How to Survive Being a Flight Attendant Based in New York City

New York City the city of freaking dreams and not to mention expensive. But is it? Can you actually be based in this city and enjoy it with an extra couple of dollars in your back pocket? These are many things that run through flight attendant’s mind once they receive New York as their base bid, but the question would be: Is New York City worth it? 

I know from first hand that the answer to this questions is hell yes. I have been around the world and back, but something about this metropolitan city makes your heartbeat.


“Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something that we have recommended. While clicking these links won't cost you any extra money, they will help us keep this site up and running AND keep it ad free! Please check out our disclosure policy for more details. Thank you for your support!

New York has a lot to offer when you are talking about culture. First, they have over 1.6 million people that live on this tiny island and let me say you they can cook up something extraordinary. In 7 miles you can eat your way through 33 countries and not even have to pick up one international trip from a senior mamma. If you can’t appreciate New York on a simple food aspect, we can talk about what to do on your time off in the Big Apple.

According to, they say that New York City has 83 museums among the 5 boroughs. On a rainy day, or if you are clueless about what to do, this would be a good place to start. If you are more of an outdoors type of person, New York is home to one of the largest parks, Central Park, and why not get lost on the little turns the park has to offer. You can also rent bikes from Citi Bikes and take a ride along the Hudson River Greenway.

Picture of New York City from the Sky

So if you are not sold on some of these fun actives that you can do with a friend or alone, join a social club to start your own networking of friends besides aviation. Why would you think this is important? As you will learn, you can have over a dozen aviation friends, but trying to find time off in the same city could be quite tricky. That is where your NYC living friends can fill the gaps and hopefully be around to keep you entertained. Some great sites to visit would be, CitySocializer, GoFindFriends, or even Bumble.

Now that I have pitched this city to you, we need to talk about finances. Yes, there is always a catch and depending if you are just going to sample New York or live it to the fullest it is still great to have an understanding on how to manage your money. I personally do not have a car and rely on public transportation, Ubers/Lyfts or Cabs to get around. Below I have shown what a month would look like living in a Crash Pad in Queens.

Where are the best Crash Pads in Queens?

Most people live around Kew Gardens, and it is not a little secret. The New York Times  exposed us a couple of months ago here: A Haven in Queens for Flight Personnel After Touching Down. This small community is perfect for flight crew because it is directly between JFK and LGA. Even if you have to go to EWR, you can still make it in less than 2 hours thanks to the LIRR and New Jersey Transit.

Crashpads can range from $250- $400 depending if you have a hotbed or cold bed. What is the difference? Hotbeds are the rental of a space that can change depending on how many people are spending the night. Typically a couple of flight attendants will share that bed (not at the same time) which means if someone claims it for the night, you might not have a place to stay. You can't leave items at this pad and will have to bring your linens every night. A cold bed is a bed gives you a little bit more privacy, and that space is guaranteed to be yours when you come in. You can leave minimal items in the pad which helps if you happen to forget your toothpaste or other toiletries. I like this option a bit better because it gives you a bit of security and comfort.

How much Will Transportation Cost going to and from the airport?

My transportation bill can run from $200 - $350. This depends on how you manage your money and if you take public transportation.

Below are the prices for transportation:

  • Bus $2.75

  • Airtrain: $5 or if you buy a monthly pass or 10 at a time could be cheaper

  • Subway: $2.75

  • Lirr: $4-$10 depending if it is the weekend, off-peak or peak

  • Discounted Cabs: $12, but they have a lot of people going to the same place in the neighborhood there is an opportunity to share the cost

  • Uber/Lyft: $15 to $30 depends on the pool price and if it peeks time

  • Airline van: $1 just pay the tip :)

Brooklyn looking at Manhattan
Visitors Coverage Travel Medical Insurance for International TravelersTravel Medical Insurance for International TravelersTravel Medical Insurance for International Travlers

Upgrade away from Crashpad life!

Where to live in city?

If you are determined to have a bit of a normal lifestyle in New York, there are a couple of places flight attendants like to live:

  • Manhattan is a great place especially if you can find some roommates to keep the cost down. Some suitable locations to live would be around the E and the 1 line. The E can get you to LGA and JFK in about 2 hrs. If you live on the 1, it is great to take it to Penn and take the LIRR or New Jersey Transit.

  • Astoria is great if you mainly want to fly out of LGA. I believe some places only cost a $5 Uber ride to get to work

  • Brooklyn- A lot of Flight Attendants like to live in this area if they mainly fly out of JFK. If you live near the Atlantic Terminal, you can take the LIRR to JFK or the A Train.

  • Kew Gardens- A safe town where they have mostly flight attendant crashpads, but some decide to live here just because it is so easy to get between both airports. See above for all transportation options.

Are you ready to be based in NYC?