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Choosing the career path of a flight attendant is an exciting venture for those who crave a life of travel. But snagging a position isn't easy. During Delta's most recent hire, they expected to hire one percent of the roughly 150,000 applicants. Before you begin the interview process, decide if this is the job for you.
Education You Need to Become a Flight Attendant
While a college degree is not a requirement, it certainly doesn't hurt, considering the competition. Studying the travel industry or having a degree in hospitality is a bonus. The only educational requirement is a high school diploma or equivalent.
How Many Hours a Month Does a Flight Attendant Work?
If consistency and structure is a must-have for you, the job of a flight attendant probably isn't for you. When flight attendants first start out, they are at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to scheduling and basically get what's "left over" for hours.
While flight attendants only work between nine-to-20 days per month, depending on the airline, the hours can be grueling. You could be assigned trips anywhere from two-to-four days, or maybe even turnarounds which are a series of same-day, round-trip flights. So while the hours you log per month are in the range of 65-to-80, you knock out a lot of those within the same trip. As your seniority grows, the flexibility grows with it. Like any job, there can be opportunities to pick up extra hours from time-to-time.
How Much do Flight Attendants Get Paid?
You may have already heard the news: a career as a flight attendant will not make you rich. The average salary for newbies is around $25,000 per year. If you break this down into an hourly wage, it's about $20. This rate is dependent on the airline and how many hours-per-month you work.
The plus side is you could probably swing a second job as long as that job is flexible and works around your airline schedule, keeping in mind it will never be the same month-to-month.
Most people don't go into a flight-attendant career with the goal of making a ton of money. They do it to see the world. So while the salary may be low, the benefits are tremendous if you take advantage of them. If you consider the hundreds of dollars you're saving per trip by flying for free, the wage doesn't seem all that bad.
Erinne is a freelance writer living in Maine. Her work has been published by The Washington Post, New York Magazine, Prevention Magazine, Parents Magazine, Good Housekeeping, Chicago Tribune, Men's Journal and more.