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Delta Air Lines Says it Won’t Furlough Flight Attendants on Eve of Labor Day Weekend

Delta Air Lines Says it Won’t Furlough Flight Attendants on Eve of Labor Day Weekend

Photo Credit: Delta Air Lines

Delta Air Lines confirmed on Friday that it currently has no plans to furlough any flight attendants on October 1 when a federal payroll support program finishes. In recent weeks, American Airlines has announced plans to involuntarily furlough 8,100 flight attendants, while United says it will be necessary to furlough 6,920 flight attendants if further federal support isn’t forthcoming.

The Atlanta-based airline had previously warned that it had 3,000 more flight attendants than it needed to operate its planned October schedule, with senior vice president of in-flight service Allison Ausband urging staffers to sign up to “innovative” options to save jobs.

Photo Credit: Delta Air Lines

Those options included flight attendants temporarily hanging up their wings to go work in Delta’s catering business. Other options included leaves of absence ranging from 4 to 12 months and a ‘Fly Share’ program in which flight attendants would work one month on and then one month off.

“We remain uniquely positioned to be nimble and take quick, creative action to preserve jobs together. That’s the Delta Difference,” wrote Ausband in an internal memo in early August, likely referencing the fact that Delta flight attendants aren’t unionized.

A total of 17,000 employees had already opted for early-outs and retirement.

“With the overwhelming response of flight attendants choosing to participate in our creative staffing options — and based on our current network schedule — we are positioned well to be able to successfully manage through our flight attendant overstaffing situation,” a Delta spokesperson confirmed.

“We’re grateful for the continued rallying spirit of Delta people during the pandemic.”

Delta pilots, however, haven’t fared quite so well after the airline announced its intention to furlough 1,941 unionized flight crew on October 1. The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) hit out at Delta, saying the airline was using the threat of furlough to force through concessions.

Flight attendants at both American and United continue to lobby for a “clean extension” of the payroll support program that has kept many flight attendants in jobs and prevented airlines from laying-off staff. They’re demanding further financial support through to the end of March 2021, at which point the hope is that the COVID-19 crisis has significantly improved.

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