Southwest Airlines is currently the 3rd largest airline in the United States based on passengers transported. If you’re thinking about becoming a flight attendant, Southwest is considered one of the best airlines you can work for. You should definitely consider applying for a job with them.
This guide will give you some background on Southwest airlines, their salary, schedule, hubs, and other needed information to become a flight attendant for them. This article will also show you how to become a flight attendant for Southwest Airlines.
Southwest is one of America’s largest airlines. As of 2020, they operate a fleet of over 750 aircraft. They currently have over 60,000 employees working for them including over 16,000 flight attendants. Their headquarters is in Dallas, Texas and they began operations in 1967.
Southwest Airlines have been in business for over 50 years and currently has annual revenues exceeding $21 billion annually.
How to Become a Flight Attendant with Southwest Airlines
In order to become a flight attendant with Southwest airlines, you’ll first have to meet the basic requirements of a flight attendant. Although some of the requirements are set by the FAA for all flight attendants, there are also some that are specific to Southwest Airlines.
Here is a list of the requirements for Southwest Airlines:
- Age: Must be 20 years of age or older
- Must be fluent in English
- Able to lift 50 pounds as well as stand, kneel, lift and reach
- High school diploma or GED
- The ability to legally work in the United States
- Ability to fly both domestic and international routes
- Flexible schedule (flights are 24/7/365)
- Ability to pass a background check and drug test
- Vision correctable to 20/40
- Meet physical requirements of the job (reach overhead bins, stand for long periods of time, etc)
Although these are the requirements to be considered, Southwest considers the best candidates to also have these qualifications:
- Previous aviation industry experience
- Additional education beyond high school
- 1 year or more experience working in customer service or guest care
If you meet these requirements, you should go ahead and submit an application on their employment website found here.
If this is your first time attempting to be hired as a flight attendant, you will want to approach the application process a little differently that someone with previous experience.
We have an entire guide to help you become a flight attendant with no experience here.
Southwest Airlines Flight Attendant Salary
Southwest Airlines pays their flight attendants a comparable rate to other large airlines in the industry.
The pay range for new flight attendants at Southwest is an average of $29/hour (according to Glassdoor) and $32 /hour according to Payscale. These rates are based on reports from existing flight attendants.
As you gain more experience as a flight attendant, you can expect to make more money. Experienced flight attendants with more than 5 years of experience will average over $38/hour.
A flight attendant at Southwest with more than 10 years of experience can expect to make as much as $60/hour.
Southwest also pays their flight attendant supervisors well. They report average earnings in the rage of $115-$125 annually.
Southwest takes their customer service seriously so it’s no surprise that they are willing to pay well for someone who can supervise flight attendants and make sure they are providing passengers with a great experience.
Bonuses, Commission, and Profit Sharing
Southwest flight attendants are also able to earn additional money on top of their standard hourly rate.
These additional sources of income depend on individual performance, seniority, the airlines profitability, and other factors.
This additional pay can include bonuses and profit sharing. We’ve seen examples of these payouts being as little as $800 per year and as much as $10,000. For more information on this opportunity for additional pay, you should make sure to talk to HR while in the hiring process.
Southwest Airlines Flight Attendant Training Program
Southwest offers training at their headquarters in Dallas, Texas for all new flight attendants.
The training program is 4 weeks long and includes you being able to stay at a hotel they pay for. In addition, they provide a food stipend to help cover expenses of being away from home for the training period.
Southwest’s training program is 4 weeks long and includes a variety of topics to master. This includes customer service, passenger safety, aircraft specific training, Southwest’s culture, plus more.
Is Southwest’s Flight Attendant Training Program Paid?
No, Southwest does not pay flight attendants during their 4 week training program. However, upon graduation of the program new flight attendants are paid a bonus of $1200.
Southwest Airlines Hubs & Home Bases
Southwest does not operate using the traditional hub an spoke system that other airlines currently use. Instead, they have operating bases in the following cities:
- Chicago – Midway
- Dallas – Love
- Houston – Hobby
- Las Vegas
- Los Angeles
- Phoenix – Sky Harbor
As a flight attendant working for Southwest Airlines, you will be based out of one of these operating bases.
Southwest Flight Attendant Schedule
The quantity of flights and which flights you are assigned is based on seniority. When first starting out, you can expect to have to take less popular shift until you gain more seniority.
New flight attendants at Southwest can expect to spend over 10o nights per year away from home (sleeping in a hotel room).
After you finish training and begin your career, you’ll likely have to take whatever shifts are available. This will include flights on weekend, evenings, and holidays. Typically, new flight attendants will get 72-80 hours of flight time per month as a new flight attendant.
There isn’t a specific number of flights or hours you will work, and you are free to pick up other shifts that are open. You are also able to take shifts assigned to other flight attendants if they are unable to fill these shifts.
As you gain more seniority yo’ll be able to have a more flexible selection of desirable flights. Experienced flight attendants not only earn more money, but can put together a schedule that works best for them.
For more detailed info on how flight attendant schedules work, see our guide on it here: Flight Attendant Schedules
Is Southwest a Great Place to Work?
Southwest is known in the aviation industry to be one of the best places to work. Popular job sites let employees rate their experience being a flight attendant at Southwest. I’ve put together some of these scores for you. Here are the average scores for a few of the biggest airlines including Southwest.
- Southwest Airlines 4.3/5.0
- Delta Airlines – 4.1/5.0
- United Airlines – 4.0/5.0
- Southwest Airlines – 4.3/5.0
- American Airlines – 4.0/5.0
- Jet Blue – 4.1/5.0
Glassdoor has also listed Southwest airlines as one of the best places to work for 10 years in a row. That, along with their employee scores make it clear that it really is a great place to work. Feel free to read through that article here.
How to Apply
According to Southwest Airlines themselves, the best place to apply is directly on their website. You can view positions and apply directly on their jobs site here
Southwest Airlines is one of the largest airlines in America and have a reputation as a great place to work and begin your career as a flight attendant. They have several operational bases located in various parts of the country which hopefully makes finding one near you easy and convenient. They offer great pay, competitive benefits, advancement opportunities, and free training (that includes a bonus when you finish!)