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Revealed: How Much Southwest Airlines Flight Attendants Will Earn if They Vote in Favor of New Contract

Revealed: How Much Southwest Airlines Flight Attendants Will Earn if They Vote in Favor of New Contract

a blue airplane in the air

The proposed pay rates for Southwest Airlines flight attendants in a new tentative agreement have been leaked ahead of the official publication on March 25.

Southwest Airlines and the TWU 556 union which represents crew members at the Dallas-based carrier announced on Tuesday that they had reached an agreement on a new contract which will soon go to flight attendants to vote on.

Southwest’s own flight attendants aren’t due to set sights on the proposed contract until Monday ahead of the ballot opening, but the new pay rates have already been leaked on social media by several sources, including reliable aviation insider XJonNYC on X.

Under the terms of the tentative agreement, Southwest’s flight attendants will receive an initial pay rise of 22.325% on May 1, followed by 3% pay rises for the following three years up to and including May 1, 2027.

The revised pay increase is slightly higher than the initial 20% pay rise proposed in the first tentative agreement in October 2024 and is also one year shorter, meaning the flight attendant will be able to resume contract negotiations sooner.

The starting pay rate for a new hire flight attendant is $25.14, although this isn’t an hourly rate as Southwest inflight crew members are paid under a ‘Trips for Pay’ system. One TFP is equivalent to flying a certain distance, which is around 243 miles or 55 minutes of flight time.

To calculate a rough hourly pay rate under the TFP system, you have to divide the pay rate by 55 minutes to calculate the rate per minute and then convert that to an hourly rate.

Therefore, the new hire pay rate is closer to $33.55 per hour which is very close to what American Airlines has proposed for new flight attendants as part of its economic proposal.

And the rough hourly pay rate for Southwest’s most senior flight attendants would rise to $84.42 in the first year, which is around $8 more than what American Airlines is currently offering its veteran crew members.

The full table is below.

What we don’t know from this leaked document, however, is what other changes Southwest is making to work rules. There were a number of issues included in October’s tentative agreement that proved particularly unpopular with grassroots flight attendants.

The last tentative agreement was rejected by 64% of flight attendants, although there is now internal murmurings that Southwest is very keen to close the deal with flight attendants.

Pay rateCurrentMay 1, 2024May 1, 2025May 1, 2026May 1, 2027
1st 6 months$25.14$30.75$31.67$32.62$33.60
2nd 6 months$25.46$31.14$32.07$33.03$34.02
Step 1$27.91$34.14$35.16$36.21$37.30
Step 2$29.93$36.61$37.71$38.84$40.01
Step 3$32.37$39.60$40.79$42.01$43.27
Step 4$35.01$42.83$44.11$45.43$46.79
Step 5$39.92$48.83$50.20$51.80$53.35
Step 6$42.19$51.61$53.16$54.75$56.39
Step 7$44.34$54.24$55.87$57.55$59.28
Step 8$46.98$57.47$59.19$60.97$62.80
Step 9$49.73$60.83$62.65$64.53$66.47
Step 10$52.26$63.93$65.85$67.83$69.86
Step 11$55.95$68.44$70.49$72.60$74.78
Step 12$59.84$73.20$75.40$77.66$79.99
Step 13$63.30$77.43$79.75$82.14$84.60

What do you think of Southwest’s new flight attendant pay rates?

View Comments (21)
  • Hopefully they hold out for more. This proposal barely keeps up with inflation and doesn’t even appear to include retro pay for all of the years without a raise. Why should the flight attendants not get a raise but other workgroups do?

    • Right Tom , How do they live off of less the 85,000 a year when management makes 7,500,000 wowza I hope they hold out . That explains why stocks are low . Poor management choices. Yikes

  • What everyone misses on the pay scale is that we only get .74 of the pay rate. We only get that rate when the doors are closed and the breaks are released. When we have ground time and passengers board or waiting for the next flight attendants to board we are not paid. That’s how they average .74 of our pay. For every 60 hours away from base we work upto 22 hours and credited 19.5 hours at our pay rate, with a block of 15. The 15 is door closed and breaks released plus a little.
    The payrate is not a true statement of what we make. Most Flight Attendants under 4 years make less than minimum wage per paycheck.

    • FA’s should be compensated from the time the report for duty until released! FA’s are not properly compensated for delays, performance reviews, random drug testing, boarding and deplaning, helping passengers put their carryons in the overhead bin etc, cleaning the interior of the plane after each flight leg, FAs have to report for duty hour before boarding and are not paid!!! What job in America is it ok to have employees working without minimum wage compensation?!!! Let’s not forget how dangerous a job this really is and the toll it takes on your body. Newer FAs have to work an unhealthy amount of hours just to barely make ends meet.

    • I will never understand this. I worked for a major European carrier and we were SALARIED!!! We had a minimum number of flight hours (but it was up to them to give them to us – but they did), and after that we were paid overtime per hour, which was an awesome rate. The hours, however, also only started counting after “off blocks”. But when you have a guaranteed salary that increases every year or so, then that part really doesn’t matter. And our maximum monthly FLIGHT hours were also way less than what some American FA’s fly on a regular basis. For us that really only happened during the summer.

  • Compared to my engineering salary that’s a lot of money for a trolley dolly! Good grief… Plus the travel perks.
    80 bucks an hour for a senior flight attendant? Yikes. Super pay for not aa lot of effort.

    • Hi John it’s unfortunate that you look at us flight attendants as trolley dolls. We also have peoples lives in our hands! Jus to name a few things! Emergency evacuations(remember the Hudson river),also medical issues,saving lives utilizing CPR, AED & some have even had to assist with baby deliveries in the air, some of us have been assaulted, have to live with trauma of losing passengers on board because they couldn’t be saved. Our training is very intensed & full of knowledge on sooooo many things passengers would never even believe to think of. We spend probably one hour or less in training on serving drinks & then we are off to the field praying that the serious things that we learned about doesnt happen during flight and we could just be a “Trolley Doll” that sounds carefree. Hopefully this enlightens you the next time you think to refer to us as such. Good day!

    • Keep in mind that flight crews are paid those hourly rates ONLY for flight time (unless the airline has “duty rigs”) and that is normally calculated from the time the door is closed/brakes released to brakes set/door open. The duty day (from time to report – hour+ ahead of departure – to time released to leave) is normally 10-12 hours for domestic flight attendants. For some airlines, the daily average is around 5-6 hours of flight pay. Due to FAA and contract regulations, flight attendants are scheduled around 65-85 hours/month. But they can be putting in 40 hours of duty per week or 120+ hours/month.

    • Best to keep your uneducated opinion to yourself. If you don’t understand the true breakdown of how a flight attendant is paid vs. the work that they do, you really shouldn’t comment.

    • That’s not like your 9-5. I sit at an airport up to 16 hours a day and in most cases am only paid for 5 hours. Divide that 80 by 16 hours and you get about $25 an hour. The most I can work in a month is roughly 140 hours due to legality, FAA rules and flight schedules. That’s working 27 days with only 4 days off a month. Duty day is atleast 10 hours a day. So I have up 270 hours of my month, half of which not being paid. Breaks down to 41 dollars an hour. Now tell me again how amazing that’s sounds… would you like to trade in your cushy engineer job for that? Only 4 days off a month to make a livable wage? There are no travel perks when flights are over sold nowadays.

  • Wow they should be at what 2027 makes how does one live off of anything less then 85,000 a year . Don’t their ceos make like 7,500,000 . Why doesn’t their employees get bonuses like their management gets . These ceos hoard the money for themselves greedy .

  • What absolutely astonishes me is how so many people including flight attendants fail to recognize basic economic principles. There are zero barriers to entry and almost no professional experience required to become a flight attendant. Supply far out weighs demand. Always will. It is a low skill profession that makes them easily replaceable. This shouldn’t hurt your feelings it’s just the truth. If you had an phd in astrophysics you wouldn’t be a flight attendant and would make more money. All major airlines look at flight attendants this way. If you’re easily replaceable you will never make a “living wage”. The goal of this profession is not to provide a living wage. The best way to actually asses this contract is to compare to your peers at the other major airlines, that is called the market, and it sounds like you will be making more money than them. They have similar experience and skill level to you and the broader economic market has determined that that is what your skills are worth. Basic capitalism. If you don’t like it and feel angry, use that anger to motivate you to either move to a socialist country like Venezuela or go take an economic class at your local community college, get a degree, better yourself, and make a “living wage”. 10 years from now when you have actualized your goals and feel successful you can write a similar comment and tell people to be thankful to their former employers for the opportunity and stepping stone they provided you.

    • Ummmm, most flight attendants have degrees already. Also it isn’t a low skilled job at all. The training is no joke. I personally didn’t have to study because I just retain things easily but most were putting in hours upon hours after 10hours in class to study. SOOO much to learn and they really don’t cover service at all at most airlines without first class. When people say the things you do it just makes me think that person isn’t happy and instead looks down on others.

  • Hold out and go to Arbitration. That will totally work out for flight attendants NOT. GREED will bite you in the butt. Arbitrators look at the “fair market value”. Your wages are based on what your peers are making at other carriers, not what your CEO is making.

    Flight crews have been paid the same way since before time. You knew this when you got hired. You either want the job or you find another. THE END

    Your airline has stopped growth for the foreseeable future. Let’s stop being greedy and unreasonable. The world has enough of this.

    Why isn’t anybody telling people how much you work. 12 days a month is what you are scheduled. But you can work more to make ends meet or less if you don’t need money. They still pay you vacation and you get free health care even if you haven’t stepped foot on an aircraft in 20 yrs.

    When your co workers got those WARN letters during the pandemic you were much more appreciative and thankful. Your greed is no better than corporate greed. It’s hard to feel sorry for someone that makes 88$ an hour and has the ability to work more.

    • You absolutely do NOT get free healthcare even if you haven’t worked. You still have to pay your premiums if you’re on a premium based plan.

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