Flight Attendant Salary in the US in 2023: Soaring to New Heights

Latest Flight Attendant Salary Data

Flight Attendant Salary in the US has witnessed some captivating shifts in recent years. This article unravels the intriguing journey of earnings in the sky, spotlighting the evolution from 2020 to 2022 and forecasting the trends for 2023. Dive into the numbers, the stories behind them, and the thrilling dynamics of the aviation industry. Discover how factors from experience to airline reputation shape these wages. Prepare to be enlightened and maybe even surprised by what the future holds for those who sail the air!

Introduction to Flight Attendant Salary in 2023

Flight Attendant Salary in the US has witnessed captivating shifts in recent years. This article unravels the intriguing journey of earnings in the sky, spotlighting the evolution from 2020 to 2022 and hinting at the winds of change for 2023. The role of flight attendants goes beyond serving passengers; it’s about ensuring safety, offering comfort, and being the face of airlines. Recognizing the importance of this role, let’s delve into the financial rewards the industry offers.

Historical Trends in Flight Attendant Salaries

A quick retrospective unveils an ever-changing landscape for flight attendant earnings. In 2020, the skies saw about 116,260 flight attendants with an average annual wage of $59,150. Fast forward to 2021, and while there was a dip in numbers with 96,900 attendants, their average annual wage took a promising leap to $62,280. The year 2022 maintained this upward trajectory, boasting an average wage of $67,020 for its 108,480 flight attendants.

Year Employment Mean Annual Wage 10th Percentile 25th Percentile Median (50th Percentile) 75th Percentile 90th Percentile
2018 113,500 $56,730 $28,920 $40,590 $56,610 $68,940 $81,660
2019 115,100 $57,840 $29,740 $41,860 $57,690 $69,970 $83,060
2020 116,260 $59,150 $30,930 $43,080 $59,050 $71,550 $84,790
2021 96,900 $62,280 $37,020 $48,780 $61,640 $76,920 $81,400
2022 108,480 $67,020 $37,690 $47,760 $63,760 $82,410 $97,170

Average Flight Attendant Salary in 2022

Let’s take a closer look at the numbers for 2022. The mean annual wage for flight attendants stood proudly at $67,020. Dissecting this further:

  • The bottom 10% earned $37,690 or less.
  • A quarter way up the scale, salaries touched $47,760.
  • The median earnings, a balance between the highest and lowest, was around $63,760.
  • Climbing to the 75% mark, salaries reached $82,410.
  • The top-tier, the 90%, took home an impressive $97,170 or less.

There’s an undeniable growth trend, but what factors could be shaping this?

Factors Influencing Flight Attendant Salary

Earnings don’t just rely on dedication and service years. While experience significantly boosts the paycheck, the airline’s size and reputation play a pivotal role. Major carriers tend to offer heftier salaries compared to regional ones. Furthermore, economic factors, airline profits, and global events can all impact wages.

While the baseline salary figures are impressive, several factors can influence a flight attendant’s paycheck. Some of the primary determinants include:

  • Experience: Just like any profession, seasoned flight attendants often command higher salaries due to their wealth of knowledge and experience.
  • Education and Training: Those with additional certifications or specialized training may find themselves earning more than their counterparts.
  • Location: Salaries can vary by state or even city, with places having a higher cost of living usually offering higher wages.
  • Airline Size: Major carriers often have the resources to offer more competitive salaries than smaller, regional airlines.
  • Union Affiliations: Flight attendants represented by strong unions often negotiate better wages and benefits.

Comparison of Salaries Among Major Airlines in the USA and International

When it comes to the aviation industry, not all airlines are created equal, especially in terms of compensating their staff. Flight attendants, in particular, can witness a significant difference in their paychecks based on the airline they work for.

  • Delta Air Lines: Flight attendants here generally start with an estimated salary of around $30,000, which can go upwards of $65,000 with more experience.
  • American Airlines: Initial salaries are in the ballpark of $28,000, but seasoned attendants can earn upwards of $80,000.
  • Southwest: Renowned for its employee-friendly approach, flight attendants here might start at approximately $29,000, reaching up to $70,000 or more with years of experience.
  • JetBlue: Starting salaries for flight attendants can be close to $27,000, with potential earnings over $60,000 as they gain experience.
  • United Airlines: With a solid union backing, flight attendants start at around $30,000, with potential earnings exceeding $75,000.
  • Emirates: As an international airline, Emirates offers a different package. While the base salary might be around $25,000, the comprehensive benefits, including accommodation and allowances, can effectively double this figure or even more.
  • Spirit: As a budget carrier, the initial salary might be on the lower side at around $20,000. However, with experience, flight attendants can earn over $50,000.
  • Frontier: Another budget airline, Frontier flight attendants may start with a salary close to $22,000, but with experience, they can approach or exceed $55,000.
  • International Airlines (General): While specific figures vary based on the airline, many international carriers offer comprehensive packages. A flight attendant might earn a base salary of $24,000, but with housing, travel allowances, and other benefits, the effective salary can be much higher.

While these figures offer a general overview, it’s essential to consider other factors like work hours, benefits, and job security. Flight attendants working on international routes or for airlines with extensive global networks may also have the opportunity to earn higher salaries due to longer flight hours and layovers in foreign countries.

Additional Benefits and Perks

Salary isn’t the sole incentive. Flight attendants often enjoy perks like discounted or even free travel, health benefits, and sometimes bonuses tied to performance or company profitability. The allure of traversing the skies, coupled with these benefits, makes the career path even more enticing.

The Future Outlook: Beyond 2023

While we’ve charted the past, predicting the future is a tad trickier. However, given the past trend, 2023 might just see another surge in wages. The industry is dynamic, and as travel demand grows and airlines innovate, flight attendants might find themselves with even fatter paychecks.

Conclusion: Is a Flight Attendant Career Worth It in 2023?

Analyzing the trajectory of the flight attendant career, both in terms of numbers and wages, the horizon seems promising. The blend of personal experiences, world travel, and rising wages makes it a tempting choice for many. So, if you’ve been dreaming of soaring the skies, 2023 might just be your year to take flight!


Q: How often do flight attendants get raises?
A: Most airlines have a structured increment system based on years of service. Typically, flight attendants can expect an annual raise, although the amount and frequency can vary based on the airline and union agreements.

Q: Do flight attendants earn more on international flights?
A: Yes, often flight attendants on international routes earn a higher per diem rate due to longer flight hours and the complexities associated with international travel.

Q: Are there opportunities for flight attendants to earn bonuses?
A: Many airlines offer performance-based bonuses, holiday bonuses, or profit-sharing schemes that can augment a flight attendant’s earnings.

Q: What additional benefits do flight attendants usually receive?
A: Apart from their base salary, flight attendants often enjoy benefits like health insurance, retirement plans, discounted or free travel tickets, and sometimes accommodation or daily allowances, especially for international carriers.

Q: Does the size of the airline’s fleet affect the salary of a flight attendant?
A: Generally, larger, major carriers tend to offer higher salaries compared to regional or smaller airlines. This is often due to higher revenues, more expansive routes, and stronger union agreements at larger airlines.

Q: How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted flight attendant salaries and employment?
A: The COVID-19 pandemic brought unprecedented challenges to the aviation industry, leading to furloughs, reduced flight schedules, and in some cases, salary cuts. However, as the industry recovers, there’s been a gradual normalization of wages and employment figures, as reflected in recent data.