New Survey Shows Alaska Flight Attendants Experience Significant Financial Insecurity and Stress Without New Contract

Stagnant pay, high cost of living in base cities lead to financial hardship

SEATTLE (May 9, 2024) — A significant number of Alaska Flight Attendants report notable financial insecurity and stress due to stagnant pay, according to a new member survey released today by the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, AFL-CIO (AFA). Management must significantly raise Flight Attendant pay and get this contract done now.

An astounding 79% of those responding reported facing financial instability due to Alaska Flight Attendant pay, with 30% considering leaving the Inflight department for financial reasons. Approximately 52% of all Alaska Flight Attendants completed the survey.

“While Alaska Airlines executives reward themselves with millions in bonuses, frontline Flight Attendants literally have to choose between buying groceries and paying their bills,” said AFA Alaska President Jeffrey Peterson. “By dragging out contract negotiations, management is harming Flight Attendants. Enough delay. We demand a fair contract now. The time has come for management to reach an agreement or face CHAOS™.”

The results of the survey make clear the need for a strong contract. Earlier this year, 99.48% of Alaska Flight Attendants voted in favor of authorizing a strike after a year of delay tactics from management. A strike would be Alaska Flight Attendants’ first since 1993.

The survey found:

Many Alaska Flight Attendants lack a financial safety net. Fifty-nine percent of respondents said they do not regularly have access to $500throughout the month, and 71% of those responding acknowledged that they do not have ready cash equal to three months of basic living expenses as an emergency fund. Twenty-five percent reported that they overdraw their checking account more than six times in a year.

Alaska Flight Attendants feel the squeeze of the high cost of living in their six base cities. All of them are among the most expensive cities in the country. In the past year, 9% of Alaska Flight Attendants reported experiencing homelessness, living out of their cars, living in a shelter, or some combination of these circumstances. Over 10% reported living with their parents/families because they cannot afford rent. Forty-three percent responded that they must live with multiple roommates. Twenty-nine percent of Flight Attendants indicated they live over 100 miles from their base airport because they cannot afford to live near their base.

Low pay for junior Alaska Flight Attendants makes it difficult to make ends meet. Thirty-seven percent of Alaska Flight Attendants reported that they currently, or at some point over the past five years while employed by Alaska, received government assistance such as WIC, SNAP, CAL-FRESH, EBT, visited their local food bank, or relied on family loans or charity assistance.

View the executive summary of the survey results here.

“Management’s delays in negotiating a fair contract is unconscionable,” said AFA President Sara Nelson. “Workers power airline profits. Financial stability, more control of our time, and a good future is not too much to ask in return. It’s simple: Pay Us or CHAOS.”

AFA Alaska will meet with management several times over the coming months to continue negotiating their contract.


The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, (AFA) AFL-CIO represents over 50,000 Flight Attendants at 20 airlines. AFA is the union that has advanced the Flight Attendant profession for 78 years, beating back discrimination and improving wages, benefits, working conditions, and aviation safety, health and security in the aircraft cabin. AFA also partners with the 700,000-member strong Communications Workers of America (CWA), AFL-CIO. Visit us at


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