Unbeknownst to many, U.S. flight attendants are not paid until passengers are boarded and the doors are closed. All that time spent helping travelers finding their seats and assisting them with bags during boarding goes unpaid, hence the general urgency to get the doors shut.
Pilots also go unpaid but aren’t required to be on board nearly as long as flight attendants. All that is about the change as Delta Air Lines has announced that from June 2, they plan to pay its flight attendants from the moment they begin the boarding process. In the announcement sent to employees on Monday, the airline will also increase its minimum boarding time on narrowbody domestic routes from 35 to 40 minutes. In a release, the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA said:
Delta management announced this evening that Flight Attendants will be paid for boarding. It seems they are feeling the heat. Keep going! Every improvement they add now will get locked in when we vote for our union because they can’t retaliate and take it away.
This new policy is the direct result of our organizing—and a desperate attempt to prevent their other new boarding policy (D+40) from creating the kind of anger that it deserves.
As we get closer to filing for our union vote, management is getting nervous. In this case, they also know that changing domestic boarding time from 35 to 40 minutes without adding a benefit would create an uproar—just as the “test” in Atlanta did back in October.
Based on the range of wages (higher by seniority), flight attendants can see anywhere from $10.79 to $19.98 extra per flight, which comes on top of the 4% salary increase announced earlier in March this year. Transcon and international flights which tend to take longer to board passengers, could result in additional wages as high as $30 per flight depending the flight attendant’s level of seniority.
The AFA which represents over 50,000 flight attendants over multiple U.S. based airlines says they are proud that Delta has given in to their demands, but still wants to push harder in order to get its employees unionized in order to lock in contracts over a longer term period.
Today, let’s celebrate that our organizing is pushing management to do more than they would have without being challenged. And let’s double down on our campaign so we can secure a contract that locks in all of these benefits AND ensures we have a say in our pay, benefits and working conditions every day at Delta.
[Featured Photo: Bradley Wint/Gate Checked]