According to U.S. News Money, the average salary for a flight attendant is $63,760. According to Smart Asset, in order for a single person to live comfortably in America’s 25 biggest cities, they’d need to be earning at least $68,499.
Which means that if you want to have enough of a buffer so you’re never completely screwed if you ever find yourself staring into the abyss of an ever-worsening economy, then you’re probably going to want to have some side hustles as a flight attendant.
This is especially true of those who find themselves in the lowest paid 25% of flight attendants who make $47,760 a year. Thankfully, TikTok user and flight attendant Destanie (@destanieaaa) has some recommendations for folks who work in the airline industry who are looking for potentially lucrative side hustles they can partake in in order to beef up their bank accounts.
Destanie says that when one is starting as a flight attendant, they aren’t being paid a livable wage, unless folks are working “24/7,” something she said that she wasn’t able to do because flying 120 hours per month would’ve wrought havoc on her “sinus issues.”
The flight attendant says that while she’s blessed to have made TikTok her side hustle due to the “community” she’s been able to build from “run[ning] her mouth” on various topics during layovers and when she wasn’t at work. However, she says there are other gigs folks who work in the friendly skies may want to check out if being a social media influencer isn’t their cup of tea. She added that she’s able to make anywhere from $50 to $100 a day just from posting clips on the application.
She did provide one caveat for others who are thinking about supplanting their income by posting about it online, however, writing that there have been individuals who’ve been fired for over-sharing, or just sharing in general, things that the companies they work for didn’t want them for put up online.
It’s for this reason, Destanie says, that she will not explicitly state which airline that she works for in order to not jeopardize her job as a flight attendant opting instead to keep her two gigs independent of one another, at least when it comes to appearances on the internet.
@destanieaaa Replying to @annie ♬ original sound – Destanie | Flight Attendant ✈️
She also explained the circuitous ways companies may fire an employee by association, further explicating her wariness when it comes to one’s presentation of themselves online. “If you make them look bad, you will be in big trouble,” she says. “If you associate yourself with the brand, you make them look bad. Like even people have gotten in trouble, like say you don’t post anything inappropriate on TikTok, but in TikTok you post in uniform and stuff like that, then you have an OnlyFans page that’s linked to your Instagram, and your Instagram is linked to your TikTok. You will get fired for that.”
“Be very, very careful,” she added. She stated that that are “people watching you,” and that utilizing TikTok as a side hustle requires very mindful online engagement and posting habits.
The next side hustle that she mentions in her video is one that is more of a long-term plan: Education. Destanie said that there are numerous aviation workers who are attending online classes while working for their respective airlines.
She also recommended that folks who have any types of skills could go on Fiverr.com, a freelancing community website, which allows people to highlight and advertise their skills and be contracted for gigs from various companies or people looking for specific work.
Her online side hustle was rating guys’ online dating profiles for $10 a pop, in which she provided feedback on what she thought of how they presented themselves online. She’d also give dudes “advice on how to talk to girls” but said that there are a variety of different jobs people could secure for themselves on the application ranging from “witchcraft” or doing write-ups, research papers, or pretty much anything.
She adds that with Fiverr, like TikTok, any made that is made through these applications in done as an independent contractor, which means that folks will have to pay money on said taxes at the end of the year, so they should be careful to not spend all of the money that they’re accruing without setting some aside for Uncle Sam.
Real estate, according to Destanie, is a pro side hustle that many of the “older” flight attendants get involved with along with “flipping” properties and selling them or renting them out. The TikToker went on to say that she worked with one flight attendant who was able to retire in her 50s because she worked with financial advisors who were able to tell her how to invest her money that she didn’t need to work for her airline anymore. She made profitable property investments and it ended up paying off for her.
Due to the hectic and ever-changing nature of a flight attendant’s schedule, Destanie says that it’s difficult for folks who work in the industry to secure employment with companies that are “schedule dependent.” However, she did say that because there are so many businesses that are hurting for help right now, like the food service industry, that folks may be able to get a job as a server even while they’re working as a flight attendant just because a lot of restaurants need the help.
Another side hustle, she recommends, are “catering companies.” Destanie states that there are online resources folks can check out where they can be employed in various catering gigs, but that they just need to ensure they have “black slacks” and a “black button up” usually to work these jobs, along with “work shoes.”
Another solution? Temp agencies, where job seekers can let their rep at the agency know their days off so that they can be placed for gigs when they aren’t flying.
Destanie capped off her video wishing her viewers “luck” and stating that the biggest asset side hustle seekers can have when attempting to secure themselves additional revenue streams is to be creative.
The video has amassed more than 12,000 views since Jan. 19. Viewers who responded to Destanie’s video had varying opinions on her assessment of the airline industry, along with the need for side hustles. One person penned, “I highly highly highly disagree with this, I was a new hire based out of NYC, working no more than 90 hours, the pay is NOT as bad YOU make it seem.”
While another TikTok user stated the opposite, writing that in spite of their low cost of living, they still found themselves stressing about the pay they were receiving for the job. “i am supposed to start AA training in March. i hardly have any bills & mortgage is low. still freaks me out about the pay,” they wrote.
The spirit of their comment was reinforced by another TikTok user who said that they had to work three jobs just to stay afloat during their first year as a flight attendant. “My first year, I had 3 jobs. F/A, Waitressing, and a Mom and Pop Grocery Store. I should post about the different money strategies I had when I first started,” she wrote.
Others appreciate that she shared her creative and fun approach to making money, like making suggestions to men’s dating application profiles. “Love the dating app profile suggestions!!! love your transparency about the FA career! I’m not a FA, always been curious,” they wrote.
For others, they had their side hustles down pat, and it was already one that Destanie mentioned a fellow flight attendant she knew partook in: “CJO holder waiting for training…but I plan to continue bartending in whatever city I end up relocating to! Great side gig, lots of $$ in short amount of time.”