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Best airlines for flight attendants to work for

Best Airlines For Flight Attendants To Work For

What may be the perfect airline for one person may not be for another. 

If you want to know what the best airlines for flight attendants are read on, as we go through the list of the top five best airlines for flight attendants.

This post will answer some questions about reserve, and the bases of the top five best airlines for flight attendants to work in the United States.

Flight attendant pay is an important aspect of the job, and these top 5 are the highest paid airlines for flight attendants.

You can get a better understanding of what the expected starting salary as a new flight attendant is if you keep in mind you won’t be working 40 hours a week but something more like 20 paid hours a week.

Reserve is something most new flight attendants have to do, it is being “on call” without a lot of control over where you fly.

A line holder or line of flying is the schedule you bid for and you are not a reserve flight attendant who is “on call”.

A base, is where you will fly from, where you are based. Where your trips will originate and where they will end.

best airlines for flight attendants

Alaska Airlines

One of the best airlines to work for as a flight attendant is Alaska Airlines.
 

Before you get hired at Alaska Airlines as a flight attendant you will go to unpaid training for five weeks.

Alaska Airlines accepts flight attendants starting at age 21.

Alaska Airlines takes longer to top out in pay than the other larger airlines,  Alaska Airlines starts their flight attendants at $27.78 per hour and they top out after 16 years at $67.14. 

One of the things that makes Alaska one of the best airlines to work for is that just like Southwest they have TFP, or trips for pay. That means all of their trips have extra pay padded into them which is an excellent benefit.

Alaska airlines has a straight reserve system which means as a new flight attendant you will be on reserve until you have acquired enough seniority to not be on reserve anymore.

As an Alaska Airlines flight attendant you may be based in:

  • SEA (Seattle, WA)
  • PDX (Portland, OR)
  • SAN (San Diego, CA)
  • ANC (Anchorage, AK)
  • LAX (Los Angeles, CA)
  • SFO (San Francisco, CA)

American Airlines

Best Airlines for flight Attendants

Another one of the best airlines for flight attendants is American Airlines.

Before you get hired at American Airlines as a flight attendant, you will head off to unpaid training for 6.5 weeks. American accepts flight attendants starting at 20 years of age.

Even though the training is unpaid there is a $40 stipend paid for the days you spend in training.

American Airlines is one of the best airlines to work for as a flight attendant because they are one of the largest carriers in the country and have amazing domestic and international destinations.

American Airlines Flight Attendant Pay is very competitive and they pay their flight attendants quite well. Starting pay as an American Airlines Flight Attendant is $30.35, topping out at $68.25 after 13 years.

American Airlines Flight Attendant Reserve. A first year as an American Airlines Flight Attendant you will be on straight reserve, after that you will rotate one month on reserve, one month of holding a line until you are senior enough to hold a line and not rotate.

As an American Airlines Flight Attendant you may be based in: 

  • BOS (Boston, MA)
  • ORD (Chicago, IL)
  • DFW (Dallas-Fort Worth, TX)
  • LAX (Los Angeles, CA)
  • MIA (Miami, FL)
  • CLT (Charlotte, NC)
  • SFO (San Francisco, CA)
  • JFK/LGA (New York City, NY)
  • DCA (Washington, DC)
  • PHL (Philadelphia, PA)
  • PHX (Phoenix, AZ)

Delta Airlines

best airlines for flight attendants to work for

 

Delta made the list as one of the best airlines for flight attendants to work for.

One of the “big three” legacy airlines Delta Airlines flight Attendants enjoy flying all over the world.

Delta has its own reserve system called ADAYS and even brand new flight attendants don’t have to sit an entire month of reserve, just six days per month.

One thing about Delta that can be a downer is the fact that they don’t have a union, so they don’t have the job protection that a union gives an employee. 

Delta Airlines is the only airline to pay flight attendants for boarding which gives them a great big gold star as one of the top airlines for flight attendants. Flight Attendants only get half of their pay for boarding, but it’s better than zero that you get with most other airlines.

Delta Airlines has six weeks of paid training for the flight attendant position. (This is not the regular starting pay, but minimum wage.) Starting pay as a Delta Airlines Flight Attendant is $30.96 and top out pay is $69.59 after 13 years.

As a Delta Airlines flight attendant you may be based in:

  • ATL (Atlanta, GA)
  • BOS (Boston, MA)
  • DTW (Detroit, MI)
  • LAX (Los Angeles, CA)
  • MSP (Minneapolis, MN)
  • JFK/LGA (New York, NY)
  • SLC (Salt Lake City, UT)
  • SEA (Seattle, WA)

Southwest Airlines

Our list of the best airlines for flight attendants wouldn’t be complete without Southwest Airlines.
 

Southwest Airlines has the most amazing culture, their vision is to be the world’s most loved, most efficient, and most profitable airline. Employees love Southwest Airlines and sing their praises.

Before becoming a Southwest Airlines flight attendant you will spend four weeks in training. Training is unpaid, but within five working days after graduation, you will receive a $1200 bonus of initial training pay. During training, you receive a $425 pre-paid Visa card for meals.

Southwest Airlines Has Great Pay 

Southwest has the highest published hourly flight attendant rate on the pay scale, but you can’t exactly calculate flight attendant pay by block hour because Southwest pays their flight attendants TFP (Trips For Pay).

There is block time, which is how many flight hours the trip is blocked for, and credit time, so all your trips get extra time into them for credit time, which is AWESOME.

Most flight attendants at other airlines are only paid for block time with the occasional extra credit time here and there for certain trips. At Southwest (and Alaska as was mentioned earlier), that extra pay is for ALL of your trips.

Plus, on the last day and the first three days of every month, you are paid time and a half as a Southwest flight attendant.

At Southwest Airlines you will be on reserve until you are in the top 35% of the base. This can take YEARS to be in the top 35%. However, as a Southwest Airlines flight attendant, you are able to hold a line every other month once you are off probation.

Rotating Reserve

The problem with rotating reserve, (every other month of reserve) is that you can’t make as much money as you want when you are on reserve. It cuts your flexibility compared to having a line every month, however at most airlines (including Southwest Airlines) you can pick up on top of your reserve schedule making much more money.

It depends on how much you want to work, for some flight attendants who want to work a lot, the rotating reserve will cut into their pay. For other flight attendants, working less is perfect.

Southwest Airlines Destinations

As a Southwest Airlines flight attendant, you will do some “international” flying, but it is limited to Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean.

Southwest Airlines flight attendants “tidy” the cabin by picking up trash and crossing seat belts once customers have deplaned, something flight attendants at the other airlines on the list never have to do.

highest paid flight attendant airlines

As a Southwest Airlines Flight Attendant you may be based in:

  • OAK (Oakland, CA)
  • LAX (Los Angeles, CA)
  • LAS (Las Vegas, NV)
  • PHX (Phoenix, AZ)
  • DEN (Denver, CO)
  • MDW (Chicago Midway Airport, Chicago, IL)
  • DAL (Dallas Love Field Airport Dallas, TX)
  • HOU (Hobby Airport, Houston, TX)
  • ATL (Atlanta, GA)
  • BWI (Baltimore, MD)
  • MCO (Orlando, FL)

United Airlines

best airlines to be a flight attendant for

Last but definitely not least…

One of the largest US Airlines, United Airlines is one of the best airlines to be a flight attendant for.

With more destinations than any other carrier in the world, United Airlines rounds out the list as one having some of the best flight attendant jobs. You must be 21 years of age to apply as a United Airlines flight attendant.

United provides $140 week per diem for flight attendant training and provides two meals per day. United Airlines has a straight reserve and has one of the most flexible trading systems for line holders. Once you are off of reserve at United, you can really control your flight attendant schedule.

Starting pay at United Airlines is $28.88 and top out pay is $67.11 after 13 years. However, United has a reserve override of $2 per hour. So that $28.88 is $30.88 if you are on reserve. (The reserve override is for any reserve so it’s always $2 over the base pay.)

As a United Airlines flight attendant you may be based in:

  • BOS (Boston, MA)
  • CLE (Cleveland, OH)
  • AUS (Austin, TX) Satellite Base
  • DEN (Denver, CO)
  • EWR (Newark, NJ)
  • FLL (Fort Lauderdale, FL) Satellite Base
  • GUM (Guam)
  • HNL (Honolulu, HI)
  • IAD (Washington, DC)
  • IAH (Houston, TX)
  • LAS (Las Vegas, Nevada) Satellite Base
  • LAX (Los Angeles, CA)
  • LHR (London, Heathrow) closed to new transfers
  • MCO (Orlando, FL) Satellite Base
  • ORD (Chicago, IL)
  • PHX (Phoenix, AZ) Satellite Base
  • SAN (San Diego, CA) Satellite Base
  • SFO (San Francisco, CA)
  • TPA (Tampa, FL) Satellite Base 

So there you have it, the best airlines to work for as a flight attendant in the US. They also happen to be the best paying airlines for flight attendants.

Did that help you get a better understanding of what airline is the best to work for?

Check out Future Flight Attendant’s job board, and find out Who’s Hiring Flight Attendants right now.

Do you have any other airlines that you would like to see added to the list? Let me know in the comments I would love to hear from you.

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