What are some of the pros and cons to being a Flight Attendant?
It’s really a matter of perspective. If you’re a homebody or need to be near your family, this might not be the life for you, and that’s ok! Members of the CommutAir family shared some considerations — read it here!
Can I pick my base?
Our bases are located in Newark, New Jersey and Dulles (D.C. area), Virginia. We cannot promise that you will be based in the city of your choosing, however, we try to accommodate your request as best we can in conjunction with operational needs. If you are based in Newark but want to be in Dulles (or vice versa), you can submit a transfer request.
Do I need to live on base?
You do not need to live on base. Flight Attendants can live anywhere in the world, provided they can get to base for the start of their shift. CommutAir pays for parking.
Commuting By Plane: You can commute by plane for free on United, however, you will fly STANDBY. This means you are NOT GUARANTEED a seat and risk being late for your shift. After 6 months with CommutAir, you are eligible to pay a small fee for standby on other airlines.
Flying standby can work really well, as long as you give yourself extra time. You’ll have to plan ahead — usually this means arriving the night before. You will be responsible for your own lodging before and after your trips, either at a hotel, apartment, or crashpad. For this reason, many flight attendants rent shared housing near base to cut down on expense.
What do Flight Attendants make?
There are two ways for a Flight Attendant to be paid: Flight Hour vs. Duty Hour. Flight Hour is from the moment the aircraft door closes to the moment it opens. Duty hour is when your assigned shift starts until your last flight of the day is complete, or your assigned reserve shift ends.
You are also paid a minimum monthly guarantee of 75 hours, whether you fly 20 hours, 37.6 hours, or 74.5. You are GUARANTEED pay for 75 hours.
You can fly MORE than 75 hours, and will then be paid more.
- First 90 days: $18.50/hour
- 91 days – 1 year: $19.50/hour
- After 1 year: $20.50/hour
What is the per diem? You will also be paid a per diem for meals and expenses at $1.75/hour for each hour of your shift, paid on a tax-free basis.
Am I paid during training? Yes! You will be paid during ground training.
Is there holiday pay? Yes! You will be paid extra for holidays you work, per the union agreement.
What will my schedule be?
Paid ground training is held at our training center in Dulles, Virginia. It is 3 weeks long, followed by ~1 week of IOE (initial operating experience). You are not permitted to go home throughout the duration of training.
You will be given a reserve schedule. Your assigned reserve shift will be posted at 6pm the evening before your next day report time. When you’re on reserve, you’re essentially on call, based on operational needs. Airport Standby is an 8-hour shift at the airport. You must clock in at the crew room and if called, you have 20 minutes to report to the plane. CommutAir Flight Attendants also have Short Call — which means they must stay within the airport vicinity for 12 hours. If called, you have 2 hours to report to the plane (not to the airport, but to the aircraft itself).
When you have some seniority, you become a “line holder.” That means you have more control over your schedule and can bid for days and weeks you want to work each month. The more seniority you have, the more you can dictate your schedule.
Flight Attendants bid for their monthly schedule and selections are made based on seniority and operational need.
Will I work holidays/nights/weekends?
The airline industry is 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and being a flight attendant is NOT your typical 9 – 5 job. Some shifts are as long as 16 hours! You may be scheduled early mornings, late nights, and holidays. Remember, you’ll have a minimum of 11 days off each month. Once you’ve built some seniority, you’ll be able to bid for desirable schedules.
Are there physical restrictions?
CommutAir flies the Embraer XR, seating 50 passengers. Per the FAA, there is only 1 flight attendant on each flight, so all flight attendants must be comfortable working independently. Due to the compact size of the aircraft, flight attendants between 5-foot and 5-foot 10-inches operate most successfully in the cabin.
COMMUTAIR IS NOW HIRING. Click here if you’re ready to see your career take off as a Flight Attendant!
- Is the Flight Attendant Lifestyle for You? Pros and Cons Are a Matter of Perspective
- Learn the Lingo: General Aviation Terminology
- Flight Crews Become Like Family
- [VIDEO] How Does Bidding Work?
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