It shouldn’t come to surprise that flight attendants aren’t millionaires. In fact, new flight attendants typically make less than $25,000 per year. Since the pay is so low, many flight attendants even qualify for food stamps. Senior flight attendants may make between $40-$50 per flight hour. Yes, per FLIGHT hour. Flight attendants are not paid for their travel time to gates, delays, sits, boarding, or deplaning. They are only paid for their time once the door closes. Many flight attendants do get a few bills for their time, which is called per diem. Although the pay usually stinks, this is still a dream job for many people and there is a very competitive hiring process involved.
Flight attendants definitely don’t work the typical 9-5 schedule. Many flight attendants work redeye flights one day and an afternoon flight the next day. Some flights are 12 hours long and that doesn’t include their time getting to the gate, boarding, or going to the hotel. Many flight attendants learn to make use of their time by sleeping when they can and sometimes that means sleeping through the day.
Most airlines require flight attendants to bid for their schedule every month. They are awarded certain flights or reserve assignments based on seniority order. Some flight attendants that have a line work 130 hours while a flight attendant on reserve will only be guaranteed 75 hours per month. Their schedule can vary significantly due to operational needs and the season.
With an irregular schedule, come odd eating habits. Many flight attendants learn how to meal prep for 4 days at a time and pack a nice cooler full of good healthy food. However, many struggle to prepare food and therefore eat out at restaurants or snack on airplane food. Heating up food is always an issue as well as finding a fridge while on a layover. The struggle is real when it comes to being a healthy flight attendant.
Customer service is never an easy job. Add hospitality to impatient and emotional passengers and you have a hard job. People fly for different reasons and sometimes flights don’t go as scheduled which adds fuel to the fire for many passengers. Flight attendants deal with all sorts of situations while working. There are rude passengers, many that don’t comply, a few needy people, or even violent customers fly.
Many flight attendants struggle with missing holidays and special events. Especially new Flight attendants since they have no seniority and therefore no say over their schedule. Working during a holiday is also never an easy task for anyone in the customer service industry. Holidays are suppose to be a happy time but sometimes turn into a rough time due to stressed out and frankly rude passengers. Thankfully, many airlines now pay extra for their flight attendants that work major holidays. Senior mama’s usually get what they bid for so they can enjoy the family time.
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