American Airlines Flight Attendant
American Airlines Flight Attendant

American Airlines Flight Attendant


American Airlines is a United States airline. With 199,640,000 passengers in 2017, it is the world´s largest airline. In 2013, American Airlines and US Airways merged, keeping the American Airlines name. The old American Airlines logo was also changed in 2013 into a completely new logo. Its headquarter is located in Fort-Worth, Texas, with the main hub being Dallas/Fort-Worth International Airport. In total, American Airlines flies from 10 hubs across the USA. 


The most important information follows below.


Promotion/Career perspectives: 


1. Flight attendant with reserve months

For the first years as an American Airlines flight attendant, you will be on reserve for several months per year. This means that you will be "on call" at all working days during those months and need to be at the airport within 2 hours after the company contacted you. Each of those reserve months, you will receive a schedule which shows the days that you are on call and the days that you are off. The other months, you will “hold a line” (receive a normal schedule with pre-planed trips).  For the first four years, you will be on reserve every second month. After those four years, you will hold a line for three months, which is followed by one month of reserve.  After multiple years, you will completely free of reserve months.  Note. Once the complete integration between US Airways and American airlines has been fished, flight attendants will start working with one full year of reserve.     


2. Flight attendant without reserve months

As a lineholder, you will be able to bid for flights and will therefore have more influence on the days you are working, the destinations you fly to and the aircraft type you fly on. This way, it is easier to combine with your private life.


Special qualification flight attendants:

Besides being a reserve or lineholder flight attendant, one can earn special qualifications: 


a. Purser qualified flight attendant

(after a minimum of 18 months of active service as a flight attendant)

As a purser, you will be leading and coordinating the flight attendants throughout the flight. You will be responsible for the briefings and will be the primary liaison between the captain and the flight attendants. After being selected and trained as a purser, you take part in the purser program and are being called a purser qualified flight attendant. This means that you can bid for flights with a purser position. In the event there are two or more purser qualified flight attendants on the flight, the purser position will be offered first in seniority order and then assigned in reverse seniority order. Hence, even though you are a purser qualified flight attendant, this does not mean that you will or must work as a purser on every flight.   


b. Language qualified flight attendants

In case you speak a foreign language fluently, you might opt to become a language qualified flight attendant. You will then be providing customer service and translation services in a foreign language. 


Payment / Wage / Salary:

The flight attendant salary at American Airlines is completely based on an hourly pay per flight hour. This hourly pay depends on the seniority (years working as an American flight attendant) and multiple extra factors (see below). For each day of training (not during the initial training course), you will receive the payment of 4 flight hours.


Basic pay for reserve flight attendants is 75 hours. For Lineholders it is 71 hours. No matter how many hours you have been assigned to, you will at least receive the basic pay according to those hours.



The basic hourly pay/salary per flight hour (in 2018)

(depening on the seniority):

1st year: $29.47

2nd year: $31.24

3rd year: $33.24

4rd year: $35.40

5th year: $38.99

6th year: $44.16

7th year: $48.31

8th year: $49.86

9th year: $51.23

10th year: $53.15

11th year: $54.61

12th year: $57.21

13th+ year: $66.26

American Airlines Flight Attendant Salary

Extra´s (this list is not complete!):

  • $3.00-$3.75 per hour for international flights
  • $4.75 per hour working  as a Purser on A321
  • $5.75 per hour working  as a Purser on B757
  • $7.50 per hour working  as a Purser on wide-body aircraft
  • $2.50 per hour working as a language qualified flight attendant on domestic flights
  • $5.00 per hour working as a language qualified flight attendant on international flights
  • Holiday pay: $75 for working/being on reserve on day that touches a national holiday
  • $1 per hour working as the galley (the aircraft kitchen) flight attendant


(The examples are not 100% correct, but give an idea on how the flight attendant salary is put together)

1. American Flight attendant salary in his/her first year who worked 75 flight hours on national routes in a month of being on reserve

  • Basic pay based on 75 hours: 75 x $27.76 = $2,210
  • Total wage: $2,210   

2. AMerican Lineholder flight attendant salary in his/her 9th year who worked 90 flight hours on international routes. For 10 of these 90 hours, he/she worked as a galley flight attendant and for 25 hours, he/she was working as a language qualified flight attendant.

  • Basic pay based on 90 hours: 90 x $51.23 = $4,611
  • $3 per hour for intercontinental routes: 90 x $3 = $270
  • $5 per hour as a language qualified: 25 x $5 = $125
  • $1 per hour as a galley attendant: 10 x $1 = $10
  • Total wage: $4,611 + $270 + $125 + $10 = $5,016

3. American Lineholder flight attendant salary in his/her 25th year who worked 85 hours on intercontinental routes as a purser on wide-body aircraft

  • Basic pay based on 85 hours: 85 x $66.26 = $5,632
  • $3 per hour for intercontinental routes: 85 x $5 = $255
  • $7.50 per hour as a purser on wide-body aircraft: 85 x $7.50 = $638
  • Total wage: $5,632 + $255 + $638 = $6,525

Per Diem / Layover allowance:

- On domestic flights: $2.20 per hour

- On international flights: $2.50 per hour

Home base:

American bases its flight attendants at ten different hubs:

  • Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW): largest hub
  • Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT): second-largest hub
  • Chicago O´Hare International Airport (ORD): third-largest hub
  • Philadelphia International Airport (PHL): fourth-largest hub
  • Miami International Airport (MIA)
  • Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX)
  • Ronald Reagon Washington National Airport (DCA)
  • Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
  • John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)
  • LaGuardia Airport (LGA)

Where you will stay after a working day:

Sometimes you will stay at a hotel in another city or sometimes you return back to your home base at the end of the day.


There is a big difference between the schedule for flight attendants on reserve and flight attendants holding a line (see text above):

Reserve month:

Being on reserve means that you have less planning possibilities than when holding a line.

As a reserve, you receive a minimum of 12 days off per month. Even though these days are displayed on your schedule, only 8 days are displayed as immovable days off. The other 8 days can be moved to other days in the same month due to changes in the schedule when being needed for a flight

The number of flight hours you work during the months on reserve varies a lot, as it completely depends on how often you are being called in to work. In order to receive a basic wage, as a reserve, you are being paid at least 75 flight hours, no matter how many hours you have actually flown.

Lineholder month:

When holding a line, you will receive a minimum of 11 days off per month.

As a lineholder, you receive a 71 flight hour guarantee at your hourly rate, no matter how many hours you have actually flown.

After each flight you have a minimum rest period at your home base, which ranges from 8 (for certain domestic flights) to 48 hours (for flights in excess of 14h30). The minimum rest at the layover destinations ranges from 9 to 14 hours (depending on the destination).


The number of vacation days depends on the seniority (completed years of service):

  • 1 - 4 years: 7 days
  • 5 year: 10 days
  • 6 years: 12 days
  • 7 – 9 year: 14 days
  • 10 – 12 years: 18 days
  • 13 – 15 years: 21 days
  • 16 – 17 years: 23 days
  • 18 – 25 years: 31 days
  • 26+ years: 35 days

Training course:

The training lasts for 6,5 weeks and is unpaid. You will, however, be offered a free shared hotel room during training.

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