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Flight attendants don't earn their hourly pay till airplane doorways shut. Right here's why

February 12, 2024


American Airways flight attendants, represented through the Affiliation of Skilled Flight Attendants (APFA), wooden out of doors Ronald Reagan Nationwide Airport closing August in Arlington, Va.

Kevin Dietsch/Getty Pictures

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Kevin Dietsch/Getty Pictures

American Airways flight attendants, represented through the Affiliation of Skilled Flight Attendants (APFA), wooden out of doors Ronald Reagan Nationwide Airport closing August in Arlington, Va.

Kevin Dietsch/Getty Pictures

If air shuttle feels surprisingly taxing to you this present day, you may have corporate. Flight attendants are exasperated with fuller flights and leaner staffing. They are saying managing passengers’ protection and onboard enjoy is extra annoying than ever. Now, flight attendants hope airways will step up with a big trade to how they are paid. Even common vacationers won’t notice that at maximum airways, flight attendants don’t seem to be clocking paid time till you listen the phrases “the airplane doorways at the moment are closed.” It is a longstanding follow that flight attendants need modified. On Tuesday, with contract negotiations ongoing at numerous airways, flight attendants shall be picketing at dozens of airports around the U.S. to deliver consideration to that call for and others.

Now not so simple as punching in and punching out “Now we have numerous time in our days that we’re unpaid,” says Julie Hedrick, a flight attendant for American Airways and president of the Affiliation of Skilled Flight Attendants, a flight attendants union.

How U.S. Unions Took Flight

That unpaid time — which could be 5 or 6 hours an afternoon — comprises the entire hours flight attendants spend in airports, looking forward to their subsequent flight, in addition to always it takes to get other folks and their luggage on board and of their correct puts. “It is our maximum chaotic and the toughest time in our day, and we will be able to have 4 to 5 boardings in line with day,” says Hedrick. Airways say time at the floor is compensated Airways argue that the ones hours at the floor are, in reality, compensated. In a observation on its web site, Alaska Airways says, “Opposite to union narratives, we do pay flight attendants for boarding time thru a pay mechanism that was once negotiated with the union in earlier contract cycles.” That “pay mechanism” is a ensure of minimal pay, says Sara Nelson, president of the Affiliation of Flight Attendants, the union representing flight attendants at Alaska, United and numerous different airways.

Why autoworkers are asking for a 46% pay raise

A quite common method, Nelson says, is a ensure of 1 hour of paid flight time for each and every two hours on responsibility. A simplified instance: If a flight attendant will get to the airport early within the morning for her first flight and winds up her day 12 hours later, she is assured six hours of pay despite the fact that she’s no longer within the air for 6 hours. “That now not flies as a result of the way in which flying has modified,” Nelson says. Now not best are flights extra continuously bought out, however planes were configured to pack in additional seats. Unruly passengers are on the upward push. Since 11th of September, 2001, flight attendants have served because the closing defensive position in aviation safety.

“Those are vital tasks that we need to carry out along with holding everyone calm on board,” says Nelson, pointing to the hot emergency aboard an Alaska flight when a panel flew off the airplane, leaving a gaping hollow. In line with the Exertions Division, flight attendants earn about $38,000 a yr at the low finish and just about $100,000 a yr at the top finish. “First-year flight attendants, you are getting actual just about state minimal wages,” says Nelson.

The flight attendants of CHAOS

Part pay for boarding time at Delta There’s one primary airline that can pay flight attendants for boarding time. In 2022, Delta started paying its flight attendants at part their hourly price for a collection 40 to 50 mins of boarding, relying on the kind of airplane and the place it is headed. Particularly, Delta is the one primary U.S. airline whose flight attendants don’t seem to be unionized, and a few noticed the transfer as an effort through the airline to deter unionizing. American and the union representing its flight attendants have now agreed to boarding pay very similar to Delta’s, says APFA president Hedrick, however the union remains to be pushing on different problems. “All people, in fact, really feel that we will have to be paid for the minute we get to paintings till we cross house, however we need to take a look at all of the bundle,” she says. The APFA is pushing for a direct 33% carry. In its newest be offering, American introduced a 3rd that.

Beneath federal regulation, flight attendants can’t strike with out permission from the government. The Affiliation of Skilled Flight Attendants says contract talks have reached an deadlock, and flight attendants will have to be allowed to strike.

Kevin Dietsch/Getty Pictures

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Kevin Dietsch/Getty Pictures

Beneath federal regulation, flight attendants can’t strike with out permission from the government. The Affiliation of Skilled Flight Attendants says contract talks have reached an deadlock, and flight attendants will have to be allowed to strike.

Kevin Dietsch/Getty Pictures

Permission to strike no longer simply secured Whilst flight attendants hope to make some noise round those problems at Tuesday’s wooden, do not be expecting a strike anytime quickly. Beneath federal regulation, it is unlawful for airline staff to strike until they get permission from the government. American flight attendants requested for that permission closing fall and have been denied, a frustration for Hedrick given the wave of work movements closing yr.

“UAW, UPS, Writers Guild, the Actors Guild — and no longer that they have got all long past on strike, however they have driven it to that time, and they have been ready to get the contracts that they deserve,” she says. The APFA has as soon as once more requested federal mediators to claim an deadlock within the contract talks at American Airways, clearing the way in which for a strike. The union will provide its case to federal officers in Washington subsequent month. For now, contract negotiations proceed. The airways say they have got introduced flight attendants aggressive wages and advantages and stay up for coming to an settlement.

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