The primary responsibility of a flight attendant is to keep passengers safe and secure. For example, flight attendants will usually demonstrate the proper ways for passengers to buckle their seat belts and use the oxygen masks. Flight attendants also serve drinks and meals throughout a flight, and tend to people's needs when necessary. Flight attendants can earn bonuses, commissions, profit sharing and overtime pay on top of their salaries.
A flight attendant earns an average hourly rate of between $19.26 and $39.49, according to January 2011 data from PayScale. Including average overtime pay, bonuses, profit sharing and commissions, flight attendants earn total incomes of $35,280 to $69,740 per year. The middle 50 percent of flight attendants earn median incomes of between $28,420 and 49,910 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The top 10 percent of flight attendants earn median annual incomes of $65,350 and over. The lowest 10 percent of flight attendants earn median incomes of $20,580 annually.
Years of Experience
Like other professionals, flight attendants will typically earn more as they gain work experience. Following are the annual salary ranges for flight attendants based on years of experience, per PayScale: less than one year -- $20,105 to $44,061; one to four years -- $18,551 to $35,295; five to nine years -- $25,819 to $48,268; 10 to 19 years -- $35,916 to $59,911; 20 years and over -- $35,048 to $50,755.
Salaries by State
Flight attendants' salaries can vary according to the states in which they are based or reside. The average annual salaries for flight attendants by state are as follows, according to PayScale: California -- $29,450 to $43,448; New York -- $32,417 to $54,045; Georgia -- $28,041 to $44,812; Texas -- $28,300 to $45,453; Florida -- $30,521 to $64,649; Illinois -- $24,000 to $51,304; Massachusetts -- $30,519 to $54,454.
Salaries by City
Flight attendants may consider choosing certain cities over others for higher annual pay. Average salary ranges in some cities are considerably higher than others. For example, flight attendants earn annual salaries of between $31,837 and $61,042 in Miami, Florida. Following are the average annual salary ranges for flight attendants in various other cities: New York City -- $33,150 to $50,281; Atlanta -- $27,209 to $45,000; Chicago -- $24,000 to $51,304; Boston -- $30,143 to $53,062; San Francisco -- $30,457 to $40,695; Los Angeles -- $29,500 to $52,500.
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