Flight attendant earnings by seniority

Approximate values based on highest and lowest earning segments.

Flight attendant salary by state

State Name Average Salary
Oregon $70,850
Washington $65,030
Pennsylvania $62,031
Arizona $60,981
Florida $58,780
Massachusetts $57,560
Indiana $63,860
Texas $66,120
Nevada $58,760
Michigan $55,400
North Carolina $60,950
Ohio $58,230
California $53,860
Illinois $45,112
Minnesota $50,870
New York $46,570
Utah $47,320
Colorado $48,640
Puerto Rico $18,270

How much does a Flight Attendant earn?

As airlines struggle to stay afloat and find efficiencies during tough economic times, flight attendant wages have felt the pressure as companies attempt to trim the fat in all aspects of their business. As with other professions, flight attendants earn lower salaries at the beginning of their career and work their way up to higher wages. A flight attendant's hourly wage starts out at approximately $21.00/hr. However, by the 14th year, the hourly wage of the flight attendant will have almost doubled (approximately $46-$50.00/hr).

A big part of a Flight Attendant’s salary is compensation for meals when overnighting at a hotel or when meals are not boarded on the aircraft. This is often referred to as a ‘per diem.’ Per diems vary depending on the length of a stay or ‘layover’ at a hotel.

Purser Pay vs. Flight Attendant Pay

According to FlightAttendantsAcademy.com, many F/A’s eventually become Pursers to boost their salary and to assume new challenges and responsibilities. Junior Flight Attendants can nearly double their salary by becoming a Purser. Some airlines require F/A’s to have a minimum of one or more years of service to become a Service Director. At Air Canada for example, in 2011 a purser on a narrow-body aircraft earned $50.14 per hour while a Purser on the B777 earned $67.92 per hour. In addition to these wages, Pursers are also paid the per diems, night premiums and other expenses that a Flight Attendant would be entitled to.

How do flight attendant salaries compare to similar careers?

Flight attendants earn 7% less than similar careers in the United States. On average, they make less than freight and cargo inspectors but more than cargo and freight agents.

Career Median Salary
Freight and cargo inspector salary $74K
Transit police officer salary $74K
Locomotive engineer salary $62K
Avionics technician salary $60K
Aircraft mechanic salary $57K
Flight attendant salary $56K
Rail transportation worker salary $53K
Commercial fisherman salary $37K
Traffic technician salary $47K
Cargo and freight agent salary $43K

Source: CareerExplorer (Aggregated)