The union representing tens of thousands of flight attendants at American Airlines has blasted the carrier after its members found out via social media that a key route between Philadelphia and Madrid was to be suspended due to delays affecting Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner program.
Late last week, the Wall Street Journal revealed that American Airlines planned to temporarily axe the PHL-MAD route for around five weeks beginning in early May because of delays in receiving new 787 Dreamliners from Boeing.
A spokesperson for the Dallas Fort Worth-based carrier went on the record to confirm the delays, but the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) says it knew nothing of AA’s plans until they leaked in the media.
In a statement, the airline said it had already been in touch with affected customers to offer them rebooking options, but APFA says flight attendants based out of Philadelphia were kept in the dark.
“It is not acceptable that we found out about this via social media and not officially from the company,” the union said in a memo to its members on Sunday.
The airline currently serves Madrid with a once-daily service from Philadelphia using a Boeing 787-8 aircraft. That route will be suspended from May 5 through June 10, although the airline says the suspension is only temporary.
“We remain committed to our customers and team members and mitigating the impact of the 787 delivery delays while continuing to offer a robust international network this summer,” an AA spokesperson said ahead of the weekend.
Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner program has been affected by a slew of delays, including a near two-year shutdown to allow for an extensive safety review by aviation regulators. Deliveries resumed in August 2022 but were again briefly halted earlier this year due to documentation issues.
Boeing has once again been given permission to resume deliveries but the delays have caused “significant reductions” to AA’s planned long-haul schedules.
American Airlines is expected to receive four new Dreamliners this year and in 2024, as many as 12 are set to be handed over – unless, of course, another snag hits Boeing.
The Association of Professional Flight Attendants says it plans to take AA to task over the way its members found out about the route suspension during a routine meeting scheduled for early April.
A similar meeting held in March did not flag the potential for the PHL-MAD route suspension.
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.