Is It Possible To Become A Part-Time Flight Attendant As A Side Hustle?

In today's volatile economy, side hustles have become the norm. In fact, 39% of working Americans have some kind of side hustle. Unique gigs, from pet-sitting to Uber driving, are all coming into the spotlight. One role that many find intriguing is that of the flight attendant. Exploring the world, meeting new people, experiencing different cultures on international layovers, all while getting paid — doesn't sound too bad as a side hustle, especially for travel lovers. But is it feasible to pursue this sky-high job on a part-time basis?

Before considering the flight attendant role as a side hustle, it's essential to understand what the job entails. Flight attendants are responsible for ensuring the safety and comfort of passengers aboard — their main job is to literally save people's lives in the event of an emergency. Other duties include demonstrating safety procedures, serving meals and drinks, and providing customer service. It's a role that requires excellent communication skills, a high level of responsibility, and the ability to remain calm under pressure.

The aviation industry is traditionally known for its demanding training programs, rigid schedules, and strict contracts. However, opportunities have started to emerge across certain airlines, such as Breeze Airways, to allow for more relaxed, part-time hours as a flight attendant. These positions are not nearly as widespread as full-time roles, but they do exist. The best way to get a part-time flight attendant job from the start is to only apply to airlines that offer part-time positions.

Hours, job requirements, and training

Part-time flight attendants typically work on a reduced schedule, which can vary from one airline to another. Some might operate on a half-month or alternating schedule, while others may have more flexible arrangements based on the airline's needs and the attendant's availability. Full-time flight attendants fly around 70 hours per month. Part-time attendants, a minimum of 37.5 to 40 hours.

Regardless of the work schedule, the requirements to become a flight attendant remain stringent. Candidates must be at least 18 or 21 years old, have a high school diploma, and possess the right to work in the country where the airline is based. Some airlines require a minimum height or proficiency in another language. Airlines also often look for candidates with at least one or two years of customer service experience.

Training for part-time flight attendants is just as rigorous as for their full-time counterparts. Airlines conduct training programs that last several weeks (or months), covering emergency procedures, first aid, customer service, and the specifics of the aircraft they will be working on. Passing this training is a prerequisite to taking to the skies.

Seniority (one of the reasons this TikToker despised being a flight attendant) is a major determining factor in this career. New flight attendants are generally expected to fly at least 70 hours per month, as the more favorable low-time schedules are allotted to flight attendants with seniority. This leaves newer attendants with little wiggle room for part-time work unless they're lucky.

Part-time flight attendant: salary and reality

How much could you actually make side hustling as a part-time flight attendant? Attendants are paid for flight hours (time spent "in the sky," which doesn't include boarding or deplaning) and per diems (hourly rates to help cover layover expenses). The monthly amount ranges between $1,000 and $3,000, depending on the airline, seniority, and the number and type of flights worked.

It's also crucial to consider the non-financial realities of the job. The erratic hours and potential for last-minute schedule changes can make it challenging to juggle with another job or personal responsibilities. The initial phase of your career will likely require you to be on reserve, where you must be available to work on short notice, further complicating that work-life balance.

Additionally, the job involves spending a significant amount of time away from home, staying in different cities or countries, which can be both a perk and a drawback, depending on your situation. Becoming a part-time flight attendant as a side hustle is possible, but it comes with some challenges.

With all that said, the job outlook for flight attendants looks good. Demand is projected to grow by 11% over the next 10 years, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. For those who are passionate about aviation, can navigate the logistical hurdles, and are ready to save lives and deliver the best customer service, the role of a part-time flight attendant can give literal wings to earn income while experiencing the world from a different vantage point.