United Airlines has become the latest U.S.-based carrier to start hiring new flight attendants – just months after the carrier was forced to involuntarily furlough thousands of flight attendants and other workers due to the devastating impact the pandemic wrought upon the industry.
American Airlines started a recruitment drive for as many as 800 trainee flight attendants earlier this month, while jetBlue is on the hunt for up to 2,500 flight attendants and Frontier is also urgently looking for new crew members.
After encouraging staff to take voluntary outs and early retirements during the pandemic, U.S. airlines have been caught partially off-guard by the sudden and dramatic return in travel demand.
Flight attendants at both jetBlue and Southwest say they are exhausted because their schedules have been so packed this summer. Flight attendants at American Airlines have complained of being forced to sleep in the airport on occasion because the airline’s hotel booking desk couldn’t keep up.
The delta variant does, however, raise the risk of travel demand dropping – although, not in the dramatic way that demand plummeted in March and April 2020. Overall, airline schedules should remain largely stable and increasing vaccination rates bring further confidence.
United says it is looking for new flight attendants who can “ensure highest standards of safety, deliver the onboard service as prescribed, and represent the United brand with pride and distinction.”
Job openings may be available in any one of United’s hub airports in Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Newark, San Francisco or Washington Dulles.
New joiners must present proof of full COVID-19 vaccination, while existing employees will also soon need to be fully vaccinated if they want to keep their jobs.
United became the first U.S. airline to issue a vaccine mandate and ordered all 67,000 U.S.-based employees to show proof of full vaccination within five weeks of a COVID-19 vaccine receiving full FDA approval, or by Octber 25 – whichever date came first.
On Monday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced it had given full approval to the vaccine formally known as the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine. Now that it has received full approval, the jab will be marketed by Pfizer as Comirnaty (pronounced: koe-mir’-na-tee).
United’s U.S.-based employees now have until September 27th to prove they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
“While millions of people have already safely received COVID-19 vaccines, we recognize that for some, the FDA approval of a vaccine may now instil additional confidence to get vaccinated,” commented Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock on Monday.
“Today’s milestone puts us one step closer to altering the course of this pandemic in the U.S.”
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.