American Airlines is offering free cups of chilli to flight attendants as a “small token of appreciation” for their hard work during the busy holiday season. The event, perhaps coincidentally, however, is being held on the same day that flight attendants plan to picket airports across the United States in a continuing dispute over a delayed contract.
The Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) is calling on its 28,000 members to descend upon 11 domestic airports on January 24 in an attempt to ratchet up the pressure on the Dallas Fort Worth-based carrier as contract talks continue to drag on.
The union has secured permission to picket for just two hours at a slew of some of the busiest airports in the U.S., including New York JFK, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami and, of course, Dallas Fort Worth.
The picket is to be held just as negotiations enter a “critical phase” with the union warning flight attendants that American Airlines is attempting to “weaken” certain provisions in the existing contract.
“They need to see we are unified and committed to get the Contract we deserve,” the union told its members in an attempt to rally as many flight attendants to show up in the cold of mid-January.
But could those flight attendants be tempted to stray from the picket line in order to enjoy a free cup of chilli at the expense of American Airlines? As reported by View from the Wing, the carrier is offering free food to ‘celebrate and say thanks’ to flight attendants.
The union has a growing list of complaints about the airline, claiming “management does not care” about flight attendants. As well as attempting to negotiate a new contract, the union is also irked about AA’s refusal to return onboard staffing levels to pre-pandemic levels.
There is also a campaign to get American Airlines to pay flight attendants for boarding – a move that would copy Delta but could go at the expense of other possible pay rises.
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.