Flight attendants at American Airlines are demanding to be paid for the time spent boarding and deplaning passengers which traditionally has gone without remuneration. The demand has been made by the flight attendant union in contract negotiations with AA after direct feedback from members who want to see the out of date rules changed.
An online campaign started last month to end the work practice ratcheted up more than 150,000 signatories in just a few days. Flight attendants are required to be present for boarding by their companies and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in order to perform critical safety-related tasks but they aren’t paid for this time.
In the past, the lack of remuneration for boarding was balanced against the total compensation package which can be highly attractive. But many flight attendants now believe the amount of work required during boarding qualifies them for additional pay.
Flight attendants estimate that the amount of time spent boarding a standard domestic flight has increased by around a third in the last decade. At the same time, flight attendants are required to deal with a whole host of new issues like increasing amounts of hand luggage and face mask non-compliance enforcement.
In February, AA also reintroduced its pre-departure beverage service – some crew members have refused to offer the service in defiance at not being paid.
Along with demanding to be paid for boarding, the union has also asked AA to consider paying flight attendants a supplement for working redeye flights. Both proposals remain open and AA has not yet responded with a counter-proposal.
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.