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Etihad Airways Copies U.S. Carriers And Will No Longer Pay Flight Attendants For Boarding and Other Duties

Etihad Airways Copies U.S. Carriers And Will No Longer Pay Flight Attendants For Boarding and Other Duties

a woman in a uniform in an airplane

Etihad Airways has taken a leaf out of the book of U.S.-based carriers and will no longer offer flight attendants ‘boarding pay’ as part of their wages. The practice of not paying crewmembers for boarding and other duties on the ground is being challenged by several unions in the United States, and the practice has already been eliminated at Delta Air Lines.

Just like at many airlines, flight attendants at Etihad Airways receive a basic wage along with an hourly allowance for flying time. Until now, flying time was calculated for their entire duty period from the moment that a crew member checked in to when they disembarked the aircraft at the end of the flight.

This meant that flight attendants were being paid for important ground-related duties like the pre-flight briefing, security checking the aircraft and boarding passengers. It also meant that crew were being paid while passengers were disembarking and a short time after in order to complete more security checks.

From February 1, however, Etihad will no longer pay these flying allowances based on the overall duty period but instead by what is referred to as the ‘block hours’.

In simple terms, the block hours start from the moment the aircraft pushes back from the gate to the moment it arrives at the gate at its destination. It is sometimes referred to as ‘chocks to chocks’ because the clock starts when the chocks are removed, and the clock stops when the chocks are placed into position at the destination.

In an internal memo, Etihad said it was making the sweeping change because it was “industry standard to utilise block hours” and, as such, “it is a long overdue change”. The airline also explained that it would help simplify its business and scheduling systems because pilots are already paid by block hours.

To soften the blow, Etihad has promised to increase the hourly allowance rate by at least 30%, although flight attendants have still expressed their disappointment with the change.

On a good day, the change shouldn’t make too much difference to how much flight attendants at the Abu Dhabi-based carrier earn, but earnings could be significantly impacted during delays and disruption when an aircraft is stuck at the gate, but flight attendants are already on duty.

Although disappointed with the change, there is little that flight attendants will be able to do about it. In the United Arab Emirates, worker unions are forbidden by law, and it’s illegal to take part in a protest. Even criticising the status quo on social media could land people in big trouble.

In the United States, where ‘boarding pay’ is becoming a hot topic, Delta is so far one of only two airlines that pay flight attendants for boarding at half the normal hourly flying rate.

The union that represents flight attendants at American Airlines is battling with the carrier for the same provision, although contract negotiations have reached a stalemate and the union wants to be released to strike.

Meanwhile, the union at United Airlines believes that ‘boarding pay’ isn’t enough and has proposed paying flight attendants for the entire duty period – exactly the concept that Etihad is now eliminating.

View Comments (16)
  • After doing the calculations crew have discovered that the majority of them will be losing money each month. The 30% does not cover the lost wages and it is been used as a trick Etihads CEO arrogantly boasted they made 5.5 billion in revenue then announced the pay cuts from the employees with the sore feet and broken backs who work like animals onboard with minimum crew and poor onboard conditions. Please boycott this company it’s the only way to put pressure them and restore the benefits – the crew can not speak up or they will be deported. Boycotts work – BOYCOTT ETIHAD

  • Imagine being at work an hour early (required) yet not paid. This is pretty shameful across the board. On a separate note to the website: the way your ‘previous article’ tab pops out while I’m scrolling the page is super irritating. I came here via google discovery, but I won’t be back

  • Etihad Airways cheating their flight attendants!!!

    Delta Airlines and American airlines ARE PAYING FOR BOARDING !!!!


  • How do they get away with requiring people to work for no pay? If they are paid hourly, they should be getting paid for the time they are boarding. Seems like labor laws would require it.

  • It is a strange way that they figure compensation. They get pretty and pay of maybe $1.50 to $2.50 an hour from the time they show up to work at the airport until the time they finish up back at the same airport. So if they fly somewhere and then have 8 hours there and then fly back they get paid for those 8 hours that they’re away. Or if they fly and then they don’t come back until the next day they get paid for the whole night that they’re gone as well. But the pay for per diem is also paid while they’re flying and doing boarding. It seems to me the way they should be paid is like everybody else. Pay them a certain rate while they are working, whether it’s paperwork or meetings at the airport before boarding, and then pay them for the boarding, and pay them for the flight time, and pay them for the off-boarding, and then any post flight duties they may have. They might not even get paid any per diem for any hours. If they’re in some other Town overnight you pay for their hotel and their meals or if they’re just there for part of the day to pay for the meals, which is essentially what they’re doing with the per diem since it’s not a ton of money it’s basically just covering meals. A lot of people work jobs that require travel, and they get paid a salary while they’re working, and then typically hotels and meals are covered as well. Just do the same with the flight attendants. Pay them from when they start working till when they end working, and then pay for any hotels or meals when away from home.

  • Yikes. This is a move in the wrong direction. We are fighting for boarding pay in the US but only the non union airlines have it

  • The employees need to be paid from the time they are required to be on the job until their duties are completed on that day . The time away from home overnight also requires employees to be paid . Maybe the overnight stay is paid to a different level . But when employees are required to be at the airport you pay them for that time . Not very difficult and it seems fair for employees .

  • I was payed when the door was closed and the plane was closed that was my 77 hr monthly wages. That was a crime and they didn’t want me to be payed and clock my time for other flight attendant duties. I was a good flight attendant but that was not important

  • All that matters to the new CEO Antonoaldo Neves and the CRO Arik De are numbers to show to their board. This bunch of goons that have been imported from TAP Air Portugal are simply making moves to fill their pockets. The employee morale at Etihad is down. The attrition rate over the last 12 months is unbelievable. Taking away ‘work from home’ benefits, firing long-serving staff while they are on leave, and replacing them with their mates from Europe & LATAM is the name of the game. Every employee coming to work is afraid of whether they will have a job tomorrow or not. ITS A TOXIC ENVIRONMENT.

  • Etihad will never see me again. It is always about the ego for me. You make 5.5 B you can pay your staff. But these AD companies do anything to enrich themselves. Shame on you !

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