Five Best Airlines To Work For In 2022 | Detailed Guide

A jetliner flying overhead against a pink sky.

If you’re looking to kickstart your career as a flight attendant, pilot, or another job in the airline field, you will notice one thing: a multitude of options. Let’s face it, there are a lot of airlines out there, from JetBlue Airlines to Alaska Airlines, and even Emirates Airlines are known for being one of two flag carriers of the United Arab Emirates.

And while having a plethora of options is a good thing, it can also be somewhat overwhelming and cumbersome. After all, you want to make sure you’re choosing the very best airline — especially during a time when job seekers are on the hunt for the best working environments, paychecks, and benefits.

Well, if you’re struggling to narrow down your search, we’re here to help. Below, you will discover five airlines ranked as the “top five best airlines to work for in 2022” alongside other imperative info such as which ones have the highest salary and what perks you can look forward to in the airline industry.


Top 5 Best Airlines To Work For In 2022

Smiling flight attendants wearing yellow and gray walking up a flight of stairs.

When it comes to your next airline job, don’t settle for less. Be confident, proud, and overly satisfied with your career by choosing from one of these top five best companies to work for.


— Southwest Airlines

No airline gets quite as much “buzz” when it comes to excellent working conditions, quite like Southwest Airlines. Aside from a steady and impressive paycheck, Southwest Airlines offers their employees a slew of benefits. For one, they receive three weeks of PTO — which you can spend traveling while enjoying the “heavy discounts” offered by this company. They also have a lucrative Profit Sharing Plan and 401K that do not disappoint. Needless to say, there’s a reason why Southwest Airlines made the top 20 list of the “best employers” by Forbes.

— United Airlines

United Airlines is a major well-known airline and is one of the best options for employment, to no one’s surprise. They offer many benefits for their workers, from Profit Sharing Plans and bonuses to PTO and discounted plane tickets. Those seeking inclusivity will appreciate the Business Resource Groups that cater to LGBTA, women, veterans, and those with multicultural backgrounds. With employee social, athletic, and activity clubs worldwide, you’re more than just an “employee” at UA — you’re family.

— Delta Airlines

Delta Airlines is another excellent option for job-seekers looking for astounding benefits and perks. For example, Delta Airlines offers between 2 and 5 weeks of PTO, depending on the length of employment. They also provide an extraordinary healthcare package, free or almost free travel for employees and their family members, and grand salaries with tuition assistance for those wanting to advance their education. It’s an all-around good experience at Delta!

— JetBlue Airlines

JetBlue Airways offers the best benefits for working women who plan to have a family, including 12 weeks of paid maternity leave. But it’s not just a hot spot for women. Any gender will enjoy free (or almost free) travel and great insurance, retirement, and profit-sharing options that can skyrocket your salary.

— American Airlines

This airline presents a significant focus on the well-being and happiness of its employees and their family. For one, the company offers top-notch travel perks for employees and their friends and family members. They also have a multitude of wellness programs and online learning platforms to enhance your education and skills. Lastly, there is a “Family Fund” that will help during times of family emergencies, making this a great company for families across the globe.


Airlines With The Highest Salary

A model airplane on a desk next to a checkbook and pen.

While perks are essential, nothing is more critical than a paycheck. When choosing which U.S. airlines to consider for employment, consider the salary. Below are the top four options, complete with the average salary for flight attendants and pilots.


— United Airlines

United Airlines is one of the best choices for looking for a sky-high salary (literally). Flight attendants average around $44,000 while pilot salaries start at $91,000, with the highest-paying earning as much as $240,000.

— American Airlines

American Airlines is another option for those that want a big paycheck to bring home. Flight attendants make approximately $43,000, while pilots start at $90,000 up to $245,000.

— Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines is definitely known for treating their employees well, extending to their salaries. Flight attendants make around $42,000, with pilots starting around $84,000 up to $191,000.

— Delta Airlines

Future flight attendants should consider Delta Airlines. The average salary is $40,000, with the top 10% making as much as $91,000 per year.


Airlines With The Best Employee Benefits

A flight attendant with her back to the camera stands in the aisle of an empty single aisle plane.

If you’re on the hunt for the company with the best benefits (including healthcare, air travel time, travel benefits, etc.), you will want to consider one of these top three companies.


— Spirit Airlines

Spirit Airlines is known for its “free spirit,” and the crew members tend to have a fun-loving way about them. That alone is enough to make some people want to work for Spirit Airlines, but it doesn’t stop there. They have impressive insurance, vacation and sick time, free travel for friends and family members, and plenty of training and development to take your career to the next level.

— Frontier Airlines

Frontier Airlines is another small-scale operation like Spirit Airlines that provides impeccable work-life balance and an enjoyable career alongside a cabin crew that’s lighthearted and always ready to have a good time. They also offer short reserves, long layovers, and the ability to fly just about anywhere without paying for it. Yes, you may be paid slightly less since it is not a big company. However, most people will say the benefits outweigh the reduced paycheck.

— Southwest Airlines

If you want a bigger paycheck combined with a grand amount of benefits, Southwest Airlines is the way to go. With travel privileges, plenty of time off, employee wellness programs, and a Profit Sharing Plan, you’re covered at every angle with Southwest Airlines.


Perks Of Working For A Major Airline

By now, it’s clear that working for an airline is a great option. But let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. What perks can you expect when working for a major airline?


— Free/Reduced Fare Travel

One of the biggest perks is the travel benefits. Most major companies offer entirely free travel for their employees (and possibly their friends and family members) within the US. If you’re traveling outside of the US, it won’t be a tax-free experience. However, you should only have to pay taxes when traveling outside of the US. You will also get rental cars, hotels, and other luxuries at a discounted rate.

— Flexible Schedules

Another big perk is the flexibility. Most co-workers won’t mind swapping shifts so that they can end up with multiple days off in a row, which means you can enjoy your family or take trips whenever you’d like.

— Growth Opportunities

It doesn’t matter where you start. As long as you have the dedication and are willing to learn, you can grow within the company. For example, some employees have started in the luggage area and worked their way up to becoming a pilot. Don’t think of the “basic” airline jobs, though. You can also find your way to human resources, finance, and other higher pay areas.

— Good Pay

More prominent airlines offer their employees a solid and steady paycheck. You shouldn’t have to worry about going with “less than” you desire. Even those starting will make a salary that they’re satisfied with. And again, you can always work your way up to the big bucks by taking advantage of programs and educational platforms offered by the company.

— Healthcare

Most airlines will offer a competitive healthcare package that can come complete with “standard” healthcare, including vision and dental, or it can be more in-depth. For example, they may have a wellness package that can help in other healthcare realms, such as mental health.

— Retirement

When someone thinks of a must-have job perk, they think of retirement. After all, nobody wants to be fearful of how they’ll pay their bills when they’ve retired. Major airlines come with impressive retirement and 401K plans that can set one up for life.

— Profit-Sharing

Another financial perk is profit-sharing. Most major airlines will offer some type of plan that will give them access to even more money (profits from the company) without having to do any of the “hard work.”


The Bottom Line

Working for an airline comes with a slew of advantages, from healthcare options to profit-sharing and impeccably flexible schedules. If you’re considering working at an airline, look at the information above to find the airline that suits your needs and wants. Then, head on over to LinkedIn or another top-notch job app site and get the ball rolling!


Frequently Asked Questions


What is the hardest airline to get a job with?

Delta Airlines is one of the toughest airlines to get into. This is not surprising, considering that it’s also one of the best airlines to work for. The interview process can be strenuous, with the entire process taking multiple weeks. The easiest way to get your foot in the door at Delta is to have a current employee refer you, if possible.

What airlines are known for the best training programs?

Many airlines will offer their employees programs that can either be done online through the company, or they will offer to pay for outside training and education. However, the top three include American Airlines, United Airlines, and Delta Airlines. If you’re looking for a job with extensive and top-notch training programs for their employees, look into one of these companies.

The best part is plenty of jobs within the scope of airlines only require a high school diploma to get started. So, if the airlines are calling your name, you might consider jumping into a career via airlines.

What is the best airline to work for in the United States?

Besides the obvious choices — United Airlines, American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and Delta Airlines — a few runner-ups include Allegiant, Hawaiian Airlines, Frontier Airlines, and Spirit Airlines.

If you seek options outside of the United States, consider Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways, or British Airways.

Which airline pays the highest salary to cabin crew?

If you’re looking to get into the airlines by being part of the cabin crew, you have many options. The highest-paying salary for cabin crew is Etihad Airways, with Jet Airways being the runner-up.

Can flight attendants make six figures?

Flight attendants can undoubtedly make six figures a year, especially at Delta, United, and American airlines. This is after years of employment, though, so you will need to work up to this amount. However, keep in mind that the six figures do not even include overtime pay. So, your final paycheck could be much higher, depending on how often you work. Obviously, a flight attendant career can be lucrative if you’re willing to be away from friends and family for a somewhat extensive period (especially when you’re first starting).