Delta Air Lines used to proudly boast that, statistically speaking at least, it was easier to secure a place at an Ivy League school than land a job as a flight attendant at the Atlanta-based carrier. For the first time in years, however, that may no longer be the case.
Delta just can’t seem to hire enough flight attendants and has been forced to reopen applications for the third time in seven months. That’s partly down to the fact that travel demand is roaring back but also partly down to a malaise in the airline jobs market that is worrying aviation recruiters.
After a pandemic induced hiatus, Delta reopened flight attendant recruitment for the first time in 18-months last August with a plan to hire 1,500 new crew. That recruitment campaign was expected to last Delta through to the end of 2022 with enough new hire flight attendants to meet the airline’s needs until next year.
The airline was initially deluged with applications, receiving resumes from 35,000 hopeful candidates in little more than a week. It wasn’t enough.
Delta started accepting applications yet again in January and just a few short months later, the application window has reopened once more.
This could, of course, be down to the fact that travel restrictions are been hastily lifted around the world as the Omicron variant quickly subsides into obscurity. But there have even been rumors that Delta is contacting candidates who were initially rejected, fuelling speculation that the airline industry is struggling to attract talent.
If that is the case, it certainly wouldn’t be a problem Delta is facing alone. Airlines including Southwest have been forced to offer referral bonuses and other incentives in an effort to attract the right candidates.
Like Delta, the recruiters at Southwest rarely had to open flight attendant recruitment because demand was so strong. A similar story is being played out at airlines around the world.
“We’re looking for the best of the best to join the Delta family as we connect our customers to the people and places they want to see, with the hospitality and service that sets us apart,” commented Julieta McCurry, Delta’s Managing Director – Customer Experience & Learning of In-Flight Service.
“A career as a Delta flight attendant is one of adventure, passion and, above all else, safety,” she continued.
Although Delta doesn’t have a wide-sweeping COVID-19 vaccine policy, it does require all new hire employees to be fully vaccinated. Could Delta drop that requirement in order to attract more applications?
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.