The federal government doesn't offer a list of tax deductions specifically for flight attendants. However, the nature of your employment with an airline qualifies you to claim a number of job-related tax deductions on your return. One issue to be aware of is that flight attendant expenses are only deductible if you report them on Schedule A with your other itemized deductions.
Evaluating Schedule A
Since you can only claim job-related expense deductions on Schedule A, you should first evaluate whether itemizing is beneficial before investing too much time in calculating the precise amount of flight attendant deductions you are eligible for. The instructions to Schedule A list all categories of expenses that you can itemize. Therefore, you should evaluate the additional expenses you can deduct in addition to your flight attendant expenses. Once you estimate your Schedule A deductions, compare the total to the standard deduction you are eligible for. Only when the total of your itemized deductions exceed the standard deduction is itemizing beneficial.
Flight Attendant Uniforms
Once you determine that itemizing is beneficial, the purchase price of the uniforms the airline requires you to purchase, as well as the cost of dry cleaning them should be the first job-related expense that comes to mind. The IRS allows you to deduct the expenses that relate to your uniform if the airline requires you to purchase it as a condition of your employment and the uniform is not appropriate to wear when off duty. Since most flight attendant uniforms feature the airline's logo, this is sufficient to conclude that your uniform is unsuitable for casual wear outside of work.
The tax rules never allow you to deduct the cost of commuting to work. As a flight attendant, this includes the trip from your home to the airport and back. However, if your flight attendant duties keep you from returning home some nights, you can deduct the cost of ground transportation once you land in the location where you will be spending the night. For example, if you fly from New York to Los Angeles, spend the night in Los Angeles and report to work the next morning for the return flight, you can deduct the cost of taxis or public transportation to get to your hotel and back to the airport in the morning.
Airline Union Dues
Many airline employees, including flight attendants, join labor unions when their employment commences. If you decide to join a union, the IRS permits you to deduct your initiation fee and the periodic dues that the union requires to maintain membership. And if your union requires payments for unemployment benefits, you can include those payments in your deduction as well. However, you cannot include any payment you make that the union earmarks for sick, accident or death benefits of members.