What Is the Expected Starting Salary of a Flight Attendant?

by Nicole Long; Updated September 26, 2017
Flight attendants provide important safety information for passengers.

Flight attendants represent a valuable part of the flight crew, helping to ensure passenger safety and comfort during a flight. Mostly employed by commercial airlines, flight attendants can take advantage of perks and benefits beyond their base salary, such as the opportunity to travel the world.

Profession Requirements

Flight attendants require specialized training due to the inherent dangers that can develop in the course of performing their job duties. Most employers require a high school diploma to enter a formal training program, though some employers look for candidates who have a college degree. Flight attendants must also pass thorough background checks and meet additional requirements, such as those related to height and vision, as determined by the airline or employer.

Starting Salary

In 2009, new flight attendants could expect to earn an average annual salary of $16,191, according to statistics gathered by the Bureau of Labor Statistics from the Association of Flight Attendants. That is less than the average annual pay of $25,420 reported by the BLS for the lowest 10 percent of all earners in the field for the same year. That represents an increase from $20,580 earned by the lowest 10 percent of all earners in 2008.

Industry Expectations

Each airline and employer maintains its own pay scale, leading to large variations in starting flight attendant salaries across the industry. By looking at the industry averages, new flight attendants can get an idea of entry-level salaries and future salary expectations. Flight attendants employed in scheduled air transportation, such as with a commercial airline, earned an average annual wage of $43,290 in 2009, according to the BLS. In contrast, those working in support activities for air transportation averaged an annual salary of $72,520 in 2009.

State Statistics

Entry-level flight attendants can also earn a higher starting salary depending on the particular state they choose for employment. In 2009, flight attendants earned an average annual salary of $51,140 in Arizona and $46,910 in Texas, two of the highest paying states for flight attendants. In contrast, flight attendants in Georgia earned an average annual salary of $39,220 during the same period.

About the Author

Nicole Long is a freelance writer based in Cincinnati, Ohio. With experience in management and customer service, business is a primary focus of her writing. Long also has education and experience in the fields of sports medicine, first aid and coaching. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from the University of Cincinnati.

Photo Credits

  • Digital Vision./Valueline/Getty Images