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American Airlines Will Now Pay Moving Expenses For Flight Attendants at Shuttered San Francisco Base

American Airlines Will Now Pay Moving Expenses For Flight Attendants at Shuttered San Francisco Base

American Airlines has agreed to pay moving expenses for the 403 flight attendants who have been displaced from the soon-to-be-closed San Francisco crew base. Flight attendants will have to pick between nine bases with vacancies, and some might be forced to move 2,692 miles away to Boston.

The airline made the surprise announcement that its more than 50-year-old flight attendant base in San Francisco would be shuttered because there are “no future flying prospects” for flight attendants in Northern California based on American’s “current network strategy”.

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Flight attendants have been given little notice of the closure, and although the Dallas Fort Worth-based airline doesn’t intend to make any redundancies, crew members were told there weren’t any available vacancies in Los Angeles and only a limited number of open positions in Phoenix.

Instead, flight attendants will need to choose between commuting cross country to a base with vacancies or uprooting their lives and moving to a new city.

Once the open positions in Phoenix have been snapped up, the next closest crew base with vacancies is Dallas Fort Worth which is about 1,464 miles away from San Francisco International Airport.

Chicago is about 1,840 miles away, Charlotte is 2,296 miles, and Washington National Airport is 2,435 miles. Flight attendants will also be able to bid to move to LaGuardia and Miami.

It was initially feared that transfers to new bases would be classed as “voluntary” moves which would exempt the airline from paying flight attendants’ moving expenses. The Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) has since reached a deal with the airline that will see displaced flight attendants qualify for moving expenses.

The union has branded the San Francisco base closure as a “slap in the face”.

“Just as the airline is returning to profitability, and Flight Attendants are optimistic that our operation may soon return to normal, we are left asking why now,” the union complained earlier this month.

“We should never choose profits over people. Our SFO-based Flight Attendants feel like just numbers in the system.”

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