JetBlue is actively recruiting 2,500 new flight attendants (or what it calls inflight crewmembers) as U.S.-based airlines struggle to keep up with an insatiable demand for air travel even amidst spiking COVID-19 cases. Problems have been compounded by severe weather but it’s becoming increasingly clear that many airlines are close to maxing out their operations to meet the demand.
Last month, the Transport Workers Union (TWU) claimed jetBlue flight attendants were being overworked but a company spokesperson says the airline is working to quickly address a staffing shortfall on the frontline.
The first batch of trainee flight attendants started at jetBlue’s training center in Orlando last week and more are expected in the coming months. The airline continues to advertise for new flight attendants with positions open at New York JFK, Boston, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando and Los Angeles.
JetBlue was able to avoid involuntary furloughs during the toughest months of the pandemic and the airline credits the CARES Act for allowing it to ramp up operations quickly.
That rush to meet demand, however, hasn’t been without its problems according to the flight attendants union. JetBlue contends that it is working to address any issues and that crewmembers are being given proper rest breaks in accordance with strict FAA rules.
“A number of people did leave the industry during the pandemic and, along with normal attrition, we are working to staff back up to meet the increased demand,” a spokesperson says.
This time last year it seemed that the industry would be changed forever with flight attendants worried they might never get their jobs back. Now, at least in the United States, a rash of new hire recruitment is underway and more is to follow soon.
American Airlines is expected to reopen flight attendant recruitment soon while existing staff complain of gruelling work schedules – again, a prolonged period of severe weather is making existing issues even more noticeable.
On Tuesday, jetBlue announced that it would keep its headquarters in New York after considering a move to Florida when the lease on its building in Long Island City expires in 2023.
The airline also said it would move forward with plans to expand its home at New York JFK by reinstating plans for a new Terminal 6 that will connect to jetBlue’s current terminal at the airport.
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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.