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JetBlue’s Flight Attendants Are at ‘Breaking Point’ And Are ‘Physically And Mentally Exhausted’

JetBlue’s Flight Attendants Are at ‘Breaking Point’ And Are ‘Physically And Mentally Exhausted’

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Flight attendants at JetBlue are ‘physically drained’, ‘mentally exhausted’ and at ‘breaking point’ after a succession of recent operational meltdowns that have been made worse by staff shortages and ‘punitive’ attendance policies.

That was the message that JetBlue’s president Joanna Geraghty received on Friday in an open letter from the Transport Workers Union (TWU) which represents flight attendants at the carrier.

The union recently signed its first contract with JetBlue which was welcomed by management but the relationship between the two sides has become increasingly strained in recent weeks because flight attendants feel like they are being blamed for the airline’s recent operational disasters.

“Sadly, the pervasive attitude among Inflight Leadership is that the IFCs (infight crewmembers) are what went wrong with the operation, instead of the other way around,” the union told Geraghty on Friday.

“Punishment, fear, and intimidation have become the go-to quick fix, and it’s not working,” the letter warned. “That is going to require some changes, and we hope you’ll take a hard look at the direction we’ve been going, and see where we need to change course.”

Top of the agenda for the TWU is a ‘punitive’ attendance management policy that it is claimed has led to flight attendant burnout. “We’re only human and we’re at our breaking point,” the letter implores.

Last month, JetBlue announced it would slash its summer schedule by 10 percent in an effort to make its floundering operation a little more stable. JetBlue has blamed bad weather, air traffic control delays and staff absences for its recent woes.

JetBlue management is attempting to dissuade flight attendants from calling out sick because skyrocketing absence levels have resulted in last-minute cancellations but the TWU wants to see the airline switch from a deterrence policy to one of incentivization.

Under the current system, flight attendants risk serious disciplinary action if they call out sick on what JetBlue calls a ‘critical coverage day’.

“We have a record number of IFCs on Final Progressive Guidance and sadly, have lost many to termination as a result of the vast expansion of Critical Coverage Days, which are exponentially greater in number than any other commercial carrier,” the TWU told Geraghty in the open letter.

“We believe the stick now far outweighs the carrot,” the letter continued.

View Comments (9)
  • Under the current policy, one out if every five days is a published critical coverage day. 20% of the entire year. Crew call-outs is a symptom, not the cause of the problem. Management pushed the envelope on an operation that wasn’t ready and this is the result. The blame lies squarely there. Until there is meaningful change, crews will continue to run from the operation as a means of self preservation. Recruiters can barely keep up with the terminations and attrition of crew, nevermind build up staffing to address increased demand.

    • I was let go because of critical coverage from JetBlue a couple of months ago. It’s so frustrating.

  • I worked for them for a few short months. They fired me because after spending 3 hours trying to get in touch with crew services to no avail, I flew back home to FLL (rather than fly into a severe snowstorm) during a snowstorm that shut down the city of Boston and the airport. Because this was “critical coverage” and they wanted to use me on a DH, they fired me.

    • It’s ridiculous. I have a friend at SWA and he’s in the middle of mediations because of this nonsense.

  • Joanna Geraghty, Robin Hayes and that nazi-like tyrant Ed Baklor needs to go in order for this once decent airline to have a fighting chance!

  • This is hilarious because the union agreed to let the company handle their attendance policy and not put it in their contract. Their union failed to put defined critical coverage in the contract which allows JetBlue to add or remove critical coverage dates/holidays as they please. The union failed their Inflight Crewmembers because they rushed their contract fast.

    Their reserves can NOT drop trips if they pick up on their days off because as a negotiating team member said “reserves are treated differently than line holders”.

    TWU failed the Inflight Crewmembers and it’s time the Inflight Crewmembers release their union sucks and will drag the morale into the mud

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