Delta Air Lines will begin new-hire flight attendant recruitment in the Fall as the Atlanta-based airline bounces back from the pandemic. On top of new flight attendant hires, the airline will also welcome back 1,300 flight attendants who took extended periods of absence in October and rehire more than 1,600 candidates who were about to start work at Delta when the pandemic struck.
Delta successfully trimmed its employee headcount by so much last year as travel demand plummeted that the carrier is now struggling to keep up with the pace of the recovery. A similar situation is plaguing other carriers, including American Airlines which had to cancel nearly 1,000 flights over the weekend due to staff shortages.
One of the worse affected departments at Delta is its reservations and customer care teams where the number of agents were halved during the pandemic. Now, customers and frequent flyers are reporting hours-long wait times to get through to an agent – a situation that Delta acknowledges is causing “customer frustration”.
Delta has already begun a massive hiring spree for new reservation specialists but the process of training 1,300 new agents isn’t something that can be done overnight and many won’t be on the end of the phone until the Fall.
In the meantime, Delta is bringing back agents who left the airline during the pandemic as short-term contractors. An outside travel agency has also been given a lucrative contract to help out as well.
“Our outstanding colleagues have worked so hard over the last year to ensure not only Delta’s survival but our long-term success,” commented Joanne Smith, Delta’s executive vice president and chief people officer.
“As we shift gears toward recovery, we know we need reinforcements to help us serve our customers this summer. We’re excited to add more talented professionals to the Delta family who share our passion for connecting the world.”
Even with those reinforcements, Smith says Delta customers should refrain from calling unless their travel need is urgent.
Delta is also recruiting 3,200 new airport customer service roles, 1,200 roles in its ‘global cleanliness division’ and 1,000 new mechanics, technicians and other team members. Yesterday, the airline revealed it planned to hire 1,000 pilots by next year as its recovery from the pandemic “continues to accelerate”.
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.