Becoming a flight attendant can be incredibly rewarding. You get to travel all around the world, you get to meet and support a variety of interesting people, and you get to have a glamorous career that you won’t age out of – a career you can continue to enjoy for decades to come.
But of course, pay determines a great deal about your satisfaction with flight attendant jobs, so of course you want to find the airline that is going to pay the most.
What Determines Pay?
Pay can also be difficult to calculate. Not only do starting salaries and raises differ from airline to airline, but some airlines offer better perks, more free meals and lodgings, better hours, etc. Also, average salaries are often determined by averaging all salaries available, but some airlines have more experienced workers. So their pay may be comparable, but one company may appear to have higher salaries because more of their workers have been with them for an extended period of time.
Similarly, most flight attendants do not work full time. Most work part time, especially during the first few years. This can also make it very difficult to calculate the salary you could make working for their company. Nevertheless, the following are some of the highest hourly rates in the industry:
- Qantas – Qantas pays quite well, offering salaries as much as $73,000 AU. Though the median salary is a bit less (roughly $49,000), you also get good vacation hours, paid sick leave, and other perks.
- Alliance Airlines – The max salary with Alliance may not be as high, but the starting rate is very competitive, at $32,000. Although that is much lower than Qantas, keep in mind that raises can come quickly, so your salary may not stay that low for long.
- Virgin Blue – Virgin Australia goes the opposite route of Qantas. Rather than start flight attendants off at a low salary and help them grow, Virgin Australia starts flight attendants off at almost $40,000 AU, but maxes out sooner. This is a better job for those exploring the career, although those that know they’re committing may want to consider Qantas.
Keep in mind that these numbers are constantly changing, so the best strategy is to apply to open positions and only take the one that attracts you the most.
Becoming a flight attendant isn’t just about the money either. It’s about the opportunity to travel. So look for airlines that travel to areas you most want to see, and don’t be afraid to take some financial risks in order to reap the long term gains.