American Airlines Flight Attendant Careers
Are you looking into a career as a flight attendant at American Airlines? I’ve been researching Airline requirements, training, pay, and experience for my upcoming book. In this video, I’m going to share with you the surprising things I’ve learned about American Airlines Flight Attendant Jobs!
One of the big decisions a potential flight attendant has to make is which airline should I apply to? There are so many things to consider, and this video is going to give you the crucial information you need on American Airlines.
I’m going to be doing videos like this on every major airline in the United States, so please come back each week and learn about each US Based airline.
About American Airlines
American Airlines has been a major leader in the aviation field since its founding in 1930, and along the way has merged and bought out many of its competitors. Notably, TWA in 2001 and US Airways in 2013. American Airlines today is the largest airline in the world and employs over 25,000 flight attendants!
American Airlines contracts with multiple regional airlines to run smaller routes under the American Eagle umbrella. While American Eagle has a recognizable logo, it’s not actually an airline, but an airline “brand” – a way to identify the smaller regional airlines with the big-name company. More about this will be covered in other videos about the individual regional carriers themselves:
- Envoy Air
- SkyWest Airlines
- PSA Airlines
- Air Wisconsin
- Trans States Airlines
- Republic Airline
- Piedmont Airlines
- Mesa Airlines
- Compass Airlines
American Airlines Flight Attendant Experience
American Airlines is truly an international company. American Airlines flies to 96 domestic destinations and 95 international destinations in 55 countries. (Good luck memorizing all of those airport city codes!) They offer the most sophisticated and modern first-class experiences, various business class cabins, and multiple levels of standard class known as main cabin. As a flight attendant, you could be serving hot gourmet meals all the way down to prepackaged snacks and sandwiches.
American Airlines is a mainline carrier, which means it is one of the largest airline companies in terms of money generated and people flown. Your starting pay will be as of 2017 $25.16 per hour. With a minimum hour guarantee of 75 hours per month and a per diem of $2.15 per hour, the expected monthly take home pay will most likely be a little under $2000 a month. However, with yearly raises the same flight attendant can easily make three times that amount after 15 years. You just have to pay your dues, and earn that seniority! In addition, you are welcome to pick up extra trips, so your full income potential is in your own hands.
Although a flight attendant can fly to any of American’s destinations, his or her crew base is where all of a flight attendant’s trips will start and end. As a Junior flight attendant, you will have little say in what base you are assigned. As you gain seniority, you’ll be able to bid to be transferred to the base of your choice.
American Airlines has crew bases at:
- Boston, MA;
- Charlotte, NC;
- Chicago, IL;
- Dallas/Ft Worth, TX;
- Los Angeles, CA;
- Miami, FL;
- New York, NY;
- Philadelphia, PA;
- Phoenix, AZ;
- Raleigh/Durham, NC;
- San Francisco, CA;
- St Louis, MO;
- Washington, DC
American Airlines offers the usual benefits available from a mainline carrier:
Health, Dental & Vision
Life & Disability
401k, Employee stock purchase
Free flying for the flight attendant, immediate family and eligible friends!
Plus many other perks too numerous to list here.
American Airlines Flight Attendant Training
For the first 12 months out of flight attendant training, you will be considered a reserve flight attendant at American Airlines. That means you will not know where you are flying until the last minute. You will only know what days you are “on call” and what days you have off.
On your reserve days, you must be ready at any moment to get that call and be at the airport within 2 hours.
After one year of straight reserve, for the nest 3 years you will serve reserve every other month (6 months a year). After 3 years from your first reserve month, you serve reserve every 4th month (3 times a year). You will be on this rotation until your seniority can hold off of reserve. If you do not live locally, that means you have to figure out where you will “crash” nearby the airport while waiting to find out your schedule. New flight attendants at American Airlines can expect to be in the reserve system until they earn enough seniority to bid a “line” – or a set schedule of trips, locations, crew teams, and days off. The amount of time you work as a reserve can vary, but it would be safe if you just assume you will be working the uncertain yet exciting life of reserve flight attendant on rotation for at least 5 years, and likely many more.
As with most airlines, American Airlines provides free training to their flight attendants at their headquarters in Dallas/Forth Worth, Texas. The training program is 6 1/2 weeks long. Only after graduation from the program do candidates receive an official job offer. During the training program, candidates receive classroom instruction that includes open discussion of the customer service philosophy of American Airlines, aircraft familiarization, in-flight services and emergency procedures. The classes instruct potential attendants on aircraft boarding, beverage service and how to maintain a calm, friendly and caring atmosphere in the cabin. Candidates also have the opportunity for hands-on training in the aircraft simulators.
Training is not paid. REPEAT, training is NOT PAID at all so you will be going about 2 months without income. But you are given free flight transportation, accommodations and meals for the duration of the training program. American Airlines also recommends that candidates have at least $1,500 available for incidental expenses incurred during the program and for relocation to their base assignment.
American Airlines Flight Attendant Requirements
What do qualifications do you need to be an American Airlines flight attendant?
- Must be at least 20 years of age
- Must have the right to work in the United States
- Prior airline experience is not required
- High school diploma or GED equivalent is required
- College education or two years’ customer service experience preferred
- Must be in possession of a valid US or Foreign Passport with applicable VISAs
- Must possess the legal right to travel unrestricted to/from all countries that are served by American Airlines
- Must be able to read, write and speak English fluently
What are they looking for during the recruitment process?
- Competent in handling difficult situations, problem solving and complaint resolution
- Excellent communication and interpersonal skills; friendly reception of all customers
- Must present a professional image, may not have visible tattoos, facial, multiple or upper ear piercing, or extreme hair color or style while in Flight Attendant Uniform
- Work in climates and locations across the globe and work variable shifts
- Ability to push or pull moveable carts weighing in excess of 250 pounds
- Ability to lift objects up to 35 pounds such as galley stowage bins and carry-on baggage
- Able to attend up to 6 1/2 weeks of unpaid training in Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas, and move immediately to the city to which you are assigned as a base
To apply with American Airlines, just go to their website and click on “careers.” Look for the Flight Attendants link. They open the applicants to all English speakers maybe once, maybe twice a year. They also have openings for specific bilingual positions so keep an eye out if you speak more than one language fluently. I have linked this site below! Once the job window is open, you will submit a resume and application, and then experience a series of interviews, first on the phone or via recorded video, then a group interview, and finally a solo interview. It is a long, intense and competitive process, often taking more than a year from submitting your application to your first day on the job
Fasten those seatbelts, get yourself in the upright position, and get ready to take off in your new Flight Attendant career with American Airlines!
Helpful links for American Airlines Flight Attendant Hopefuls:
Full Flight Attendant Union Contract with American Airlines:
To search current Flight Attendant openings at American Airlines:
Some helpful resources for researching what other Flight Attendants have to share about applying and working for American Airlines: