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Air cabin crew: Salary and conditions

  • Basic starting salaries for air cabin crew are around £12,000. Additional allowances may be received on top of this, which could take the salary to around £14,500.
  • Air cabin crew with experience can expect to earn £15,000-£18,000 a year.
  • Starting salaries at senior cabin crew level (which can be reached after a few years of experience) are around £20,000.
  • The majority of airlines offer free flights to cabin crew on domestic flights and some offer free or heavily discounted international flights. There is also usually a policy for discounted travel for immediate family and spouses.
  • Cabin crew work shifts that usually involve irregular and unsocial hours. It can include working early mornings, through the night and at weekends and on public holidays. Short-haul flights may provide more regular hours than long haul.
  • Part-time opportunities are available but this still involves unsocial hours.
  • Airlines catering for the package holiday market tend to recruit air cabin crew on a seasonal basis.
  • Some airlines require staff to live within a certain radius/easy travelling distance of the airport. (Flexibility is vital as staff may need to be on stand-by for work at short notice.) Some air cabin crew may be based in locations abroad.
  • The work can be demanding as cabin crew have to deal with and often work through tiredness and jet lag if crossing over different time zones.
  • The airline provides air cabin crew with a uniform and they are expected to be smartly dressed at all times and well groomed. Many airlines do not allow visible tattoos or piercings. 
  • Air cabin crew often work in confined spaces and have to spend a lot of time on their feet. The work is physically demanding, particularly on long-haul flights. Dealing with difficult passengers in an enclosed space may be stressful.
  • The amount of time spent away from home varies depending on the airline and whether you are working on short or long-haul flights. Spending nights away from home is especially common with long-haul work.

Salary data from Go Skills. Figures are intended as a guide only.

Written by AGCAS editors
January 2012

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