Cabin Crew: Salary Guide

Cabin Crew: Salary Guide

By Patricia Green

The subject of salary for cabin crew is often shrouded in mystery, largely due to the fact that current members of crew are advised by their airline not to discuss their salaries online. So the subject remains distinctly vague.

However, we can estimate from previous crew members at different airlines in the UK and Middle East, figures for typical salaries in 2012 (see updated figures for 2017). These should only be used as a guideline. In this article we will also be looking at other factors such as benefits and contracts. All of these will vary airline to airline and country to country and you will be able to find some of the information on the airline’s recruitment page or at the assessment day.

Contracts may be offered on a temporary basis, say for six months. This can be to premeditate a lack of available crew at a scheduled airline or to prepare for a very busy summer season at a European charter airline. Not all benefits available to full time crew may be available to contract crew, for example, things like annual leave or discounted tickets.

Although six months may not seem long, it is great if you want to just try out working with a different airline or if you are not sure that the job is right for you. There may also be a chance that you may be kept on, during the slow season if crew are required and you may be called back for the next seasonal contract. For scheduled airlines, for example British Airways, Virgin, Qantas or Emirates, you will mostly be offered a permanent full time contract. This will have a six month trial period, where you may choose to leave the company if you decide it’s not for you or the airline may not renew the contract.

Part time contracts are only really available to full time cabin crew who have already been with the airline for a number of years and for things like maternity leave or extended sick leave.

As a rough guide, salary is made up of different payments according to the airline:

Basic salary

On average per year, salaries start from £12,000, 12,000 Euro and $15,000. This figure is taken across a range of scheduled/charter airlines. Although, in this difficult financial climate I have heard of cabin crew working for less than 450 Euro a month!

Flight pay

Flight pay is an hourly rate for hours from take off to landing. This is a small figure based on actual hours flown onboard – not all airlines have this.

Allowance payments

There is also allowance payment for nights spent away from base (may differ from country to country visited, for example a meal in Tokyo will cost more than in Mombasa, therefore payments will reflect this.) Again, not all airlines pay for allowances and some have a set figure, for example 25 Euro per night away.

Language payments

Some airlines will pay a small monthly allowance for language speakers. If you speak a language fluently and can do the public announcements etc onboard regular flights, you may get paid a little extra, but you may find you will also be working the same routes regularly!

Commission from duty free sales onboard This may be between 5-10% of total sales on board shared by the whole crew – every little bit helps! It is also worth knowing that during yourflight crew training course, you will only be receiving a basic salary – so for a usual 4-6 week period, you will be on a limited budget! This is normally received a month behind at the end of the month and allowances and extras are usually paid two months behind. The longer you stay with a company is also of benefit, as you should receive a yearly increment /bonus of up to 5% plus a yearly rise after a qualifying period.

So, what other benefits are there?

Annual leave of between 14 and 30 days a year is usually available to you, for your holiday or those special occasions. Many airlines also offer personal or medical insurance in case you get taken ill or have an accident, but this kind of cover can vary company to company. Pension schemes are sometimes available and if you happen to be sick there is a limited period of sick leave where you will be just paid a basic salary. Most scheduled airlines and some charters also offer reduced price tickets or staff travel on standby (if there is a seat available last minute!) which can be helpful if you wish to commute or travel during your annual leave.

Some cabin crew may be lucky and also receive discounts on gym membership, restaurants and transportation. Down-route, you may get discounts on internet fees and food at your hotel and discounts at the duty free shop at the airport. As your uniform is so important to company image, the company will normally pay for you to have it dry cleaned and some have laundry facilities at base for you to drop off your uniform. Many of the airlines in the Middle East, for example Emirates, Etihad, Qatar and Gulf Air offer their cabin crew, free transport (by crew bus to and from airport) and free accommodation (shared apartments with up to 3 other crew members) which can be a huge advantage. They also offer a tax free salary, so is a good option if you have no ties and are willing to move to a new country. So, all in all – that gives you an idea of how a cabin crew salary adds up. Every airline has different salary structure so it is hard to give an accurate single figure here.

On a practical note, it is always a good idea to weigh up the pros and cons of the contract. Consider if you have housing and transport costs to pay for or existing bills at home to cover, as these should be factored in. If you are successful at your assessment day and are still in doubt as to your approximate monthly salary and contract offer then do not hesitate to contact the Human Resources department for clarification on this information.

About Patricia Green:

I have been cabin crew for major airlines in the UK and Middle East for six years and also a SCCM. For the last six years I have worked as a VIP Flight Attendant working for very high profile clients and world leaders on their private jets. This last year, I moved to flying on a freelance basis in order to concentrate on working as a freelance instructor as well as setting up as a Cabin Crew Consultant, so that I could advise potential crew how to get their dream job and help experienced crew move from commercial to corporate flying.

In response to many requests from fellow crew and students, I have written a series of E-books to help guide new crew with lots of insider advice and useful hints and tips.

For more information please visit cabincrewconsultant.weebly.com

Update – 2017 Cabin Crew Salary:

Starting salary: £12,000 – £14,000

Experienced: £15,000 – £21,000

Senior: £30,000

These figures should be treated as a guide and are from the National Careers Service.

See our cabin crew job description for more information on working as a cabin crew member.

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Commercial Pilot: Salary Guide

Commercial Pilot: Salary Guide

The starting salary for a newly qualified commercial pilot working for a small operation may be around £22,000 and could rise to well over £100,000 for an experienced long-haul captain. The training procedure to become a pilot can be very expensive, sometimes as much as £100,000. However, it could result in a very lucrative career; airline pilot was the 4th highest paid profession in the UK according to the 2016 ONS Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings.

Read on to discover how much a pilot could earn with different airlines, flying different types of aircraft.

Salaries at a glance

Short Haul Pilot Salary:

First Officer: £35,000 – £60,000

Captain: £60,000 – £100,000

Long Haul Pilot Salary:

First Officer: £45,000 – £120,000

Captain: £80,000 – £170,000

How much do pilots earn?

This greatly depends on the airline and the type of aircraft flown. Salaries tend to increase with each year of service with a company, says BALPA so even if you are initially paid a low wage, the situation may well improve after several years of employment.

Salaries vary according to the airline a pilot is employed with, the type of aircraft being flown and experience gained. The starting salary for a newly qualified first officer working for a small operation may be around £22,000 (or $35,000).

Starting salaries for those in larger companies are higher at around £24,000 pa to £28,000 pa ($38,000 to $45,000).

Salaries for more experienced commercial pilots could range from £28,000 ($45,000) to £44,000 ($70,000) in a first officer role. The starting salary for a captain with a medium-sized airline may range from £54,000 ($87,000) to £75,000 ($120,000), while those with the major operators could earn from £97,000 ($156,000) to over £140,000 ($225,000).

British Airways is one of the best airlines to fly for in terms of average salaries. Our calculations suggest that a long-haul pilot with lots of experience could well reach the £150,000 mark. Even some low-cost airlines like Ryanair can pay their senior captains up to £100,000.

 

 

What is the average salary of a commercial pilot?

Industry estimates suggest that UK pilots can earn between £22,000 – £170,000 per year, depending on experience, airline and type of aircraft.

The following average salaries are based on the pilot jobs listed on Aviation Job Search over the last year.

Average pilot salary (overall): £76,400

Average captain salary: £80,278

Average senior first officer salary: £72,270

Average first officer salary: £65,723

Average second officer salary: £63,692 

(updated April 2018)

 

Small & medium twin-engine turboprop aircraft:

For example: Flybe, CityJet & Eastern Airways

First Officer: £22,000 – £40,000 basic pay (£2,000 – £3,000 flight duty pay)

Captain: £50,000 – £70,000 basic pay (£2,000 – £3,000 flight duty pay)

 

Executive Jet aircraft:

For example: NetJets, TAG Aviation, Ocean Sky

First Officer: £28,000 – £50,000 basic pay (£2,000 – £6,000 flight duty pay)

Captain: £50,000 – £95,000 basic pay (£2,000 – £7,000 flight duty pay)

 

Small & Medium – Short Haul Jet aircraft:

For example: Easyjet, Ryanair

First Officer: £35,000 – £60,000 basic pay (£2,000 – £8,000 flight duty pay)

Captain: £60,000 – £100,000 basic pay (£2,000 – £9,000 flight duty pay)

 

Large – Long Haul Jet aircraft:

For example: British Airways, Virgin Atlantic & Cathay Pacific

First Officer: £45,000 – £120,000 basic pay (£2,000 – £8,000 flight duty pay)

Captain: £80,000 – £170,000 basic pay (£2,000 – £13,000 flight duty pay)

(Figures from www.tobeapilot.co.uk)

 

Flight duty pay

Flight duty pay is additional pay that can affect monthly take-home, although not all airlines use this system. It varies from company to company but essentially Flight Duty Pay is an element of pay based on a pilot being at work, in addition to basic salary. Often this is taxed at a different rate to the main salary. Flight Duty Pay can be a flat rate per sector or an hourly rate and can be based on duty time or flight time.

 

Incremental pay and benefits

It’s worth remembering that a pilot’s salary is often incremental, rising with each year of service within the company. And benefits and rewards should be taken into account too. These usually include a pension scheme, various allowances, health cover and discounted travel.

 

Working hours

In the role of pilot, unusual working hours should be expected. The length of a working day varies depending on the company and route but can range from three to twelve hours. The start times of a day will often differ depending on the route, sometimes beginning in the early morning and sometimes late at night.

 

Becoming an airline pilot:

Becoming a successful pilot requires a lot of work and dedication, with pilots required to undergo extensive training to qualify, and pass certain tests every six months. As well as studying for these tests, commercial pilots must pass a medical examination every year.

According to the British Airline Pilots Association, a typical ATPL (Airline Transport Pilot’s Licence) course will cost approximately £60,000 which usually does not include the price of accommodation and living expenses. “The course lasts for about 18 months and is extremely intensive, requiring a huge amount of effort and willpower to complete,” says the BALPA. However, many airlines require more than an ATPL before they will let you apply for a job. Quite often pilots find themselves having to train for additional “type ratings” which qualifies them to fly a particular type of airliner, and this course can cost around £25,000. To find out more about the training involved, read our article on how to become a pilot in the UK.

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Top paying airlines for Pilots in the UK

Top paying airlines for Pilots in the UK

In the ONS Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings 2016, airline pilots were the 4th highest paid profession in the UK, earning an average of £86,915 before tax. The figures, reported by the Guardian, show that only marketing directors, chief executives, and brokers earn more on average. This figure is down 0.6% on the previous year due to the rise of budget airlines. Below is a chart of the top 10.

Average pay before tax chart

Figures from ONS data as reported by the Guardian

Commercial airlines will have both a captain and a first officer in the cockpit during the flight. Both are fully qualified pilots and will help to fly the plane but the captain has the overall responsibility for the safety of the crew and their passengers. There may be additional pilots for long haul flights so the work can be shared over long periods. Salaries therefore vary between the roles as captains generally have more experience and take on more responsibility. Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect to earn depending on whether you fly long haul or short haul flights. We’ve included some examples of airlines for each.

 

Long Haul Pilot

Captain salary: £80,000 – £160,000

First Officer salary: £60,000 – £120,000

Typically, the aircraft used in long haul flight are Boeing 747, 767, 777, 787, and Airbus A330, A340, A380.

Top long haul employers include:

Short Haul Pilot

Captain salary: £70,000 – £130,000

First Officer salary: £40,000 – £70,000

Typically, the aircraft used in short haul flights include the Boeing 737, Airbus A320, and Embraer 190

Top short haul employers include:

 

Salaries will vary between employers and these figures are intended as a guide. Most airlines also have some attractive benefits in place. On top of the large salary, here are some of the things that pilots might receive from their employers:

  • Rising salary each year with the same company
  • Pension scheme
  • Discounted air travel. Sometimes you are able to share this benefit with friends and family

 

Interested in becoming a pilot? Read our pilot guide to find out more. It’s also worth noting that air traffic controllers were also among the top ten occupations. This could be an alternative career for you if you are interested in the aviation industry but don’t fancy life as a pilot. Take a look at the pilot roles on offer on Aviation Job Search for further information.

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