American Airlines has officially kicked off a massive new flight attendant recruitment drive with plans to hire 800 trainee flight attendants over the next few months. The decision marks a complete change in fortune for the Dallas Fort Worth-based airline that just a few short months ago was putting flight attendants on notice of more involuntary furloughs.
But passengers have returned at such a pace that AA has, at times, struggled to keep up with the huge pent up demand for travel. Veteran flight attendants who took extended voluntary leaves of absence have already been recalled in an attempt to bolster numbers but even with an additional 3,300 crew members returning by November, the airline says it needs still more flight attendants.
Trainee flight attendants who were hired just before the pandemic struck but didn’t get to complete their training courses are also being called back to AA’s training facility in Dallas while the latest recruitment drive gets underway.
American Airlines plans to have hired 800 trainee flight attendants by March 2022 after the application process officially reopened on Thursday.
In a memo shared with flight attendants last month, Brady Brynes vice president of flight service said flight attendants could finally start to “look to the future with optimism”.
“We’ve had quite the journey over the past 18 months, but I can’t think of a better team of professionals equipped to welcome back our customers,” Brynes continued.
The memo was, however, sent before the full impact of the delta variant was known. In recent days, both Frontier and Southwest Airlines have downgraded their forecasts over fears that the latest spike in Covid infections could dampen travel demand.
The need to hire new flight attendants may also depend on when international travel is further opened up by the Biden administration. Despite pleas from the airline industry, including from AA chief executive Doug Parker, to lift travel bans on Europe and the UK, any easing of restrictions could still be months away.
Despite those concerns, though, it’s not just AA that has reopened flight attendant recruitment in recent weeks. Both jetBlue and Frontier are also actively recruiting new crew members.
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.