Let’s face facts – working for an airline is awesome. The travel benefits, as well as the medical benefits, are typically great. However, the pay isn’t always the best depending on the type of job you’re hoping to get and the airline you’re applying with. If you’re after the best airlines to work for, you’re in the right place!
This list of best airlines will give you a good idea of airlines with the best average salary, how the hiring process works, the different retirement plans, and ultimately which one is the best option for you.
Top Airlines to Work For
Although travel has become more accessible in recent years, it’s still not affordable for a lot of people. So the best way to save money while travelling is often through working for an airline. There’s also the option of working as a freelancer or through a remote job to live and work in a new place.
If you’re interested in being a digital nomad and working from new countries, read my blog about digital nomad visas here.
I’ve included American and global airlines so no matter where you’re from, you can find an airline to work with!
Here are the best airlines to work for in 2023 and beyond:
Best U.S. Airlines
If you’re a United States citizen or resident, these airlines will be your best bet!
Southwest Airlines offers unlimited nonrevenue, space-available travel for you and eligible dependents if you’re working for them. They also have a ProfitSharing Plan and they claim to be the first airline to offer this type of plan.
Current and past employees commented most about their 401K plan and extensive health insurance plan. The one negative was that new hires only start out with 2 weeks of PTO.
Interested in working for the world’s largest international airline? Delta is the largest airline in the world by revenue, with American Airlines taking the top spot when it comes to the number of employees.
Delta is known for having great travel perks! If you land a job with them, Delta flights will be free and you can experience amazing international destinations through their Delta Vacations perks and receive flight discounts with other airlines.
Employees have loved the many companies they receive discounts with from working with Delta but mentioned that the PTO and flexibility could be better. With that being said, Delta Airlines’ salaries are one of the best. They’re known to have one of the highest-paid positions in the world for pilots so that’s something to consider.
When compared to other airlines in the US, such as Alaska Airlines, Frontier Airlines or JetBlue Airways, there’s no comparison. Delta is ranked as one of the best places to work but it’s challenging to lock in a position with them. Since they’re competitive, you’ll have to make a great impression and wow them with your personality!
Hawaiian Airlines has had a great reputation as an airline in the US. One of their many great benefits includes 20 one-way friendship travel passes that they can give away each year. Any friend or family member can use these passes to fly on standby.
New employees commented most on the PTO being 15 days and that Hawaiian Airlines has a flexible work-from-home policy. They also love the comprehensive medical and dental packages but have expressed that the medical and dental insurance has increased exponentially each year.
Budget airlines don’t usually make the cut, however, Spirit Airlines has been known to have an inclusive company culture, offers stability for its employees and is invested in career development opportunities. They have a range of training and mentorship programs to help each member advance in their career.
Best Global Airlines
Some of the best companies to work for in the airline industry are international airlines. These airlines have a reputation for their customer service, free travel opportunities and wonderful benefits!
When it comes to employee benefits, Qatar is on it! It might be one of the best airlines to work for with competitive salaries, medical insurance and retirement plans. They also provide their employees with accommodation and transportation, which is a huge benefit for those who work far from home. They also fly to over 160 destinations worldwide, offering excellent travel benefits for those who hope to explore more of the world!
Etihad seems to have it all! From competitive employee benefits to career growth opportunities, a positive work environment, an innovative company culture and amazing travel opportunities, you can’t go wrong with working there.
This UK airline operates flights to over 200 destinations, making it one of the best airlines to work for if you’re solely after the travel perks! With discounted and free flights, you can make the most of your time off in different countries around the world. Employees also speak of it being a positive work environment with development programs to enhance skills.
Emirates is based in Dubai and known for luxurious service for all. One of the biggest benefits of working with Emirates is that they operate flights to over 150 destinations worldwide and as a team member you’ll have access to discounted and free flights. They’re also known to pay their cabin crew well and treat crew members with respect. Emirates has competitive compensation including the base salary, as well as performance-based bonuses.
If you’re based in Asia (Hong Kong specifically), Cathay Pacific might be the right choice for you. They’re seen as a positive place to work and offer competitive pay and benefits packages so that you’re taken care of.
Compared to other airlines, Air New Zealand offers a good amount of PTO each year (4 weeks) and employees speak highly about their benefits in general. From vacation to paternity/maternity leave and travel perks, Air New Zealand seems to be one of the best airlines out there.
If you’re looking for a company with a great work culture, look no further than Virgin Australia. They’re very transparent with their employees and also offer many opportunities for career growth so that you can easily work your way up the ladder. They’re also focused on sustainability and work to minimize their environmental impact through many initiatives.
Air Canada is one of the best airlines to work in if you’re from North America! It’s the largest Canadian airline and offers competitive pay and benefits to its employees. Current and past employees mention how Air Canada offers a great work environment that’s collaborative and feels inclusive. They’re also focused on tech innovation that makes work easier for their employees.
This global airline is one of the best for a few reasons. They operate in over 60 destinations around the world and offer world-class service that customers rave about. As an employee, you can count on Singapore Airlines for their strong emphasis on training and development programs. They’re also known for their track record of safety and reliability so you know you’ll be working in a good environment each day.
What airline has the highest-paid flight attendants?
Flight attendants usually don’t earn as much as you might think. However, airlines from the Middle East have historically had the highest salaries and benefits for flight attendants. So if you’re thinking about becoming a fight attendant, Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways are your best place to start looking for a job!
What airline has the highest employee satisfaction?
Although it can be tricky to measure employee satisfaction, the 2020 World Airline Awards study looked at survey responses from over 21 million airline employees (across 100 countries) and found that Qatar came out on top for its supportive work environment, career development opportunities and job satisfaction.
Singapore Airlines, Emirates and Cathay Pacific also ranked at the top of these airlines.
What airline has the highest salary?
Similarly to finding an airline with the highest-paid flight attendants, Emirates, Etihad and Qatar have been known to offer the highest salaries in the global industry. Emirates ranks considerably high with average annual pay ranging from $120,000 to $300,000 per year.
What about low-cost carriers?
Unfortunately, budget airlines don’t appear to have the most amazing benefits. When it comes to employee discounts, a high salary and offering a great travel experience, they can’t compete with major airlines.
What airlines have the best staff?
When it comes to the best airline staff, Singapore Airlines, Qatar Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Emirates often hold the top spot!
What Airline Should You Work For?
The airline industry is known to have a high turnover rate so it’s important to look at the best airlines to work for before you start applying! This year’s list has explored the top companies with the highest-paying salaries in the aviation industry. Working in air travel can be a demanding job but if you choose from some of the best employers you’re bound to have a great experience.
So what particular airline is best?
It’s hard to say because all airlines have their ups and downs. However, it seems as if Singapore Airlines, Qatar Airways and Emirates are great choices!
Before You Go..
Don’t forget about travel insurance for your next trip! I never leave home without SafetyWing in case something happens to me while I’m abroad and need medical attention. You can view their plans here.
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