What is a flight attendant’s schedule like?
If you’re considering a career as a flight attendant, you likely want to know what a typical schedule looks like. As you can imagine, flight attendants don’t work typical 8am-5pm shifts like someone working in an office environment. In this article I’ll be showing you what the work schedule of a flight attendant looks like.
Days worked per month
Flight attendants usually work between 9 and 20 days per month. The exact number of days worked depend on things like the airline you work for, your seniority, and what type of flights you typically take on. How it often works is you get a flight on one day and then will usually have a day off between that flight and the next one. It’s not uncommon to even have a couple days off between flights.
Over the course of a month, this will usually add up to 65-90 hours of flight time with the opportunity to work more hours for overtime.
New flight attendants
When first starting out, some flight attendants might find it harder to get shifts due to flight attendants with more seniority getting first choice at available shifts. This is less of an issue as you gain experience and seniority. In fact, at some airlines there can be such a shortage that this is never an issue at all.
Another thing to consider as a new flight attendant is that you won’t always have your pick of the flights and shifts you prefer. Part of being new is being left with some of the unpopular flights and times as you work your way up. Most flight attendants agree that this part of your career won’t last long and you’ll move on to having more of a choice very soon.
The best thing to do is make sure you are asking about staffing needs and how many shifts will be available when you are interviewing for the job. That way, you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into.
Flight attendants are typically limited to working 12 hours shifts. In certain situations, like longer and international flights, they may be permitted to work up to 14 hours.
In some cases, a 12 hour shift can include several short flights. In other cases, this same shift can include just one long flight followed by a day off and a shift on a returning flight.
When flight attendants do have a longer flight overseas, they typically end up staying at a hotel and getting some time off before working a shift on a flight back home. Since they are travelling for work, their hotel stay is paid for by their employer. Their expenses for things like food while traveling are also covered by their employer since they are traveling for the airline.
In addition to working odd shifts, flight attendants also work unconventional hours that include flights at nights, early in the morning, on weekends, and even on holidays. Airlines have to accommodate passengers at all these times and thus need flight attendants to be available at these times.
As you can see, the odd hours, odd shifts, and travel involved can make the life of a flight attendant a very unpredictable one.
This month you might have a bunch of night shifts followed by a few days off and then some morning shifts. Other months you might find yourself sleeping in a hotel overseas.
The good news is that if you don’t mind this unpredictable lifestyle (some even enjoy it) the job not only pays well but can provide you with some great benefits. These can include the ability to travel for free or very cheap, travel expenses being reimbursed, and more.
If you want to know more about how much flight attendants are paid, make sure to read through this article. It covers how much flight attendants make at different points in their careers as well as the factors that go into how much they are paid.
Extra time off
As you may have noticed, flight attendants can find themselves with more free time than most depending on the number of shifts they have in a given month. For many, this is a great opportunity to have another part-time job or small business they run on the side.
This flexibility is yet another benefit of being a flight attendant that most other jobs won’t allow.
As you can see, the life and schedule of a flight attendant is very different from most professions. If you consider yourself to be adventurous and don’t mind the uncertainty and non-standard hours, being a flight attendant might be a great career move for you. It comes with a lot of flexibility and there are many perks. You just have to be willing to work some odd hours.