JetBlue flight attendants have to commute across New York in the middle of the night only to then be “crammed” into a crew break room with so few seats that they are forced to sit on the floor, the Transport Workers Union (TWU) has alleged.
The union claims flight attendants have to endure “unsafe conditions” because JetBlue has gone back on a tentative agreement it reached with the TWU last year.
The allegations stem from JetBlue’s decision to expand its presence at Newark airport (EWR) as part of its pandemic recovery strategy. In order to get a foothold in Newark, the airline is requiring some flight attendants to commute between their usual base at JFK and EWR – a task that is easier said than done.
“Commuting on public transportation during late nights/early mornings to get to EWR from JFK is risky, costly and, quite frankly, unacceptable,” the TWU says of the demand. The union says the commute is taking flight attendants nearly three hours and costing between $60 and $100 per trip.
Some flight attendants say they are suffering anxiety trying to commute from JFK and EWR and once they get to Newark they are “crammed, a dozen at a time, into a make-shift crew room in EWR with two chairs and a sign on the door stating ‘maximum 3 people at one time due to Covid’.”
“Tight quarters, tight report times, and unsafe train rides into EWR are unacceptable. JetBlue can and must do better,” the union argues.
A historic tentative agreement reached between the TWU and jetBlue last October prohibited flight attendants from being ‘co-based’ between JFK and EWR but jetBlue has apparently rewritten that part of the agreement claiming it is part of the airline’s pandemic recovery strategy and is necessary to compete with rivals.
The union agreement is not legally binding until fully ratified.
JetBlue has not responded to a request for comment but the airline has told the union that it is currently building a new break room for crew members at Newark. JetBlue also says it has received only a “handful of complaints” about the commute between JFK and EWR.
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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 relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.