Delta Air Lines has recently introduced a new policy that requires new hire flight attendants to complete ‘community service’ in order to pass their probation and continue working for the Atlanta-based carrier.
Examples of the type of work that Delta expects its newbie flight attendants to take part in include pulling weeds in local parks, helping out at a food bank or preparing food for a soup kitchen.
Delta has long encouraged staffers to take part in voluntary community work and is often recognized for giving back to its local communities, although a spokesperson for the carrier confirms that this latest policy is mandatory and a required element of a new hire flight attendant’s probation.
“Newly-hired Delta flight attendants participate in community volunteer activities as part of their paid employee onboarding program,” the airline confirmed to us in a statement.
“These volunteer activities exemplify Delta’s people-focused culture and our strong belief in giving back to the communities we serve.”
Sources claim flight attendants are scheduled a day to complete the community service in between their normal flying duties and are paid around four hours’ worth of wages.
Earlier this year, Delta was recognized as one of the most community-minded companies in the United States. In May, Delta volunteers gave up their time to help build a playground in Miami, while volunteers in Salt Lake City helped build sandbag defences to help protect the city from flooding from historic snowfall in April.
The airline also frequently donates money to various charities and causes, including the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, relief efforts in Ukraine and the American Red Cross. Delta even hosted 350 blood drives across its network last year, donating 14,743 units of blood for the 2022 financial year.
It’s what Delta calls being a ‘purpose-driven’ company, which Tad Hutcheson, Delta’s managing director of community engagement describes as “giving back to the communities where we live, work and serve”.
Being ‘purpose-driven’ is, Hutcheson says, “core to Delta’s culture,” but it’s not just about voluntary work. A couple of months ago, Delta CEO Ed Bastian described how the airline was bringing purpose-driven products onboard its flights.
Eco-conscious dining ware, artisan-crafted amenity kits that have helped employ people in rural communities in Mexico, healthy snacks and kid-friendly meals are just some of the ways that Delta is introducing these purpose-driven products to customers.
Like many airlines, Delta has managed to rebuild its business following the darkest days of the pandemic by hiring tens of thousands of new staff in one of the biggest recruitment campaigns the carrier has ever witnessed.
Some observers suggest the new community service element of the flight attendant probation period is a way to ensure that new hire crew members are committed to the Delta culture.
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.