How much per diem can you make as a flight attendant?
What is a per diem? Per Diem means per day or per each day. A per diem is an amount of allowance a company provides for an individual to cover the cost of living away from home. Employees, who travel for their work, will either have a per diem that a company will pay per day or are allowed to expense their trip. As a flight attendant, because the hotel is paid for already by the company, a per diem is given.
The per diem is a set amount per hour or per day. For pilots and flight attendants, a per diem is an hourly allowance that is calculated and then claimed at the end of each month and paid to the employees in the middle of each month.
Most per diems are around $1.50 to $2.00 an hour and for international flights, it is usually more. Most flight attendants and pilots are usually away from base anywhere from 150 to 400 hours each month. When you multiply for example 400 hours by $1.50 you get $600 per diem for that month. This makes your paycheck at the middle of the month more than the paycheck at the end of the month. When you calculate the per day per diem, 24 hours by $1.50 you get $36 per day. Most pilots and flight attendants can eat out for less than their per diems per day, especially if they have brought some food from home. Most people don't consider the per diem as a meal allowance but instead as their monthly salary.
Taxes and Per Diem
Talk to a tax professional on this subject and it may add a little money to your pay. When a flight attendant does their taxes the can break it dow each overnight through the year. The airline pays a certain rate as explained above. The US government has a standard for each city and then a minimum. If the city the flight attendant overnighted in had a higher rate than the airline paid, you can deduct the amount from your taxes. This usually works out in your favor and means more money in your pocket at the end of the year. Check out the US Government Per Diem Rates website.
It isn't hard to do on your own when you understand it. There is lots of information on the web. You may feel better using a tax professional but it has worked well for many other flight attendants.