American Airlines Increases Flight Attendant Vacation Pay To Avoid Flight Cancellations

An Airbus A321-200 of a US airline approaches the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) in Arlington, Virginia on February 24, 2021.

Daniel Slim | AFP | Getty Images

American Airlines, shocked by massive flight cancellations over the weekend, offered flight attendants to triple their pay for work vacation travel if they also had excellent attendance before early January.

The offer came just days after the American canceled hundreds of flights, many of which were linked to a shortage of flight attendants. Additional incentives indicate that the American is willing to pay to avoid recurrence.

American said flight attendants and reserve cabin crew members who will be on missions from Nov.23-29 or Dec.22-Jan.2 will receive one and a half hours, according to an internal memo reviewed by CNBC. … If they are not absent from November 15 to January 2, they will receive an additional 150% of their wages for peak travel.

“To provide reassurance to both our customers and team members, we are redoubling our efforts with our scheduling and staffing,” American COO David Seymour said in a note to employees on Friday. “As far as the schedule is concerned, we made sure that November and December were created to meet customer needs and that they are fully supported by our staff.”

The rest of the working groups will receive wage incentives, Seymour said in his memo.

The Professional Flight Attendants Association, a union that represents about 23,000 American Airlines flight attendants, said it has negotiated benefits with the company. The union has complained that flight attendants face frequent rescheduling and shortages of hotel rooms and transport during a grueling schedule this summer. The group also expressed concern about a rise in the number of disobedient passengers, including one that allegedly hit a flight attendant last week.

“Because nature has wreaked havoc on operations, you have faced a lot of policy changes that you had to follow and an increase in customer misconduct,” said Brady, vice president of flight services for American Airlines. Byrnes wrote to flight attendants on Friday announcing new pay incentives.

Airlines have spent much of the past year convincing workers to take a vacation or agree to a buyout.
When travel demand recovered in late spring and summer, some carriers did not have enough staff to cover routine disruptions such as bad weather.

American flight cancellations last weekend followed similar accidents at Southwest Airlines last month and Spirit Airlines in the summer, which the carriers said cost them $ 75 million and $ 50 million, respectively, and prompted them to cut their schedules.

Southwest also offered double pay for flight attendants to get more people to take extra shifts on the 4th of July weekend.

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