As expected, this is also one of my top 10 questions that I am often being asked. A high or low salary definition differs from everyone depending on your background. For example, a couple of thousands may be high for a fresh 18 year old crew and not so high or even a pay cut for those that join say from a manager/supervisory post. For me, it’s is definitely high as my first crew job was right out of university.
So back to the title. How much can you earn as a crew? It of course depends on which and also what sort of airline you apply for whether it is private jet, full service airline or low cost airline. Well I am not going to talk to you about the difference between them as it will take an entire post to do so. Maybe next time.
First of all, it is important to know the difference between gross and nett pay. A gross pay simply means that the total salary you will get before your deduction/expenses such as tax, provident fund, transportation, food, laundry, accommodation and etc etc. As for nett pay, it is the salary that you will get after you take your gross income minus your expenses. Hence, gross pay – expenses = nett pay.
Some airlines pay you certain allowance like transportation and laundry while others, you have that perks for free usually from full service carriers. As for the case of most of the low cost airlines, as the name suggest, you will not be provided with that benefits as they have already factor those in your salary.
Of all the expenses listed above, accommodation takes up the most out of your salary. I saw a full service carrier listed their cabin crew salary as MYR9000/USD3000 per month. Well, that will not be your nett income as you still have to pay for your expenses. An average room in HDB cost SGD700/USD578 per month and that is already almost 19% of your saIary. In Emirates where I flew last time and most Middle Eastern airlines, you are provided with free furnish accommodation, transport and laundry and best of all, tax free salary. So whatever you earn is your nett and take home pay.
Why do they pay more you may ask? Well generally they are further away, which is perceived as a higher sacrifice since most of you will have to leave your friends and family back home to work there.
Next is food. If you work for a full service carrier, you will have free crew meals and drinks so your food is taken care of when you fly and work. As for low cost carrier, normally you will not be provided with food and if you factor in the number of days you fly in month, the food cost can be a substantial amount.
As for transportation, you have to pay for your own taxi , petrol, toll, car maintenance and etc etc. It is very hard to car pool among crew as everyone have different roster and work timing. But most of all with free transportation, if you are stuck in a traffic jam, you can blame the company transport while if you are on your own, you better find a good explanation to answer to your crew manager. Just kidding. Of course as a crew, I am not encouraging you to be late but you must be smart enough to factor in unavoidable stuff like traffic jam to be on time for work.
If you work for an airline which has nightstop/layover, you will get extra allowance to cover your expenses when you are there. For me,when I fly to say, London, I will just go to chinatown and grab those takeaways and pocket the rest of my allowance. Sometimes I do splurge of course ( we have to enjoy life a bit after working so hard ) . If you fancy fine dining with expensive wines, expect to pay more with your own money. So as you can see, it depends entirely on yourself whether you want to save or spend the allowance.
The highest record I ever heard off was from this Thai cabin crew, she manage to save a whooping half a million (in ringgit terms) in less than 10 years flying. Really salute her and last I heard about her, she has open her own beauty saloon in Bangkok and not flying anymore.Basically what she does is not to touch her basic and flying pay and only use her overseas allowance.
As a crew also,depending on the company performance, you will be paid an annual bonus. On top of that,with certain airline, you get commission for selling duty free stuff/ merchandises.
So to know how much you can earn as a crew, you better ask yourself what kind of airline that you want to apply for. As I have written before, those who fail many times keep wondering why those who have already got the job, why are they resigning or can’t wait to join other airline? Base on my experience, money is always the main factor. Read Things to ponder upon before you join any airline and you will know what I mean