American Airlines increases flight attendant holiday pay after operational meltdown
Flight attendants who work between Nov. 23 to Nov. 29 and Dec. 22 to Jan 2. will receive a 150% premium, according to an internal memo viewed by CNN. Those with no absences between Nov. 15 to Jan. 2 will receive an even higher premium of 300% for the hours they work during the peak holiday period.
“On the schedule front, we’ve ensured that November and December are built to meet customer demand and that they are fully supportable by our staffing,” COO David Seymour said in an internal staff note viewed by CNN.
American anticipates that 4,000 new team members will be joining the company in the fourth quarter, and that the airline will have 600 new flight attendant hires by the end of December. Nearly 1,800 flight attendants have returned from leaves in November and 800 more will return in December, the staff note said. American said the company has 24,000 flight attendants right now.
“From pandemic-related changes to the way we must do business (including mask and other travel requirements) to the small minority of customers who cause disturbances, the last 20 months have been incredibly challenging for many personally and professionally,” Seymour said.
American blamed last week’s operational meltdown on bad weather in its Dallas-Fort Worth hub and a shortage of pilots and flight attendants.
Airline unions say they’re worried that the problems will get worse with the expected pick-up in travel over the holidays.
“We want that flying to get done, but we don’t want tickets sold that can’t be fulfilled,” said Capt. Dennis Tajer, an American Airlines pilot and spokesman for the Allied Pilots Association, in an interview last month about the holiday season. “Are they biting off more they can chew?”
CNN’s Chris Isidore contributed to this story.