How much a flight attendant makes depends on the airline, seniority and the number of hours worked per month. As of April 2013, the median annual wage for flight attendants is £17,000 per year. If you are a new-hire flight attendant, however, you may start out making as little as £9,100 to £12,350 per year.
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Starting pay generally varies by airline. New hires earn the same hourly wage and receive annual raises that are generally covered in a collective bargaining agreement negotiated by the airline and the flight attendant union. The hourly wage rates usually max out after 15 years or so.
Flight attendants who speak another language can generally earn a few more pounds per hour when they are assigned routes that requires the corresponding language.
The pay rates for flight attendants generally only covers their time on the aircraft with the door closed. That means that boarding, deplaning and sitting around waiting for planes to arrive/depart is considered unpaid time. Flight attendants work about 65 to 90 hours per month and spend another 50 hours a month on the ground preparing for flights, writing reports and waiting for planes to arrive (sometimes known as "sit time.")
Although working 65 to 90 hours per month may sound appealing to some, it is nevertheless quite difficult for most flight attendants to manage on the pay. Many flight attendants find themselves working 100 plus hours a month or finding a second job to make ends meet.
Flight attendants also receive "per diem" (by the day) allowances for their eating expenses while they are away from their base. Per diem is usually paid at a fixed rate for every hour a flight attendant is on duty away from his home base.
Like other airline employees, flight attendants, are entitled to reduced rate travel benefits as part of their remuneration. Airline staff and their immediate family are entitled to unlimited standby travel wherever their airline flies.
Flight attendants also enjoy an additional perk when flying on their time off as they are entitled to a jumpseat if its available on a particular flight. Jumpseats are not permitted to be sold to the travelling public, so even on oversold flights, flight attendants travelling on their time off can still board a flight and ride the jumpseat.
It's hard to put a price tag on fun--but the major reason most people decide to become flight attendants is simply because it is fun. Most new hire flight attendants generally enter the profession believing they will only work for a few years for the airlines, travel the world and then quit.
After a few years of doing the job, however, many flight attendants end up really enjoying the job and never leave. While the job may not offer a lot financially, it does offer plenty of exciting and unusual experiences. For some, that's all that matters.
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