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United Airlines Flight Attendant Salary – 2024 Complete Guide

United Airlines is known as one of the airlines in the US that pays its Flight Attendants the highest – but just how much is the salary of a United Airlines Flight Attendant?

A United Airlines Flight Attendant will start off by getting paid an hourly rate of $28.88 for their basic salary, and the most experienced Flight Attendants at United will get $67.11 per hour after twelve years working in the airline!

An average United Airlines Flight Attendant salary works out at around $48 per hour.

Many more factors however go into a Flight Attendant’s salary than just the basic hourly rate, such as the flights worked and whether the Flight Attendant was on reserve to name a couple – so it is just a guide.

This article will break everything down so we can see just how much a Flight Attendant makes in their salary at United Airlines – one of the world’s best airlines, and why so many people are keen to get a job as a United Airlines Flight Attendant!

United Airlines Flight Attendant Salary:

How Much Do United Airlines Flight Attendants Make?

The Flight Attendant salary at United Airlines is extremely competitive and higher than most of the other large airlines in the US – which explains why a job as a Flight Attendant at United Airlines is highly sought after!

Within United Airlines, the salary for Flight Attendants varies vastly – from around $28,000 per year for new Flight Attendants to over $100,000 for the most experienced Flight Attendants! 

Basic hourly rate is $28.88 for new joiners and $67.11 for the most senior Flight Attendants at United Airlines.

It is important to remember however that this is just the basic hourly rate and you will earn more than this – as you will see below.

HOURLY RATE (STANDARD FLIGHT HOUR PAY) 

Flight Attendants’ salaries increase as they gain more experience and seniority in their roles, which is typical for most jobs.

At United Airlines, the hourly pay rate for Flight Attendants is determined by the number of years they have been employed as a Flight Attendant with the company.

Each year, the Standard Flight Hour Pay for United Airlines’ Flight Attendants increases by approximately $2 per hour, which is a significant raise. 

The hourly rate is capped at the 12-year mark, remaining the same year on year. The hourly rate is directly linked to a Flight Attendant’s seniority level.

The starting hourly salary for Flight Attendants at United Airlines is $28.88 for their first year, whereas those with six years of experience earn almost $45 per hour.

Those with 12 years of experience can make an impressive $67.11 per hour at United Airlines. In addition to the hourly rate, Flight Attendant salaries at United Airlines are determined by their monthly flight hours and other factors.

FLIGHT HOURS

The number of monthly flight hours worked directly affects a Flight Attendant’s pay and is an important factor when determining their salary for the month.

It is worth noting that, like most airlines, Flight Attendants at United Airlines only start getting paid once the aircraft door closes. Therefore, time spent at the briefing, doing safety checks, boarding, and delays before departure are unpaid.

Similarly, they stop getting paid once the aircraft door opens at the destination gate, so any delays in disembarking passengers go unpaid.

Therefore, Flight Attendants’ hourly pay at United Airlines is only for the duration from the aircraft’s departure door closing to its arrival door opening. Though seemingly unfair, this is standard practice in the aviation industry.

However, it technically isn’t always the case, as Flight Attendants receive per diem compensation during outstation periods when they are not working. More information on per diem can be found later in the article.

How Many Hours Does A Flight Attendant Work Per Month?

Flight Attendants at United Airlines typically work an average of 75 to 100 hours per month. A new Flight Attendant who works approximately 100 hours per month can earn around $3,000, from a typical 17 days flying within the month.

The number of hours worked can vary from one month to another, affecting their pay. Junior Flight Attendants may work up to 130 hours per month, while senior staff may prefer to work part-time hours.

Flight Attendants have the option to pick up extra flights or give them away, depending on their preferences.

There is an online interactive system where Flight Attendants can give away flights or pick up extra flights for additional income.

This feature provides Flight Attendants with more flexibility and control over their salary and work schedules.

When Do United Airlines Flight Attendants Get Paid Their Salary?

United Airlines Flight Attendants get paid every 2 weeks. They will get paid for the two weeks that they have worked prior.

BREAKING DOWN THE UNITED AIRLINES FLIGHT ATTENDANT SALARY PAY 

Calculating Flight Attendant salaries differs significantly from standard jobs. Monthly salaries for Flight Attendants working in commercial airlines can vary considerably.

Unlike regular jobs that offer fixed monthly salaries, Flight Attendants’ salaries depend not only on their standard flight hour pay and the number of hours flown each month but also on the destinations they visit, whether the flight is a layover or turnaround, and whether they have any on-call or available duties.

A Flight Attendant Salary is made up of:

  • Crew Duty Payment (the amount of hours flown that month multiplied by the Hourly Flight Pay)
  • Layover Payment (Per Diem)
  • Reserve payment
  • Incentives

Special Roles: pursers, language speakers etc.

These payments can vary considerably from month to month and crew member to crew member, depending on what the Cabin Crew Roster looks like that month. 

Also if a Flight Attendant havs had vacation leave or been sick one month, or didn’t get called on their reserve days, their salary will be lower as they will have had more days off from flying. 

Crew Duty Payment

Hourly Rate x Hours Flown = Flight Attendant Salary

To determine the Crew Duty Payment for a given month, the total number of hours worked during the month is multiplied by the Standard Flight Hour Pay rate.

At United Airlines, as with other airlines, salaries are paid after the month worked because rosters and flights can change at the last minute, making it impossible to predict the Crew Duty Payment in advance.

For example, suppose you are a newly hired Flight Attendant at United Airlines with a salary of $28.88 per hour and have just completed a 5-hour flight. In that case, you would receive $144.40 ($28.88 x 5).

However, a Flight Attendant with 12+ years of experience at United Airlines, with a salary of $67.11 per hour, would receive $335.55 for the same 5-hour flight.

It’s not surprising that people tend to hold on to their jobs as United Airlines Flight Attendants!

Layover Allowance (Per Diem)

The Layover Allowance, which is also known as Per Diem, is a non-taxable sum that Flight Attendants receive when they are stationed away from their base, for instance during a layover.

This amount is paid in addition to their regular hourly rate.

The allowance is designed to cover meal expenses while on a layover, and therefore serves as reimbursement for meals purchased outstation.

This is done automatically by United Airlines, there is no need to keep receipts or submit anything.

The Per Diem Layover Allowance for United Airlines is $2.20 per hour for domestic destinations within the US and $2.70 per hour for international destinations. This is the same for all Flight Attendants regardless of seniority.

For every hour spent away from the Flight Attendant’s base, from the time the aircraft door closes at the base until it opens again, Flight Attendants receive the Per Diem allowance on top of their hourly rate.

While the Layover Allowance may seem small, it certainly adds up! For example, for a 24-hour layover during an international flight where the total time away from the base is 40 hours, a Flight Attendant would earn an extra $108 in Layover Allowance in addition to their regular pay for flying hours.

With several trips scheduled monthly, this can amount to hundreds of dollars added to their salary instantly!

Reserve Whilst Working As A United Airlines Flight Attendant

The Reserve Month is a period where junior Flight Attendants are put on standby, without any set flights rostered on their schedule. Instead, they must wait until usually the last minute to receive a call to operate a flight.

The flight could be to any destination, and it could be a layover or a turnaround. There is also a chance that they may not be called for a flight at all.

Typically, reserve Flight Attendants are assigned flights that are less desirable, such as short there-and-backs, multi-sector days, red-eye flights, or flights with short layovers.

However, occasionally they may receive an opportunity to operate a great flight.

United Airlines works on a straight reserve system and new Flight Attendants at United Airlines are contractually obliged to follow this system.

New Flight Attendants at United Airlines will be placed on “reserve” (standby) months and trips will be assigned to them on the basis of as and when they are needed.

The Flight Attendant will still receive a roster/schedule when they are on reserve, and this will show them their ‘off’ days and the days they are on reserve.

The Flight Attendants are not on reserve non-stop for the whole time – they still get plenty of days off that they know in advance!

On each monthly schedule, it will be 12 minimum days rostered ‘off’ and around 18 days rostered on reserve.

Flight Attendants at United Airlines that are on reserve get 78 hours monthly guarateed pay.

Plus the great thing is that when they are on reserve, they have a reserve override which is $2 per flight hour – meaning a United Airlines Flight Attendant flying on reserve will be on a starting salary of $30.88 per hour!

Special Roles

In addition to the hourly rate and per diem, some Flight Attendants can also earn extra money in special roles – for example when they are a language speaker or a purser on the flight.

Purser:

The Purser is the Flight Attendant who holds overall responsibility for the cabin.

They are typically tasked with completing comprehensive safety and incident reports, as well as handling any issues or difficult passengers (including any difficult Flight Attendants).

Given their increased level of responsibility and the fact that they oversee the entire customer experience, Pursers receive additional compensation.

As most Pursers at United Airlines have a minimum of 20 years of experience, it can take a considerable amount of time to attain this role.

Language Speakers:

Flight Attendants who are fluent in languages other than English can apply to be Language of Destination (LOD) Flight Attendants and get paid extra for their additional skill.

LOD Flight Attendants are responsible for speaking the language of the destination country to customers and providing assistance in that language as needed.

United Airlines flies to several non-English speaking countries such as Italy, Israel, the Netherlands, Greece, India, Japan, and more, so LOD Flight Attendants are highly valued.

Other Special Roles:

Other special roles that Flight Attendants can take on for extra money, or just to experience something different include:

  • joining the safety team or becoming a trainer in initial and recurrent Flight Attendant training
  • joining the recruiting team

If you’re looking for help on applying to become a Flight Attendant and the Application Process check out these guides:

How to write the perfect Flight Attendant CV/Resume
Attending A Flight Attendant Assessment Day
What to expect on a Flight Attendant Open Day
Flight Attendant School
Flight Attendant Background Check

United Airlines Benefits

Benefits for United Airlines Flight Attendants include:

  • staff travel discounts & travel privileges for themselves, their partner and their children
  • comprehensive insurance and medical coverage (medical, dental & vision insurance)
  • retirement plans – 401K plan 
  • development opportunities
  • Paid time off for vacations & sickness

United Airlines has generous benefits, bonuses and commissions for their Flight Attendants.

Salary Deductions For Flight Attendants At United Airlines

Medicare, Social Security and other taxes are taken out of your paycheck. Remember that each state in the US has different levels of taxes.

Other deductions most staff choose to have include 401k, health insurance, stock purchases etc.

A payment plan is available to afford the United Airlines Flight Attendant uniform and luggage.

What Factors Can Affect A Flight Attendant Salary?

As we can see, several factors can affect a Flight Attendant’s Salary:

1. Seniority Of The Flight Attendant

As previously mentioned, a Flight Attendant’s seniority level is a significant factor in determining their salary.

Seniority not only impacts their hourly pay rate but also determines the destinations and schedule they are assigned to, ultimately affecting their overall salary.

The more seniority one has, the greater their hourly pay and the more control they have over their schedule. Therefore, seniority is a crucial element in shaping a Flight Attendant’s salary and schedule.

2. Hours Worked

The number of hours worked also has a significant impact on a Flight Attendant’s earnings. The more hours they work, the higher their monthly salary will be.

3. Per Diem

4. Special Roles

5. Benefits

Interested in finding out the salaries for Flight Attendants at other US airlines? Check out:

American Airlines FA Salary

Southwest Airlines FA Salary

Delta FA Salary

Hawaiian Airlines FA Salary

Alaska FA Salary

If you would like to see how the salary for Flight Attendants in one of the wealthy Gulf airlines compares, check out this article on Etihad Cabin Crew Salary.

Is United Airlines Currently Hiring Flight Attendants?

United Airlines has been hiring a LOT of Flight Attendants lately and it doesn’t appear to be slowing down as they have ordered a lot of new aircraft (and new aircraft means more staff to train!).

In fact, United Airlines seems to be hiring far more Flight Attendants than any other US Airline.

Many people see it as the best US airline to work for because they have so many bases and great destinations! Click here to view the vacancies for Flight Attendants

It’s good to apply as soon as you see the vacancies opening up, as sometimes the job vacancy can close after just a few days if they have too many applications.

How To Become A Flight Attendant At United Airlines?

To be employed as a Flight Attendant at United Airlines, like any other airline, there are specific prerequisites that must be met.

These include educational qualifications, physical appearance, eligibility to work and live in the United States, background checks, proficiency in English, and minimum age criteria, among other things.

Once you meet all of these requirements, you may submit your application. The application process is made up of several steps, including an online application, recruitment/assessment day, initial interview, and skills tests.

Passing through all of the stages can be challenging since the competition is fierce.

How Long Does The Whole Process To Become A Flight Attendant With United Airlines Take?

Becoming a Flight Attendant at United Airlines is a rigorous process with many stages that can take anywhere from a few months to a year, depending on various factors such as the number of applicants, hiring needs, and specific requirements like language skills.  

Once selected, candidates with a conditional job offer may have to wait several weeks or months before starting their 8-week Cabin Crew Training, followed by a 6-month probation period.

Although the process can be lengthy and frustrating, the end result of becoming a United Airlines Flight Attendant is well worth the effort.

United Airlines Flight Attendant Training Program

United Airlines provides the initial Flight Attendant training in Houston, Texas.

The training program for United Airlines is 8 weeks long.

During the training, United will provide you with training pay (many airlines don’t pay you for your training so this is a bonus that United is one of the only ones that does!) which also includes complimentary hotel accomodation, as well as breakfast and lunch.

A weekly pay of $140 during the Flight Attendant training is intended to cover other expenses.

You must complete the Flight Attendant training and all the associated background checks, as well as demonstrate your proficiency in order to get your flying licence.  

After successful completion of the Flight Attendant Training Course you will get your wings, be assigned a base (usually your preferred one!), receive a one-time payment of $1000(!!) and become one of the United Airlines Cabin Crew team! 

Like all Flight Attendant Training Programs, United Airlines focuses their training on aircraft specific training and safety, as well as the many different scenarios you can encounter as Cabin Crew (medical emergencies, fire, security, emergency landing etc), as well as customer services, culture at United, and more.

Interested in requirements for other US Airlines?

American Airlines FA Requirements

Southwest Airlines FA Requirements

Delta FA Requirements

Hawaiian Airlines FA Requirements

Alaska FA Requirements

United Airlines Flight Attendant Salary Summary

In summary, United Airlines is a great airline to work for. It has one of the highest hourly salary rates in the US for Flight Attendants and it is one of the best airlines to work for!

Looking for more information on Flight Attendant Requirements? Check out these articles:

Flight Attendant Requirements

Age Limit For Flight Attendants

Height Requirements For Flight Attendants

Can A Flight Attendant Have Tattoos?

Can Flight Attendants Have Piercings?

 

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