A life filled with travel -- not high pay -- is the main attraction of a flight attendant job. You need only a high school diploma at a minimum, but some employers prefer college grads. Airlines provide the necessary training for Federal Aviation Administration certification. The average income of flight attendants was less than $44,000 a year in 2013, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Flight attendants earned a median annual income of $40,520 as of 2013, according to the BLS, which means half earned more and half earned less than this amount. Flight attendants reported an average wage of $43,860 per year. The lowest-paid 10 percent earned $28,910 annually or less, while the top 10 percent received $67,290 per year or more.
Major Industry Wages
Most flight attendants work in only one industry -- scheduled air transportation, or the airlines. Out of 93,550 attendants nationwide in 2013, 89,600 worked in this industry, earning an average annual income of $43,780, according to the BLS. In other industries, corporate flight attendants earned an average of $69,430 per year, the highest of any industry. Attendants for air transportation support activities averaged $59,420 annually, while those for nonscheduled air transport, or charter flights, averaged $43,080 per year.
Salaries Over the Map
California had 10,830 positions for flight attendants in 2013, the largest number of any state, according to the BLS. Attendants based there received an average annual wage of $41,220. The top-paying state for flight attendants was Florida, where they averaged $51,590 per year. In second place for pay, flight attendants in Georgia earned an average $50,760 annually. Dallas had the highest pay among cities reporting a specific number of jobs. The greater Dallas area had 2,080 flight attendant jobs with an average salary of $61,190 per year.
Perks and Benefits
It's the extra benefits that induce large numbers of applicants to compete for jobs as flight attendants, according to "Bloomberg Businessweek." Flexible schedules with days off during the week; discounted air travel, even in first class; and free stand-by tickets often come with the job. The employment benefits for full-time flight attendants typically include retirement plans and health insurance, and many attendants receive extra pay for holiday, weekend and night shifts. The BLS predicts a 7 percent decline in flight attendant jobs between 2012 and 2022, compared to an 11 percent increase for all occupations.
2016 Salary Information for Flight Attendants
Flight attendants earned a median annual salary of $48,500 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, flight attendants earned a 25th percentile salary of $39,860, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $62,490, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 116,600 people were employed in the U.S. as flight attendants.