Yes, it is a great opportunity, and you get to see the world (and get paid for it too!).
Aside from your time…
What Are You Really Spending?
A base salary rate (including flying pay) for an economy class Cabin Crew* is approximately 9000dhs per month on average. This is around £1700 a month. This doesn’t sound like much, but it should be enough to survive if you work for an airline such as Emirates or Etihad, or even Qatar.
In my experience, these airlines have accommodation facilities that are fully paid for. Your rent, dry cleaning, uniform, transport (by company bus), electricity, water and gas are covered. All you have to pay for is your living expenses such as food, phone/internet bills, and going out.
It is important to remember that this wage fluctuates with flying hours and the amount of Ultra Long Haul flights that you operate per month. Many of my colleagues came from countries that had less stable economies, and earned so much money in comparison to their roles at home that they were sending money home to their families!
This, however, was not the case for me. I was getting paid far more in my comfortable-yet- characterless office job back home. I didn’t want to become Cabin Crew for the money, and that is a good thing because I wasn’t the most responsible saver. Most crew go through a “honeymoon” period where the first couple of years are spent mostly out with your new friends. Out at the shops, out at bars, out at layovers and out of the country on days off when your probationary period ends. This is where most of my money went – and saving for holidays and staff travel and spending it all…then starting again!
On top of your base pay comes your Layover Allowances. This is money, given to crew in an envelope of the local currency (everywhere except Nigeria where you are given US Dollars, because the economy is so unstable that the money cannot leave the country due to safety reasons, but that’s another story for another day!).
This money is calculated by how much it approximately costs to eat however many meals you are in the country for. For example, the Perth flight that I regularly flew had an allowance of approximately £60. This was aimed to cover 1 x dinner, 1 x lunch, 1 x breakfast and 1 x supper/snack. Crew don’t have to use this money for food, you can save it and eat cup noodles, you can spend it at the shops or sight seeing or you can eat it all! The company doesn’t check up on this – you just use it as you please.
How best to survive…
Make the most of what is given to you and save every thing that you can without compromising your health or mental wellbeing. By mental wellbeing, I mean home sickness! Sightseeing is a great way to combat the blues and make friends with your fellow crew members to ensure you have a happy and smooth flight back to base with them. Often crew are on 5-10 day trips away from base and that can be a lonely time if you don’t bond with those around you.
I hope this has been helpful and insightful – make the most of what you have and try to leave your Cabin Crew role eventually with more money than you came with, not less!
*Please note: Business Class, First Class Crew and Promotions Team members are paid at different rates/ on different schemes.