American Airlines is asking office managers and other head office staff to help out on the frontlines at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) assisting customers during what is expected to be a busy summer travel period.
The airline is said to be concerned that an uptick in leisure travelers and the return of passengers who haven’t flown since the start of the pandemic might cause delays at American’s main hub airport putting pressure on regular airport employees.
American Airlines told its HQ-based staff that they could do even more to support customer-facing colleagues by “helping customers feel comfortable as they return after many months away from traveling”.
The call for volunteers comes less than a month after Delta Air Lines asked volunteers to wait tables at its understaffed Sky Club lounges at Atlanta Hartsfield. Delta volunteers were drawn from its longstanding ‘Peach Corps’ group that helps the airline out during busy periods or irregular operations.
American Airlines doesn’t currently have a similar program but office managers have been told to expect to be asked to volunteer at other busy periods during the year. “Beyond the support it provides our frontline team member, it’s also an opportunity for our corporate support team to gain an appreciation for and a better understanding of the work our airport team do,” an internal memo explained.
Volunteers will work six-hour shifts but any time they give will form part of their normal total weekly hours worked. The work is voluntary but support staff have been warned not to flake out at the last minute and to complete any hours they’ve committed to working.
Most of the work involves wayfinding support for passengers, including at airport entrances, TSA checkpoints and international recheck, explains the memo which was published by Twitter user and industry insider JonNYC.
Depending on the success of the program over the summer, volunteers could be asked to help out during other busy periods like the Christmas holidays.
American Airlines will increase capacity to just shy of pre-pandemic levels in June and July. The number of seats available in June will be just 7 per cent lower than the same month in 2019, while the gap will be even smaller in July with a mere 5 per cent fewer seats on sale.
On Monday, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screened more than 1.98 million travelers at airport checkpoints across the United States.
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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 used by some of the biggest names in journalism.