Like at many airlines in the United States, flight attendants at American Airlines get better trips based on how long they’ve worked for the company – a process that some are now being accused of taking advantage of for financial gain. Or at least that’s what a leaked internal memo from the airline’s management seems to suggest.
Known an the seniority system, flight attendants who have been with the airline for the longest time get preferential treatment over what trips they are rostered. Each month, flight attendants bid for what flights they want to work and the automated rostering system will then take into account their length of service.
That’s not to say that junior flight attendants don’t get some of the more sought-after flights but popular destinations like London invariably are exclusively staffed by more senior flight attendants.
It would appear, however, that some flight attendants have been using their status to earn some extra money on the side – using an internal trip swap system to sell flights to more junior flight attendants for $200.
The memo, sent by the airline to its flight attendants says management “continue to receive complaints from your colleagues that certain flight attendants are not using these systems responsibly.”
Referred to as “parking a trip”, the memo goes onto say that new technology will be used “actively monitor bidding and trading systems for suspicious patterns.” Those identifed as parking trips could face disciplinary action, including dismissal.
The Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) which represents American’s flight attendants hasn’t reacted to the memo too well, saying “abuse by the few cannot and must not set up a witch hunt for the majority.”
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.