Flight Attendant Reserve - What Is It & What Important Things Do You Need To Know? | Future Flight Attendant (2022)

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What Is Flight Attendant Reserve?

Contents

Flight Attendant Reserve - What Is It & What Important Things Do You Need To Know? | Future Flight Attendant (1)

Flight attendant reserve means a flight attendant who is assigned to a reserve line. A reserve line consists of days off, not a “line of flying” as a line holder who’s line has scheduled trips.

A reserve flight attendant doesn’t don’t know the trips that they will be working in advance, unlike a line holder who has a somewhat of a set schedule. (As a line holder the benefit is that you get a set schedule, but you can change it if you would like so it’s super flexible.)

A reserve flight attendant’s job is to fill in for any trips that another flight attendant may call in sick for, or a flight attendant may have timed out due to rest legalities, or any other operational needs that need to be covered.

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How Many Days Are Flight Attendants On Reserve?

Flight Attendant Reserve - What Is It & What Important Things Do You Need To Know? | Future Flight Attendant (2)

Reserve flight attendants are usually on reserve 18 to 20 days per month, but it can be even less. The more seniority a reserve accrues, the more days off they may be able to have.

Reserve flight attendants are the more junior flight attendants of the airline (newer), the more senior flight attendants are line holders, meaning they hold a line of flying and know their trips in advance.

So even though reserves are more junior flight attendants, as their seniority grows they become more senior, even on reserve.

Do Flight Attendants Get Paid When On Reserve?

Flight attendants do get paid when on reserve, but it works a little bit differently than you might expect.

As a reserve flight attendant, you will have a monthly guarantee. A monthly guarantee is the number of hours you are guaranteed to be paid.

For example, if your reserve guarantee is 78 hours per month with 12 days off, you will be paid for 78 hours even if you end up working less than 78 hours, with 12 days off.

However, if you “break your guarantee” which means you work more than 78 hours, you will get paid for the actual hours you work over the original 78 hours.

If you are awarded a schedule with more days off than 12, about 4 hours will be deducted for each additional day off. There is a difference between being on call and not being used for an assignment, and being scheduled for extra days off.

So if a reserve is on call for 20 days, but sit home without being called for five of those days, they still only have 10 days off according to their pay. Sitting at home waiting to be called doesn’t count as a day off, even if you technically don’t work.

When reserves are on call either at home, at the crashpad, or even in the airport, and they don’t get an assignment, it does not subtract from their monthly guarantee.

Some airlines add a reserve override, which is an extra dollar amount per hour for all flight attendants on reserve.

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Can Reserve Flight Attendants Pick Up Extra Trips For More Money?

Reserve flight attendant pay can be limited. So most airlines do allow reserve flight attendants to pick up extra trips to make additional money. The hours that reserve flight attendants make by picking up extra trips goes on top of the monthly guarantee.

Southwest airlines allows flight attendants to add their own money to “sweeten the pot” so that other flight attendants pick up their advertised trips. (Flight attendants can advertise trips they don’t want so they don’t have to work them.) This is a great bonus for reserve flight attendants to make extra money on their days off.

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The Reserve Flight Attendant Schedule

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Flight attendants bid monthly for their schedules, and the reserve flight attendant schedule is the same way. The difference with a reserve flight attendant schedule is that reserves bid for days off.

So when schedules are awarded, the reserve schedule will show reserve days and off days.

The reserve schedule can also have call out periods on the schedule, where there are set hours in a day when they can be contacted to work.

So that means, even if you are scheduled to be on reserve certain days, you are not on call for 24 hours.

Some reserve flight attendant schedules do have 24 hour lines, which means that scheduling can contact them anytime day or night. Those 24 hour lines can be the most difficult because you really don’t know how to sleep.

Will you be working all night? During the day? Early in the morning? Late at night? Who knows! As a reserve flight attendant you will work all kinds of crazy hours, but at least with a call out line, you know when scheduling can’t call you, so you can plan your sleep around those hours.

Standby Reserve

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A standby reserve is a reserve flight attendant who is assigned time at the airport to wait for a specific flight assignment. The reason airlines have standby reserve is so that operational changes happening last minute can quickly be covered.

In aviation, if you are on time you are late, so everyone wants to work as efficiently as possible. Standby reserve is a great system to have in place to keep everything running smoothly.

As a standby reserve there are crew lounges to hang out in so that you don’t have be out in the airport with the general public while awaiting an assignment.

Some flight attendants love standby reserve, and others don’t. If you live close to the airport it’s great because you get paid to lounge around and watch tv or go online. Not only that, but sometimes you can get the best trips last minute. Tel Aviv, Milan, Paris and Hong Kong were some of my favorite last minute standby reserve trips.

Rotating Reserve System

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A rotating reserve system is when flight attendants rotate between holding a line and being on reserve every other month, or whatever time frame is dictated by the airline.

It is nice to have a break from reserve by holding a line every other month, but I personally am not a fan of rotating reserve. I prefer to get reserve over with and then not have to see it again. There are some exceptions to that though.

Some bases are so senior that flight attendants can be on reserve for 30 years or more (this is rare for any airline that has a straight reserve system), in a situation like that rotating reserve would be the best option.

Being a flight attendant is a long game, and seniority is everything.

Straight Reserve System

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A straight reserve system is a reserve system that has reserve flight attendants who remain reserve flight attendants until they are senior enough to hold a line.

As a flight attendant who was on straight reserve for six years, I prefer the straight reserve system. The benefit of a straight reserve system is that once you are senior enough to hold a line you don’t have to go back on reserve (usually).

The aviation industry can be volatile, so you can really never say never, but if there are enough flight attendants below you in seniority, you probably won’t have to be on reserve again.

Straight reserve can be difficult because you don’t get a break from the crazy trips and hours you end up working. However, when you know that you will hold a line every month, your income is so much more stable.

For example, as a rotating reserve lets say your monthly pay guarantee is 78 hours, so every other month you get paid 78 hours, then on your line holding months, let’s say you work 120 hours. That’s a huge difference in income as opposed to holding a line every single month.

So if a rotating reserve flight attendant makes $40 an hour, on their reserve months they would make $3120 that month, and the months they hold a line, they would make $4800.

The rotating reserve loses $28,000 a year as opposed to a straight reserve system once flight attendants hold a line every month, and that’s why I don’t like rotating reserve.

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United Airlines Reserve System

United Airlines has a straight reserve system.

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As a reserve for United Airlines the minimum days off are at least 12 calendar days in a bid month with a monthly guarantee of 78 hours. However, sometimes lines may be built with up to 16 days off per month.

United does have a reserve override of $2 per hour, which makes the starting pay for a reserve flight attendant $30.88. United is currently in contract negotiations and higher pay will most likely be one of the new provisions.

United has one of the toughest reserve systems, but on the flip side it has one of the best systems for line holders.

American Airlines Reserve System

American Airlines has a rotating reserve system. For first year at American Airlines, flight attendants will be on straight reserve. The number of flight attendants required to be on reserve is dependent on operational need, so nothing is ever set in stone.

After a new AA flight attendant completes a full year of reserve duty, they move to rotating reserve. If a flight attendant at American Airlines is still on reserve after four years, the rotation becomes one month on reserve, three months off of reserve and holding a line.

American Airlines has one of the shortest call out times for reserve flight attendants at only two hours. What that means is that crew scheduling can call a reserve flight attendant and they can have as little as two hours to get to the airport to report for their assignment.

Fifty flight attendants were recently fired for not being in position at their base to report within two or three hours while on RAP. Rap is the acronym American Airlines uses for the reserve availability period.

When they are on reserve days, flight attendants need to be in position and not someplace far from the airport.

American Airlines reserve monthly guarantee is 75 hours with 12 days off. The starting pay at American Airlines is $30.35. AA is also currently in contract negotiations and a pay raise will most likely be one of the provisions.

Delta Flight Attendant Reserve System

Delta Air Lines has one of the best flight attendant reserve systems. As a more junior flight attendant you never have to work straight or rotating reserve. Delta has what is called ADAYS, and ADAYS are reserve days.

There are six ADAYS a month for flight attendants that are not senior enough to hold a line every day of the moth. Those ADAYS are the reserve days. They can be broken up into two sets of three days, or all six days can be done at once.

ADAYS can be advertised, so sometimes they will get picked up and flight attendants can hold a line all month.

The six ADAYS are worth 28 hours or the flight credit hours, whichever is greater. So if a flight attendant flies 35 hours during their ADAYS, they will be paid for 35 hours, if a flight attendant flies 10 hours during their ADAYS, they will be paid 28 hours.

Delta Air Lines has a starting pay of $30.96.

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So there you have it, flight attendant reserve, in a nutshell. The more you know the more you can be prepared for the flight attendant lifestyle.

Reserve life is different than any other job that’s for sure, and it’s the most exciting time in your career.

FAQs

What does reserve mean for flight attendants? ›

Most airlines require new-hire flight attendants to begin their career on “reserve.” These crews don't bid for a flight schedule, but instead are reserved to assist the operation in the event of crew mishaps like sick calls, day-off requests from more senior flight attendants, and any other reason the airline may need ...

What knowledge do you need to be a flight attendant? ›

Flight attendants need a high school diploma or the equivalent and work experience in customer service. Applicants must be at least 18 years old, be eligible to work in the United States, have a valid passport, and pass a background check and drug test.

How long do flight attendants stay on reserve? ›

How Many Days Are Flight Attendants On Reserve? Reserve flight attendants are usually on reserve 18 to 20 days per month, but it can be even less. The more seniority a reserve accrues, the more days off they may be able to have.

How long do you have to be on reserve as a flight attendant? ›

For the first twelve (12) months after initial training, a Flight Attendant shall be on straight Reserve; ii. If needed as a Reserve, once having completed a full year of Reserve duty, a Flight Attendant will serve Reserve on a one (1) month on/ one (1) month off Reserve rotation for a period of three (3) years; iii.

What is the most important role of a flight attendant? ›

A flight attendant's most important responsibility, however, is to help passengers in the event of an emergency. This responsibility ranges from dealing with unruly passengers to directing evacuations. Flight attendants also are trained to perform first aid, extinguish fires, and protect the flight deck.

What are the top 3 characteristics of a flight attendant? ›

If you dream of becoming a part of the best cabin crew team, you ought to have these qualities:
  • Empathetic. ...
  • Customer Service Oriented. ...
  • Be Flexible and Adaptable. ...
  • Team Coordination and Communication. ...
  • Cultural Sensitivity and Awareness. ...
  • Grace and Demeanor. ...
  • Organized and attentive to detail.

What skills are needed for flight attendant training? ›

To work as a flight attendant, you typically need to:
  • have a high school diploma or equivalent;
  • be at least 18 or 21 years old, depending on the employer;
  • complete a flight attendant training program;
  • have one to two years of related work experience; and.
  • complete moderate-term, on-the-job training.

How much do reserve flight attendants make? ›

The salary range for a Reserve Flight Attendant job is from $33,630 to $44,352 per year in the United States. Click on the filter to check out Reserve Flight Attendant job salaries by hourly, weekly, biweekly, semimonthly, monthly, and yearly.

What should I wear for flight attendant interview? ›

Conservative or traditional business attire is the preferred look for a flight attendant interview. Traditional attire is a suit or a blazer or sports coat paired with a skirt or slacks. A sleeveless or off-shoulder dress should be topped with a jacket or cardigan.

Can flight attendants choose their base? ›

Aspiring flight attendants choose their base preference during initial training, and base choices are awarded in seniority order according to availability.

How does airline Reserve work? ›

Pilots on reserve are assigned their days off for the month, and they usually have no flying on their schedules as the month starts. These pilots are required to be available by telephone on their assigned reserve days.

Can you pick up flights while on reserve? ›

A Reserve may, at her/his option, pick up flying on scheduled days off once they have been released by Crew Scheduling. not, pick up a trip that has a scheduled check-in on a Reserve day of availability even if they have been released from duty (RLSD) for the remainder of the day.

How long does it take to get a line as a flight attendant? ›

I was able to get a permanent line in about 9 months. It could also be shorter or longer depending on the amount of new hires, etc. Depends on the base and how junior it is.

What are the key responsibilities of flight attendants answer? ›

Responsibilities
  • Provide information, guidance, and assistance for safety and comfort to passengers on board aircraft.
  • Attend the “brief” and act on it.
  • Conduct safety check before flight.
  • Greet customers, check their tickets and accompany them to their seats.
  • Prepare and serve drinks and food to passengers.

What makes you a good flight attendant? ›

“There are many qualities that make someone a good flight attendant. The top three are customer service, teamwork, and professionalism. Our primary job is to make sure the passenger has a good experience. Everything you do on a flight involves at least two, if not more team members.

What is the most important skill required by a member of an airline cabin crew? ›

Customer service is probably the most important skill that a cabin crew member should have; your entire job is about ensuring that the customer is safe and happy. You must go above and beyond to make sure their journey with you was memorable and that they will return to fly again with your company.

Why do you want to be a flight attendant best answer? ›

Example: “I'm confident I will be a good flight attendant because of my people skills, professionalism, ability to remain calm during a crisis, and my focus on providing great customer experiences.

How long is flight attendant training? ›

The training program for flight attendants is usually three to six weeks. However, it may take months or even years to get into one of these programs. This is a highly competitive field, and open positions usually fill up fast.

Do I need to know how do you swim to be a flight attendant? ›

What do you need to know about the swimming test? You need to know that swimming is required and essential to be a flight attendant. You will be able to learn and practice ditching exercises and water survival skills during training but it is expected that you can swim in order to be trained to proficiency.

Is there a weight requirement to be a flight attendant? ›

Flight Attendant Weight Requirements

There aren't specific weight requirements for Flight Attendants – many airlines will check to see that the prospective Cabin Crew are in proportion, they look a healthy weight and that they will be able to fit in the Cabin Crew Uniform.

Do flight attendants get paid for reserve? ›

Are You Paid to be on Reserve? Yes, typically flight attendants are paid while scheduled to be on reserve. The amount they are paid depends on the airline they work for and the contract they've agreed to. Some airline will pay you a reduced set rate for the hours you're on reserve.

How much do reserve flight attendants make? ›

The salary range for a Reserve Flight Attendant job is from $33,630 to $44,352 per year in the United States. Click on the filter to check out Reserve Flight Attendant job salaries by hourly, weekly, biweekly, semimonthly, monthly, and yearly.

What are airline reserves? ›

Reserve pilots are called in to cover trips that are not staffed because of a sick call, family emergencies, a weather disruption, or some other reason that the original pilot can't complete the assignment.

How long are you on reserve as a flight attendant American Airlines? ›

How Long is A Reserve Shift? Reserve shifts are either 12 hours, 6 hours, or 4 hours depending on whether you serve RAP or Standby. There are four different RAP shifts at AA.

Do flight attendants get paid while away from home? ›

Some flight attendants also receive a small per diem when they're away from their home airport for work-related reasons. At United and American, that rate is $2.20 per hour for domestic flights and a little higher for international flights.

How long are flight attendants away from home? ›

They may spend several nights per week or per month away from home. In most cases, a contract between the airline and the flight attendant union determines the total daily and monthly workable hours. On-duty shifts per day may vary from 4 to 18 hours or longer, such as for international flights.

Can you pick up flights while on reserve? ›

A Reserve may, at her/his option, pick up flying on scheduled days off once they have been released by Crew Scheduling. not, pick up a trip that has a scheduled check-in on a Reserve day of availability even if they have been released from duty (RLSD) for the remainder of the day.

Do flight attendants get paid during training? ›

And as you might expect, training to become a flight attendant isn't an overnight process. AA's training program lasts around six weeks during which time trainee flight attendants won't receive a wage.

Do flight attendants have second jobs? ›

Flight attendant side hustles are not uncommon at all stages of the flight attendant career. The flight attendant job is so flexible that you can have a business or second job while you are working as a full time flight attendant.

How long does it take to get a line as a flight attendant? ›

I was able to get a permanent line in about 9 months. It could also be shorter or longer depending on the amount of new hires, etc. Depends on the base and how junior it is.

Does Reserve count as duty? ›

Therefore, a limit on the amount of time spent on short-call reserve duty is necessary. Long call reserve pilots are given relatively substantial advance notice of when they are to fly. This notice may be from 10 hours to over 24 hours.
...
FAQ – Reserve Status.
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FAQ – Consecutive Nighttime Operations.FAQ – Applicability

What is short call Reserve? ›

Short-Call Reserve (SCR):

means a period of time in which a flightcrew member is assigned to a reserve availability period.

What does long call reserve mean? ›

Typically reserves are broken down into two categories, short call and long call. Short call reserves are typically given a RAP, where long call reserves are on call 24 hours a day during the days that they are on reserve.

How hard is flight attendant training? ›

But the training is hard. As in, really hard. Training can last anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks, 11 hours a day with just one day rest a week. Written exams every day, practical exams, long days spent in the classroom and aircraft cabin mock-ups, it's pretty fast-paced and relentless.

Which airlines pays for flight attendant training? ›

Delta is one of the airlines that offers paid training for new flight attendants. This is great since it means you can join the organization and not only save money by not having to pay for flight attendant training, you actually get paid to learn.

How much is flight attendant training? ›

Flight attendant schools can cost as little as a $1,000 and as much as $25,000 depending on how long they are and what is covered. Some will even require you to pay room and board since you'll be living near by as you train.

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