The union which represents around 23,000 flight attendants at American Airlines is demanding a 35 percent hike in hourly pay rates, as well as boarding pay and a slew of other salary improvements in its latest proposals in protracted contract negotiations with the Dallas Fort Worth-based airline.
If accepted, senior flight attendants at the top end of the pay scale would earn more than $95 per hour, while a new hire flight attendant could earn nearly $41 per hour – up from the current pay rate of $30.35 for a new joiner.
The Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) has also proposed that hourly pay rates increase by 6 percent for each year of the three-year contract. By the end of the agreement, a veteran flight attendant could be earning nearly $110 per hour.
The “comprehensive economic proposal” was presented to American Airlines on Thursday after the union analyzed various factors, including wages across the industry and the economy and inflation.
In a statement, the union admitted that there was still “lots of bargaining to end up with our final economic package” and that the final agreement could look much different than its initial proposals.
Along with bumper increases in hourly pay rates, APFA has also called on American Airlines to start paying flight attendants boarding pay – a contentious area that has long angered crew members because boarding can be one of the most stressful parts of the job.
Mimicking a boarding pay scheme from Delta Air Lines, the AA flight attendant union has proposed boarding pay at 50 percent of standard hourly rates.
Flight attendants also want pay increases for when they work in the galley, as well as working night shifts. The union is also seeking a rise in per diem allowance rates, along with a ‘me too’ clause that would see allowances increase automatically if pilots won a higher rate.
Earlier this week, chief executive Robert Isom appealed directly to pilots with the offer of bumper pay rises and an enhanced profit sharing scheme which APFA is now calling to be applied to flight attendants as well.
The union recently filed for federal mediation in an attempt to break the deadlock on a number of unresolved issues in the continuing contract talks. The act of filing for mediation is the first step on a long road to potential strike action.
Next month, the union is planning a series of high-publicity picketing events at 10 airports across the United States in an attempt to ratchet up the pressure on the airline.
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.