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Etihad Cabin Crew Salary – How Much Do They Get Paid?!!

Want to know how much is the salary for Etihad Airways Cabin Crew? How much does an Etihad Flight Attendant actually get paid each month in their salary?! You’ll find all the information you’re looking for here! This article is written by an Etihad Airways Cabin Crew so all the information is up to date, reliable and comes from personal experience.


It’s a well known fact that Cabin Crew in The Middle East get a good salary. Particularly Flight Attendants who work for the big 3 airlines in The Gulf (Qatar, Emirates and Etihad) usually earn a very healthy salary, and this is regarded and one of the pros of being a Flight Attendant in The Gulf. Being a Flight Attendant in The UAE or Qatar is a great job (who else gets paid to go to places like Mauritius or The Seychelles?!) and you get rewarded with a very good salary, but it can also be quite emotionally challenging.

Can Flight Attendants Live Comfortably Off An Etihad Airways Cabin Crew Salary?

To work as Etihad Cabin Crew you need to live in Abu Dhabi. You do not need to pay for accommodation though, as all Etihad Cabin Crew are provided with company paid fully furnished apartments (shared with one other person) in Abu Dhabi allocated by Etihad (Cabin Managers will get their own private apartment to themselves and married crew can get an allowance to live outside of company acconmdation). Not only do Etihad Cabin Crew get free accommodation and the main bills paid, but they also get free dry cleaning for their Etihad Cabin Crew uniform, free use of the Etihad gyms and pools, discounts off many restaurants, shops and hotels and many more perks! The most desirable perk is however: a tax free salary.

So the answer is yes. Etihad Airways Cabin Crew can live very comfortably on their salary. Now let’s break down the actual salary of an Etihad Flight Attendant so you can get an idea of figures and numbers and see how much they actually earn.


Etihad Cabin Crew salaries are worked out very differently to regular standard jobs. Their salary will vary a lot every month. Instead of getting paid a fixed monthly salary, Etihad Cabin Crew get paid according to not only the hours they have flown that month, but which destinations they have been to, and whether the flight was a layover or a turnaround.

The Etihad Cabin Crew Salary is made up of:

  • Basic Salary
  • Crew Duty Payment (the amount of hours flying)
  • Layover Payment

The Basic Salary stays the same each month, but the other two payments can vary considerably, depending on what the Cabin Crew Roster looks like that month. Also if Cabin Crew have had leave or been sick one month, their salary will be lower as they will have had more days off from flying.

Etihad cabin crew salary payslip flight attendant

Salaries are always tax free so you won’t be deducted any tax in your payslip. Regardless of which country you come from, Etihad Cabin Crew salaries are paid in the local UAE currency (UAE Dirhams: AED) by bank transfer at the end of the month, so you will need to open up a bank account when you get to the UAE in order to get paid.

Basic Salary

Basic Salary varies according to your Seniority/grade.

Depending on the rank of the Cabin Crew (eg: Economy Class Crew CC1, or Business Class Crew, First Class Crew, Cabin Senior, Cabin Manager etc), it will determine their basic salary. As their rank increases, their basic salary will increase dramatically.

The Basic Salary is the absolute minimum Etihad Cabin Crew will get a month – even if they do not work any flights (eg: they go on holiday for the whole month or are sick for the whole month). At first, the Basic Salary amount for Etihad Cabin Crew may sound low, but the basic salary makes up only roughly a third of the salary for Economy Class Crew for example – Cabin Crew earn a lot more from the actual flights they operate.

The Basic Salary for a new joiner doing their Initial Cabin Crew Training will be 2,500 Dirhams (£500 or almost $700USD) during their training (which lasts 6 weeks). Yes that’s right – Cabin Crew at Etihad Airways get paid whilst they are doing their Cabin Crew Training – this is different to some other airlines who even make you pay to complete your initial training! After you have completed your Cabin Crew training and probation period (6 months), the Basic Salary for an Etihad Cabin Crew working in Economy class goes up to 3,750 Dirhams per month (around $1000USD or £750).

Cabin Crew who work in Business Class or are Cabin Seniors or Cabin Managers have a much higher Basic Salary than Economy Class Cabin Crew working at Etihad.

Current Basic Salaries for Etihad Cabin Crew are:

Economy Class Crew (FA)

– 3,750 dirhams (roughly $1000 USD or £750)

Business Class Crew (FJ)

– 4,750 dirhams (roughly $1,300 USD or £940)

Cabin Senior (CS)

– 5,750 dirhams (roughly $1,550 USD or £1100)

Cabin Manager (CM)

– 6,750 dirhams (roughly $1,800 USD or £1300)

UAE Dirhams are also known as AED (Arab Emirates Dirhams) in currency.

The Basic Salary varies a lot between the grades, as the higher grade you have, the more responsibilities you hold. Unfortunately promotion and progressing up the career ladder for Cabin Crew in Etihad is a lot more difficult these days than it used to be. It was often the case that crew would get promoted from Economy Class to Business Class Crew within 1-2 years, but nowadays you can even find crew who have been working in Economy for 4 years or more, as promotion is only possible if there are vacancies above you, and often Cabin Crew in Etihad with the higher positions tend to stick around, making it much harder for the Economy Class Crew to progress. Your previous performance record will also determine whether you are eligible for a promotion, and if you have taken a lot of sick days, your chances of getting promoted are greatly reduced.

The Cabin Manager has usually been flying around 10 years before they become a CM. Obviously due to their experience and position, they are the highest paid Flight Attendants at Etihad.

Crew Duty Payment

Crew Duty is the time you are actually on duty/flying.

Your Crew Duty Payment is calculated according to the number of hours you are on duty. It starts from the minute you check in at the Crew Briefing Centre (CBC) for your flight briefing before the flight starts, until the airplane has come to a complete stop (known as chocks on). The briefing starts usually about an hour before the flight takes off as the briefing lasts 10 minutes, you need to go through security, get on the bus to the aircraft, carry out your Pre-Passenger Security Checks and then board the passengers. On wide-body planes the time will be just over 1.5 hours though as it can take an hour alone to board the passengers.

The duty time can vary between airlines – for example some airlines such as Emirates only start the duty payment from chocks off (first movement of the aircraft), which means whilst they are in their briefing and boarding the passengers they aren’t getting paid! Plus any delays on ground before flight means the Cabin Crew aren’t getting paid! Luckily this isn’t the case with Etihad Cabin Crew and they get paid the minute they check in for flight on the kiosk in the Crew Briefing Centre.

So Crew Duty refers to the amount of hours you are on duty, not how many flights you have worked. Working four 15 hour long haul flights will earn you considerable more money than working 8 flights that are only 5 hours long as you are working more hours, even though you are doing less flights.

Crew Duty Payment according to Grade:

Economy Class Crew (FA) – 44 AED hourly pay rate
Business Class Crew (FJ) – 48 AED hourly pay rate
Cabin Senior (CS) – 52 AED hourly pay rate
Cabin Manager (CM) – 55 AED hourly pay rate

A good Crew Duty Payment will usually amount to around 4,500 Dirhams per month for Economy Class (FA) Crew. Let’s look into that in more detail. If an FA operates a 15 hour flight, they will get paid 44 dirhams each hour, from the minute the check in at the CBC, to the minute the aircraft comes to a complete stop. In total, it will be on average 16.5 hours on duty that the Cabin Crew will get paid for that flight (44 AED x 16.5 hours = 726 AED, which is $200). On it’s own it doesn’t sound much, but bear in mind this is all in addition to the Basic Salary paid monthly, plus at it was an ultra long haul flight they will get paid a layover payment whilst they are on the layover. So whilst the amounts on their own might not seen much, when you add everything up together the salary is very good, especially compared to many other airlines around the world.

To work out your Crew Duty Payment for the month, add up all the duty hours for that month and times it by your hourly pay rate (44 AED for Economy Class Crew). You’ll then get paid for all those hours in the following month as it is impossible to predict Crew Duty Payment as rosters and flights can change last minute. As payments are done on or around the 25th of each month, Crew Duty Payments need to be added to the following month’s payments as the current month is not complete.

Depending on your grade, the aircrafts you are trained in, visa requirements of certain countries etc, you may have a different average number of duty hours per month to someone else. For example my friend in Business Class always seemed to average around 80 duty hours, but I always seemed to average around 100 duty hours when I was working in Economy Class for some reason. Probably because I always got rostered to Ultra Long Haul flights and my friend was unlucky in always getting turnarounds, so even though I was working less days, my duty hours were always more as I was working big blocks of hours at once (14+) as opposed to 8 or 9 hours like she would do on her turnaround days. Whilst it may seem hard working the Ultra Long Haul flights, you do get a few hours rest on the flight when you have the possibility to sleep (which of course you are paid for), and you do tend to get a better salary. Your average amount of duty hours shouldn’t exceed 100 duty hours per month.

Layover Payment

The Layover Payment is the amount of money you get when you are on ground out-station (eg: when you are on a layover). This layover payment is calculated to cover the expenses of all your meals on the layover, so at the end of the month Etihad in effect reimburses you for the meals you had to buy outstation. It works out as a rough estimate, of course you don’t need to keep receipts and submit anything – Etihad just works it out automatically.

Etihad determines the amount of money they will give you for a food allowance on a layover according to the geographical region of your layover destination. If Etihad Cabin Crew operate flights to countries with a higher cost of living, they get a larger layover allowance (as it is more expensive to buy food in Australia compared to South East Asia for example).

Here is the breakdown of the Layover Payments according to the different geographical regions:

  • Gulf Countries, Middle East Countries & Indian Subcontinent: 240 AED per day (roughly $65 USD per day)
  • Asia: 288 AED per day (roughly $80 USD per day)
  • Africa & Australia: 336 AED per day (roughly $91 USD per day)
  • America & Europe: 384 AED per day (roughly $104 USD per day).

Often layovers are just one day long, but sometimes you can get 2 or 3 day layovers. Therefore the more layovers you have in places such as Europe or America, the higher your layover payment is! If in one month your roster shows you have 3 layovers in LA, all of which are 2 days long, then for that month your layover payment would be 384 AED x 6 days = 2,304 AED, which equals almost $630 USD extra!

The layover payments for the different geographical regions are set, whatever your grade is. So Economy Class Cabin Crew and Cabin Managers will still receive the same layover payment if they both have the exact same layovers that month.

2,000 Dirhams or over is certainly a good amount to get in your total monthly layover payment, but this really depends each month. If you have a month of turnarounds, or if you have a month of USA flights, the difference in the layover payment will be huge. When you do turnarounds you do not receive layover payment, regardless of how long your turnaround flight is, as you return back to Abu Dhabi the same day – you are not staying in the destination.

Yes it seems unfair but that is how their system is set up. Plus often new crew will do more turnarounds than more experienced crew, in which case they may have a lower salary. But knowing how the layover payments works is important, as you realise this is easier money to earn than turnaround money, which is why people love to get the long layover destinations (plus of course because they get to explore more!).

What Is An Average Etihad Airways Cabin Crew Monthly Salary?

So after looking at all the above in detail, we can see that an average Etihad Airways Cabin Crew salary for crew working in Economy class is around 10 or even 11,000 Dirhams (11,000 Dirhams is over £2,000 or almost $3,000 USD) per month. This would be a month when the Cabin Crew has no annual leave – of course if they have time off their salary that month will be less.

Remember the salary for Etihad Cabin Crew is tax free so this is the amount the crew will receive! As crew get promoted to become a Business Class Cabin Crew, or Cabin Senior or Cabin Manager, the salary will go up dramatically. Let’s take a look at it in the table below, where we will use an average Duty Hours Payment of 100 hours and an average Layover Payment of 1,900 AED received (remember Layover Payment for each destination is the same for all Cabin Crew, regardless of their grade), to work out an average total monthly Etihad Cabin Crew salary.

Please note this numbers below are completely average numbers and many factors affect an Etihad Cabin Crew salary every month. Sometimes your salary may be higher, sometimes it may be lower. This is purely to give you an estimate.

Etihad Airways cabin crew monthly flight attendant salary

As you can see, each month an Etihad Cabin Manager receives roughly $1,000 USD more than an Economy Class Cabin Crew in their salary. As a rough guide, each time Etihad Cabin Crew get promoted they should expect to receive roughly 1,400 AED ($380 or so) more in their salary each month. Of course take the figures with a pinch of salt, as some Cabin Seniors may do a lot more turnarounds than some Economy Class Crew, which will affect Layover Payments.

Also not all crew have US visas, which can make a difference to their salary as US flights are all Ultra Long Haul Flights. Some crew just get unlucky and get a lot more turnarounds than other crew some months, whereas a Cabin Manager for example will very rarely do a turnaround, which will affect Layover Payment greatly.

Is It Possible For Etihad Airways Cabin Crew To Save A Percentage Of Their Salary Each Month?

Yes it is absolutely more than possible! Etihad is one of the best paying commercial airlines for Flight Attendants in the world! The Cabin Crew salary at Etihad Airways is exceptionally good, especially if you come from a country with a poor economy. Smart Cabin Crew will save a sizeable percentage of their salary every month – perhaps to buy a property in their home country or invest money.

Even for an Etihad Cabin Crew working in Economy, the salary for a Flight Attendant here in The UAE is much higher than in most other countries around the world. People in some countries would only be able to dream of earning that amount of money. So if you get a job as Cabin Crew at Etihad Airways, make sure to spend your salary wisely. Over the years I have seen far too many crew wasting their money on unnecessary things they really don’t need just because they get consumed by the lavish lifestyle in The UAE.

As a Cabin Crew at Etihad you get so many perks – tax free salary, accommodation and household bills already paid for, free access to Etihad pools and gyms, free shuttle buses to take you to and from the airport so you don’t need to spend money on getting to work, free dry cleaning of your uniform, discounts at many restaurants, shops and hotels in The UAE, unlimited staff travel tickets for you, your spouse, your parents and children to fly to hundreds of destinations for a fraction of the normal price (in Business Class or Economy), one completely free flight home every year, and discounted flights for up to 10 friends, and free insurance. Honestly the perks are so amazing and many crew can really take it for granted.

Emirates Flight Attendant Salary

The Emirates Flight Attendant salary is similar to that of Etihad Cabin Crew. Emirates Cabin Crew live in Dubai and they get paid slightly less in their monthly salary because their Layover Payment isn’t included in their salary. Instead, when they get to their destinations, they are given an envelope with the currency of the layover country as their meal allowance. Some prefer this, as it saves them having to exchange money before layovers, whereas some find it irritating if they aren’t planning to spend it all.

Also as mentioned earlier, Cabin Crew at Emirates only get paid from chocks off to chocks on, and not from the start of the briefing. Nevertheless, they receive a slightly higher salary per hour so it does actually even itself out, providing there are no delays on ground before takeoff! Either way, the Flight Attendant salary is pretty much the same between Emirates and Etihad overall and they are both seen as some of the best paying airlines for Flight Attendants.

VIP Flight Attendants

Some Etihad Airways Cabin Crew will decide to move into the private sector and fly for VIP families and companies in The UAE. These crew are the highest paid Flight Attendants in the whole of the UAE, however the recruitment and confidentiality policy is very strict, and crew need to be on standby all the time. VIP Flight Attendant companies in The UAE include Royal Jet.

One Final Word On Etihad Cabin Crew Salary…

The Flight Attendant life doesn’t last forever and you want to have more than just amazing memories of travels, nights out in Dubai and expensive Flight Attendant gifts to take with you when you leave and become ex Cabin Crew. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that the rug can be pulled out from under our feet at any time and you always need to keep some money aside. Especially in the 3 Gulf airlines, Cabin Crew can get fired a lot quicker than Flight Attendants in other countries (partly because there are no Unions to protect you) or your Flight Attendant contract may not get renewed.

etihad flight attendant Singapore Changi airport cabin crew salary

Check out this guide to How To Write A Winning Cabin Crew CV, as well as the Etihad Open Days and Assessment Days guide if you are thinking about applying to become Etihad Cabin Crew!


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