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American Airlines Flight Attendants Want To End Archaic Pay System Which Means They Aren’t Paid During Boarding and Deplaning

American Airlines Flight Attendants Want To End Archaic Pay System Which Means They Aren’t Paid During Boarding and Deplaning

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by the flight attendant union in contract negotiations with AA after direct feedback from members who want to see the out of date rules changed.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.

View Comments (41)
  • Where do I sign?!!!!!! Been a FA for over 17yrs and this pay concept is STILL infuriating to me. So.much.volunteer.work.

  • Junior flight attendants work short flights so they get paid for fewer hours for the same day of work. Senior flight attendants get paid more because they get to pick the better trips with 1-2 flights per day. Once it becomes clear that this is about paying junior flight attendants more relative to senior ones, not all of them will like the idea.

  • They took the job under that system. As a salaried employee, I wouldn’t get paid a penny more for a 60+ hour week than I would for a 38 hour week. That’s just the way it is. We’re all free to get a different job.

    • April Fool all the time? I’m glad you’re not a flight attendant and if you were my guess is you would swallow your words and fall inline with FAs trying to negotiate better wages. I’d trust FAs over a keyboard warrior that isn’t a FA. Whether or not they want to deal with more responsibilities due to offensive passenger behavior from self entitled passengers disregarding civilized behavior during flight, every emergency forces FAs to corral passengers in cooperation to attempt ensuring everyone’s on the same plan, to land without injury and deplane if a crash occurs and egress in necessary. Absolutely no one wants to have anyone interfering with FAs ensuring every passenger conducts him/her self in a civilised manner for everyone to enjoy a simple flight.

  • Flight attending want to get paid for those times the airline then should be made them pay the hotel transportation at the meal when they stay overnight

  • Flight Attending want to get paid for those times the attendants for boarding. the airline then should made them pay the hotel, transportation at the meal when they stay overnight

    • It is pretty standard for most companies, even outside of the aviation industry, to pay for their employees transportation and lodging when traveling for work. Also, flight attendants and pilots are responsible for buying their own food while on a trip.

      • Not when overnighting they don’t. Hotel/transport to hotel and either meals at hotel or cash to use for meals as they choose.

        Inflight over X stage length they even get meal provided. Shorter lengths they don’t as they can go inside terminal to get something.

        Maybe learn a little.

  • I’m frankly appalled by these ignorant responses to this post. If youre working at any time one MUST be payed fully for their work. The Airlines upper managemant get paid very well (including bonuses) at the expense of their flight attendants. I want to know that the person that might save my lifcpaid well for every minute that they work. Common Sense!

    • * paid

      payed;
      seal (the deck or hull seams of a wooden ship) with pitch or tar to prevent leakage.
      “an open groove between the planks had to be payed by running in hot pitch from a special ladle”

    • They are paid for it. The ratepayers hour is increased to cover for it. All that happens if they pay per time from earlier start point, the rate gets decreased.

      In the meantime the union looks like they’re working hard for the FA. While in end, nothing changes in regards to final paycheck.

    • There are other jobs that have the same rule – the employee only gets paid within the time that is defined as production. Pilots are exactly like flight attendants: They are preparing the flight for departure and start getting paid when the door closes and the brakes are released. Some teachers are paid by the time in the classroom – the time preparing and grading is not compensated directly.

  • I’m confused I work for the biggest big box company and if I work and don’t get paid someone would get fired that’s in every state so I don’t understand how all these associates are required to be working for free and they are working helping passengers board and get settled from the time you cross the gate but then what do I know

    • You must be paid a minimum wage per hour worked in a week. In this case the rate paid for the hours they’re calculating is way more than minimum wage when calculated over all hours worked.

      Example

      20$/hr rate

      Worked 40 hours of flights in week
      Worked 4 hours total boarding/deplaning

      40*20=800

      800/44(total hours actually worked)=$18.18/hr effective pay rate

      Thus rate of pay is legal.

    • Walmart was fined one hundred and fifty million dollars for making employees work off the clock. This happens at many employers because employees do not know their rights and are afraid to speak up.

  • As a former FA and senior leader, I can tell you three things.

    First of all – their contract determines how they are paid. That’s what they negotiated.

    Secondly – the pie is the pie. They can cut it anyway they want. There is only so much pie to eat.

    Lastly – when it comes to contracts, FA unions will negotiate away their souls to protect seniority, guarantee days off and vacation pay, while retaining full travel and health benefits. The rest is just noise.

    Just saying. I’ve seen this movie once or twice before.

    • Very good summary. This is a rule that favors compensation for the flight attendants that get to pick trips with longer flights. They are usually more senior. Adding compensation to say, the 30 minutes before a flight leaves, necessarily leads to lower hourly pay. The pie is the pie as you say. That means junior flight attendants would be paid more and senior ones would be paid less. The senior flight attendants would push for a steeper pay scale according to seniority. The end result would be everyone gets paid more or less the same.

  • A lot of people don’t understand how this is legal.. Let me explain.

    You must be paid a minimum wage per hour worked in a week. In this case the rate paid for the hours they’re calculating is way more than minimum wage when calculated over all hours worked.

    Example

    20$/hr rate

    Worked 40 hours of flights in week
    Worked 4 hours total boarding/deplaning

    40*20=800

    800/44(total hours actually worked)=$18.18/hr effective pay rate

    Thus rate of pay is legal.

    All that will happen if they now “pay” for the 4 hours, payrate will be decreased to $18.18 from $20

  • I have worked as a flight attendant for AA and its predecessors USAir and PIedmont for 34 years. We are paid the same now as when I first started 34 years ago. We are paid our full hourly rate only when the airplane door has been closed and until the airplane door is opened at our destination. BUT, we are paid a guaranteed number of hours for every moment when we report for a flight until our duty day has ended: 1 hour prior to departure for a domestic flight and 1:15 prior to departure for an Int’l flight. The duty day ends :15 minutes after arriving at a domestic destination and :30 minutes after arriving at an Int’l. destination. So here’s the deal: Yes, boarding a flight is the most difficult part of our day. Senior flight attendants do try to work trips where they have the fewest flights per day because boarding the flight is the most difficult and stressful part of the day. But, if a Flight Attendant works a 14-hour day with 3 short flights of only 1 hour per flight, they are paid 1 hour for every 2 hours on duty. In this example, the f/a would be paid 7 hours pay for the 14- hour day, even though the flight time (block time) for the day is only 3 hours.

    • Thanks for your service, Jody! You made a nice explanation of “trip rig” which most people would not encounter in their normal jobs. It’s a way to ensure fair compensation when not working a lot of flight hours in a long duty day.

  • FAs are on duty during boarding and deplaning – they are trained to evacuate an aircraft and deal with other emergencies on the ground – this can happen during these times so they should be paid. The company is taking advantage.

    • They are paid. The hourly rate of pay accounts for this time. See my post above where I detail how it works.

      • Nope flyerco, you are wrong. And I would include pilots as well. I’ve been saying for years the hourly compensation should be based on duty times…not the much more restricted block times. Cabin and flight deck crews do hours of uncompensated work every international flight and at least an hour every domestic flight. And with transit international multi leg flights, up to 4 hours of time is uncompensated.

        • Since its too hard apparently to understand, here is explanation. In fact this is the exact reason court threw out the union lawsuit claiming they weren’t being paid.

          ——————–

          A lot of people don’t understand how this is legal.. Let me explain.

          You must be paid a minimum wage per hour worked in a week. In this case the rate paid for the hours they’re calculating is way more than minimum wage when calculated over all hours worked.

          Example

          20$/hr rate

          Worked 40 hours of flights in week
          Worked 4 hours total boarding/deplaning

          40*20=800

          800/44(total hours actually worked)=$18.18/hr effective pay rate

          Thus rate of pay is legal.

          All that will happen if they now “pay” for the 4 hours, payrate will be decreased to $18.18 from $20

  • For people wondering how this came to be, for many decades, boarding didnt take upwards of an hour. Even at SWA, the planes were turned in 10-20 mins as flights werent as full and most passengers didnt have roller bags to be stowed in overhead bins. Nowadays, even small children have rollerbags and the flights are usually sold out. Tidying an aircraft, enplaning passengers and also at the arrival city, deplaning…. It has all increased timewise. Seconds and minutes add up. Then you have passengers that add to this time frame w poor behavior (fighting, lengthy arguments) or weather delays, ATC holds, or even short staffed (due to Covid) for the Ramp and youre facing many hours per day unpaid. In the 1990s or earlier, most of what i just mentioned was a rarity. Alot of flight crew contracts are largely living in the past.

    • Thank you for clarifying things is perspective. I remember the days before the behemoth carry ons when everyone checked baggage before baggage fees when briefcases, coats and suit coats filled the overhead bins. Turn arounds in 10-15 minutes?! That’s long gone too. And keeping pay down is standard procedure in any business since labor is one of the costs of doing business. Maybe certifying FAs to use stun guns the next step in controlling uncivilized behavior. Yes, I know it’s a pipe dream but I’m sure a few FAs would welcome a non lethal weapon, holstered presence should warn miscreants about poor behavior. Eliminating alcohol in airports and on board may dampen those with false bravado when fueled with beer guts.

      • Stun guns. Haaaaa. I recently took a flight from Orlando to St. Louis. I couldn’t believe how much luggage and bags full of souvenirs the passengers had. And kids with their own luggage. No misbehaving adults or kiddos on board though. I had a great flight crew. I hope
        the airlines deal with those miscreants swiftly and the no fly is shared with other airlines. Take care.

  • Have the whiners find another job. Not a physically demanding job. And, long lines for those wanting to enter. The salaries include waiting and other time.

  • I agree they shouldn’t be paid the way they are. Should be 2.01 an hour plus tips. They don’t do anything that a chimp and a tape couldn’t do

  • Last time I checked hourly employees were paid for hours worked. How is this an issue in 2022? Why on earth would someone work for free?!

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