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Aviation Blog

What Do VIP Flight Attendants Earn? – Simple Flying

Fancy aircraft, fancy salary?
A VIP flight attendant or corporate flight attendant is a crew member that works on a private jet. This may be for a private owner, charter company or a business. On many of the popular brands of private jets, you will be the sole crew member in the cabin, which can make it hard work. Also, working on a private jet, there are many other duties involved, such as shopping, cleaning and ordering catering.
Most VIP flight attendants come from a flight attendant background, are licensed to fly, and have completed flight attendant training. However, that is not always the case and some come from a hospitality, hotel or yacht background. The average starting salary is around $2000 per month, a little more than a normal flight attendant job. However, some charter companies in Europe have been seen to offer as low as $500 per month, which will attract inexperienced crew only.
Usually, a flight attendant will fly commercially for a few years before applying for VIP flight attendant roles and will gradually build up their experience on private jets. As soon as you have a few years on private jets, this makes you much more employable, and the salary is higher. Established VIP flight attendants can earn $4000-5000 per month and are well worth the salary due to the demanding nature of the work.
It is possible to freelance in business aviation, and some crew prefer to work in this way. It could mean that they work fewer days or just do one or two trips a month which works well for some. Freelancing does allow flexibility and the possibility of picking what trips you want rather than being rostered trips. Experienced VIP flight attendants can command up to $500 a day.
Per diems are an added-on allowance (usually paid two months behind) based on nights away from the base. This is usually a set figure of between $70-120 per night, but in Europe can drop to as low as $20 depending on the country and the company. You can estimate being away two weeks every month, so that additional allowance will add to the basic salary. Some companies do offer city-based allowances instead, based on the cost of living, which would vary hugely, say from Athens to Moscow.
Tips are quite rare and not expected, although it is very nice to receive them. Private owners do not tip the crew, it tends to be more on individual or charter flights. It's very variable, you might receive $50 on one flight or $1000 on another.
Some companies offer healthcare and life insurance, and some expect you to provide your own. You may receive paid training or none at all. In general, hotels are 4 or 5-star standard whilst away from base, and transportation costs down route are covered. The catering is VIP standard, so there will usually be some nice food to try onboard. Of course, the job offers lots of variety and interesting destinations, so sometimes it's not all about the salary.
Writer – Patricia joins Simple Flying with over 20 years of experience in aviation. She has served as cabin crew on flights from economy-class to private jets. Patricia has a master’s level postgraduate diploma in Human Factors in Aviation and has written about aviation since 2010. Based in Dubai


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