62,470 annually or more. Those who are in the bottom 10% are making $24,990 yearly or less.
A flight attendant's salary grade is determined by a number of factors, one of which is the type of industry he or she is working in. Each employer has its own standards in outlining one's flight attendant pay rate, mostly according to the number of available positions, the responsibilities assigned to each vacancy, as well as the skills and experience levels required to qualify for a position.
Airline carriers who are engaged in scheduled air transportation are the biggest employer type for professional flight attendants. About 85,190 flight attendants in the United States work in the said sector. The average flight attendants salary from such companies is pegged at $41,640 a year, which is slightly lower than the national average. Non-scheduled air transportation firms come next, employing about 1,480 flight attendants who are making $42,800 a year on the average.
Flight attendants who are working for corporations that manage smaller companies and enterprises are the highest paid of the lot in terms of salary by employer type. The average flight attendant wage rate from such employers is $75,850 a year, which is substantially higher than the national figure. Also shelling out top flight attendant salary rates are firms engaged in employment services ($60,100) and support activities for air transportation ($45,940). However, employment prospects are not vast and requirements are strict compared to other employer types.
Understanding how employer types influence a flight attendant's pay is critical in choosing an employer. Also, other factors that need to be considered are the stress levels that come with the job, working hours, exposure to occupational hazards, and the working environment. These sub-factors vary from one employer to another and they can help a candidate make an intelligent decision in picking which industry to enter.
While the minimum educational requirement to become a flight attendant is a high school diploma, the increasing complexities within the profession push employers to prefer those who have college degrees in tourism, public relations, or communications. A candidate must be at least 18 years old and have a valid passport. Employers are also keen about their workers background so a candidate must pass a background check in order to qualify for the position.
Majority of commercial airlines employ a "height and weight" requirement for both practical and aesthetic purposes. Candidates must be of specific height so they can reach for emergency equipment and effectively help passengers in settling their baggage. Keeping within a healthy weight range is considered vital for a flight attendant, because of the cramped environments in which they must work. The usual rule applied is that weight should be proportionate to height.
Medical examination is also required. A flight attendant must be of fit physical condition to endure long hours of air travel and to assist passengers with their needs.
Training programs for flight attendants are administered by airline companies. After training, successful applicants are granted FAA Certificate of Demonstrated Proficiency by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). A flight attendant's training depends on the type of aircraft he or she will be assigned to. If a flight attendant is assigned to an aircraft not covered by training, he or she is required to undergo further training programs in order to attain the required certification.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that there will only be little changes in terms of employment prospects for flight attendants. While airline travel is a booming business, increases in fuel costs, maintenance expenses for aircraft, and union contracts will impede the hiring of new flight attendants.
The number of applicants is expected to be higher than the total number of job openings, thus making competition in the flight attendant occupation much tighter than in other professions. Job vacancies will mostly come from retiring flight attendants. But even then, their numbers won't be enough to generate substantial entry-level positions.
Flight attendants generally start as junior members of cabin crews in commercial flights. Most of the time, they are put on the reserve status and are on standby until they are called in to fill cabin crew shortages. Flight attendants on reserve status must be ready to work on short notice. Usually, a flight attendant is placed on reserve call for a year before they are given assigned flights. Due to economic problems experienced recently by the United States, several novice flight attendants are put on reserve status for more than a year to limit airline spending.
Career advancement is based on experience and seniority. Senior flight attendants can choose how much time they will spend away from home and have the authority to choose their own routes. Experienced flight attendants are promoted to supervisory and managerial positions, which usually entail overseeing and monitoring the performance of junior flight attendants. Advanced flight attendants are also tapped to provide their skills for recruiting and hiring purposes. Those with the passion to teach are promoted to instructor roles and teach and design flight attendant training courses and programs.
Those who are fluent in several major languages are often assigned to international flights. Flight attendants with exceptional skills and a proven track record are often hired by private companies to staff their private, non-commercial planes. Teaching in college is also an option for experienced and retired flight attendants.
Occupations closely related to the flight attendant profession are:
While many people see flight attendants as those who just serve food and drinks while in a flight, responsibilities of a flight attendant also include ensuring the safety of passengers. This function ranges from covering passenger with blankets to responding to critical situations such as medical emergencies and terrorist threats. As one flight attendant said, "we are the first line of defense if anything goes wrong in the plane." On top of these responsibilities, flight attendants must maintain a neat appearance at all times, as well as practice a high level of customer service, attentiveness, communication and listening skills. 20/40 vision is a minimum requirement.
The flight attendant profession is not easy, but it can be one of the most glamorous occupations in the world, according to industry insiders. They get to travel, see new places, experience other cultures and have the opportunity to interact with a variety of people.