Skip to main content

Southwest Airlines Community

Becoming a Flight Attendant

Explorer C

I was recently informed that you need to complete a year's worth of "ground work" before being able to become a flight attendant for Southwest. I was wondering what excatly ground work entails? 


Re: Becoming a Flight Attendant

Aviator B

Flight Attendant FAQs


Q: Is there a minimum age requirement to be a Southwest Flight Attendant?
A: You must be at least 20 years old when you apply.

Q: If I interviewed previously to be a Southwest Flight Attendant, can I reapply or is there a waiting period?
A: If you have interviewed by phone or in person and have not been selected for the Flight Attendant position, you will not be eligible to reapply for this position for 12 months from the date of your last interview. You are welcome to apply for other positions at Southwest Airlines.

Q: By when must I have a valid, unexpired passport to show eligibility to serve on international routes?
A: You must present a valid, unexpired passport book from your country of origin on the first day of Initial Flight Attendant training, or you will be released from class.

Q: If I do not currently have a valid, unexpired passport, will Southwest pay for me to obtain a passport or to renew an expired passport?
A: You must secure a current passport book at your own expense.

Q: What is the biggest challenge of being a Flight Attendant?
A: It is a lifestyle change! Your work schedule will be determined by your Flight Attendant Seniority under a collective bargaining agreement. There will be many instances when you will not be awarded your preferred days off. On average, Flight Attendants spend 100 nights a year in a hotel with consecutive nights away from home and all while living out of a suitcase. There is also the possibility of irregular operations and aircraft re-routes as part of the normal Flight Attendant lifestyle. That means schedules can change frequently and unexpectedly. For instance, if you planned on seeing family during your overnight in Salt Lake City, you could be rerouted and end up in Philadelphia due to weather issues. Or, you could be in the jet-way getting ready to go home and receive a call to fly additional trips that day. Being flexible with your schedule and maintaining a positive attitude is integral to being a successful Flight Attendant.

Q: What is the best part about being a Southwest Flight Attendant?
A: You have the honor of being an Ambassador for Southwest Airlines. A Customer can get through the airport and onto our planes without ever speaking to or needing assistance from another Employee. However, once on the plane our Flight Attendants are ready to shine and showcase their Fun-LUVing Attitudes, delivering legendary Hospitality, and assuring that each and every Customer feels welcomed and cared for—leaving a lasting impression: possibly turning negatives to positives, anticipating needs, ensuring that our Customers remain our Customers who tell their friends and family about their great experiences. Your overnights will allow you to explore different cities and make lots of new friends.

Q: How long is the probation period for new hire Flight Attendants?
A: The probation period is six months and begins upon successful graduation from Initial Flight Attendant training. During the probation and evaluation period, new hire Flight Attendants are supported by a dedicated group of Supervisors as well as Base Leadership. Every new Flight Attendant must successfully pass the probation period.


Q: How long will it take to hear back if my resume is received?
A: Because we typically have a tremendous amount of interest, it could take several months to over a year to hear back.

Q: What is involved in the interview process?
A: Once your resume is submitted, it will be reviewed in the order it was received. The first step is a telephone interview. If selected from that point, you would move to an in person interview, that would be conducted by a Recruiter and a current Southwest Flight Attendant. In person interviews will take place at our HDQ in Dallas, TX. Applicants will also be required to pass a physical performance standards test. If selected to move forward from the interview process, a federal background check and drug test will be required as part of the pre-employment process. The process can take a while, so please be patient.


Q: How long is Initial Flight Attendant Training?
A: Currently, training is four weeks long and is held in Dallas, TX.

Q: Do I have to stay at the assigned hotel if I already live in Dallas?
A: Every Flight Attendant trainee is required to stay at the hotel during Flight Attendant training.

Q: Will I be paid during training?
A: No. However, within five working days after your Flight Attendant graduation, you will receive $1,200 Initial Training Pay minus applicable taxes and benefit deductions. During training, you will also receive a $425 meal stipend in the form of a pre-paid Visa card.

Q: What grade do I need to maintain in order to pass initial training?
A: Flight Attendant trainees much achieve a 90% or better on each required exam. Trainees will also have to perform the requirements of each proficiency or skill check, which tests knowledge in a specific area. There are frequent proficiency, skills checks and exams during training.

Q: If I do not pass initial training due to academics, can I reapply?
A: You may reapply. However, you must wait 12 months from the date of your last in person interview.


Q: What is the pay rate for the Southwest Flight Attendant position?
A: Southwest Airlines new hire Flight Attendants are paid $24.41 per trip, for the first six months after passing Initial training. After successfully completing the probationary/onboarding period, the pay increases to $24.72 per trip for the next six months. A “trip” is 243 nautical miles or approximately every 55 minutes of flight time.

Scheduled hours are based on operational needs. On reserve, Flight Attendants typically are scheduled on average for 72 trips per month. For a scheduled “line” of trip assignments, Flight Attendants typically are scheduled on average for 80 trips per month.

Q: What is my per diem once I start flying?
A: Southwest Flight Attendants are paid an hourly per diem allowance for each hour the Flight Attendant is away from their assigned Flight Attendant base, starting at the time of required check-in and ending 30 minutes after arrival of their last trip in a sequence. This per diem is designated as compensation for meals. The per diem allowance is currently $2.30 per hour.

If a Flight Attendant works or deadheads on a Near International flight (near international is defined as destinations or flying located within the region of North America but outside of the contiguous 48 United States), you will receive a per diem rate of $2.85 per hour. The Near International per diem will begin at the report time of the duty period including Near International flying and continues until the termination of the pairing.

Q: Do Southwest Flight Attendants need to pay for uniforms?
A: The initial uniform cost is approximately $500, which is payroll deducted from each Flight Attendant in increments of $25, twice a month. Each subsequent year, Flight Attendants will receive $220 in a uniform account for purchasing additional or replacement uniform pieces.


Q: What does being on “reserve” mean?
A: There are a couple of types of reserve, but “Reserve” duty basically refers to being “on-call” for trips per the operational needs of the Company. Reserve Flight Attendants must be in their assigned base city when on reserve duty.

Ready Reserve is being on call 24-hours per day, generally for a three-day block, ready to report to the Flight Attendant Base within a two-hour notice. This includes Airport Standby, which is being called to wait at your base to be assigned a trip.

AM/PM Reserve is being on call during specific hours of the day or night only. These are generally assigned for three-day blocks.


Q: What will the Flight Attendant schedule look like once Initial Training has been completed?
A: For the first month, new hire Flight Attendants will be assigned a line schedule that cannot be altered. During the following five months of probation, new hire Flight Attendants will be on “reserve” status, also known as “on call”, and trips will be assigned to Flight Attendants on an “as needed” basis.


Q: Where will I be based after training?
A: Our current Flight Attendant bases are in Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Las Vegas, Orlando, Oakland and Phoenix. Bases are assigned during Initial training, dependent upon the operational needs of the Company and seniority within the training class.

Q: Will I be able to change bases during probation?
A: When a base opening becomes available (vacancies), they are awarded based upon Flight Attendant seniority under the collective bargaining agreement. There is no limit to how many times a Flight Attendant can bid to change bases, while on probation.

Q: How long will it take me to transfer to the base that I prefer?
A: It varies depending on the operational needs of the Company and Flight Attendant seniority. A transfer could occur within a year, or it could take much longer to be awarded a preferred base.

Q: Does Southwest Airlines pay for me to relocate to the base that I am assigned to?
A: Any relocation costs are at the Flight Attendants own expense.

Q: Will I be able to commute to the base I am assigned?
A: Commuting is allowed, but it is not encouraged. Southwest Flight Attendants have very strict attendance requirements and expectations. Also, keep in mind commuting takes time away from your personal life; your three-day trip into potentially five days of travel, while only getting paid for the three days of trip assignments.


Q: What are the Southwest Flight Attendant Appearance Standards requirements?
A: As crewmembers, a Flight Attendant’s weight must be of such proportion to height that a neat appearance is maintained and the physical ability to perform all job functions is not hindered. Flight Attendants are therefore required to maintain acceptable physical standards. If hired, and following the probationary period, failure to maintain a neat appearance and acceptable physical standards will be handled with progressive discipline, as outlined in the Flight Attendant Work Rules & Expectations/Company Policies section of the Flight Attendant Handbook. A Flight Attendant must be able to perform all job functions including, but not limited to, the following physical performance standards:

The ability to, facing forward, walk and fit comfortably down the aircraft (or aircraft mockup) aisle
The ability to quickly fit through the over-wing window exit
The ability to fit into a jump seat shoulder harness without modification, including closure without a seat belt extension
The ability to lift items of up to 50 pounds from floor to shoulder height
The ability to assist Customers with carryon items, including lifting carryon items from floor to above shoulder level with assistance

Compliance with physical performance standards is measured during Initial Training and at any time an Inflight Leader may make a reasonable and good faith determination that the Flight Attendant’s physical size may impair the performance of Flight Attendant duties. Only standard uniform sizes are available. Men’s uniforms range in waist size from 28 to 42 inches. Women’s uniforms range in size from 0 to 18. No tailor-made uniforms are permitted.

Flight Attendants must meet the Uniform Appearance Standards as well. The items noted below are examples and not an exhaustive list of the Standards.

Visible body and facial piercings are not permitted, e.g. eyebrows, nose, earlobe plugs/gauges, lips, tongues
Tattoos cannot be visible. All tattoos must be appropriately covered by pants, long sleeve shirts, hair, makeup, or scarf.

While in the Female uniform, make up should be professional, conservative and complement the uniform and the Employee’s complexion. Eccentric, exaggerated or trendy cosmetic styles and colors are prohibited.

While in the Male uniform, only bronzer or a concealer may be worn that looks professional, conservative and complements the uniform and the Employee’s complexion.

Earring Notes: No more than two pairs of earrings are permitted, and if worn, must be placed in the earlobe and may not exceed 1” in diameter (size of a quarter). Hoops and drops are permitted, provided they do not extend more than 1” below the bottom of the ear lobe.

While in the Male uniform, Employees may wear only one small, stud earring per ear lobe (allowing single earrings up to 1 pair). If worn as a pair, they must be matching.

Reporting to Initial Flight Attendant Training out of compliance with these regulations will subject a Candidate to immediate dismissal from class.

Re: Becoming a Flight Attendant

Explorer C

My daughter is a recent high school graduate. She very badly wants to become a flight attendant after college. We have been informed that due to height requirements she cannot become a flight attendant at 4 foot 8 inches. I have been looking at the requirements on your website and cannot find a height requirement. I went looking after we recently flew Southwest and she stood at the same height as a male flight attendant who was obviously not wearing heels. What is your height requirement? Thank you.

Re: Becoming a Flight Attendant

Adventurer C

Most airlines have what is called a reach test. The requirements are similar throughout each airlines. The test is done without shoes. So wearing heels does not play a factor.  So the male flight attendant she stood next to could very well been the same height but his arm could of been longer which helped him reach the point you have to reach to pass the test. But from what I hear Southwest does not have a reach test. But not 100% sure on that



Also just to add your daughter just graduated high school still have plenty of time to grow a couple inches 

Re: Becoming a Flight Attendant


Hi @Sktjm,

We are excited to hear that your daughter is interested in gaining her wings! We do not have a height requirement or reach test requirement for the Inflight position. We only require that Flight Attendants are able to perform the normal job functions in accordance with safety standards. We hope to see her application once she is 20 years of age or older!


Southwest Careers

Re: Becoming a Flight Attendant

Explorer C

You just made her day! Thank you for replying. 


Re: Becoming a Flight Attendant

Explorer C

You just made her day! Thank you for replying. 

Re: Becoming a Flight Attendant

Explorer C

Hi! I really dream of becoming a flight attendant but I don’t know how where to apply?. And I’m a green card holder is it possible to become one?. Thank you! 

Re: Becoming a Flight Attendant

Explorer C

I am interested in applying for a flight attendant position with southwest or working for the southwest family.  I am questioning these salary though,  if someone could help me out.  I see the starting salary for a flight attendant is about $24 per flight of 55 min.  The average flights an attendant makes in 1 month is 72-80. This is roughly 2 weeks worth of work.  Yet,  the average starting salaries I researched for a southwest flight attendant is much higher than $21k a year, closer to $40k.  Do flight attendants basically work part time? Do they receive more flights with seniority? How long would it take to build up to 100 or more flight hours a month? 

Re: Becoming a Flight Attendant

Adventurer C

You here are a lot of answer to the question you asked but the answer I think you are looking for is new flight attendants are not paid that well. And when you move up in seniority. You get a better line or schedule if you want to call it that which means that new flight attendants are usually on call so when they need you to work a flight they will call you. That’s were the minimum comes in. Let’s say for one month they only call you to for one trip. Let’s say that trip in totally is only 25 hours. They will still pay you 55 hours for that month. But on days you are not in call you can pick up flights for other flight attendants that do not want their “shift”. Usually flights that are less desirable. When you move up in seniority you become a like holder which means you will know exactly what days you are going to fly and what hours. The more you move up in seniority the better days off you can get and the better lines like instead of being a new flight attendant and flying at  2 am  you can maybe get something around 8 am. And of course with most jobs the longer you are there the more raises you get. Southwest is also the best paid airlines out there and they are definitely the happiest.  Don’t let that “part-time” feel scare you away