The rate at which American Airlines is moving to terminate flight attendants for a variety of disciplinary issues has allegedly tripled in the last year and the union that represents crew at the Dallas Fort Worth-based airline says it is “inundated” with requests to help flight attendants facing the sack.
The alarming rise in flight attendant terminations was revealed during a recent executive committee meeting of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA).
The union’s regional representatives, who are dotted across the United States, are each handling at least ten flight attendants facing termination for a slew of transgressions.
Despite well-publicized staff shortages across the aviation industry, American Airlines has made no secret of the fact that managers are looking to strictly enforce a wide range of rules and policies that may have previously been allowed to slip.
The flight attendant union, however, is concerned that some of its members are being moved to termination without meetings or “attempts to mitigate”. The union is also concerned that flight attendant managers are now expected to supervise as many as 1,000 crew members each.
American Airlines was asked to provide further information on its disciplinary procedures but the airline did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The union and AA have previously locked horns over a controversial sickness policy where flight attendants rack up points for going sick. Acquiring too many points results in disciplinary action and possible termination.
Introduced in 2018, APFA filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission a year later alleging the sickness policy amounted to gender discrimination because the vast majority of flight attendants are female.
The union highlighted differing sickness policies for pilots, who are predominantly men, and the female-majority flight attendant workforce.
An independent arbitration board ruled that the point-based system could remain in force but ordered AA to make significant changes to the policy because certain elements were “running afoul” of the flight attendant collective bargaining agreement.
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.