As travel ramps up faster than new hiring, American Airlines faces a dour new reality: it is constantly behind the eight ball when it comes to operations. With no room for error, a local storm can ripple through the system canceling thousands of flights, as we have witnessed over the last week. In an attempt to stave off repeat performances during the holidays, American Airlines is wisely incentivizing flight attendants to step up using the most persuasive arrow in its quiver, the green one: money.
Smart Move: American Airlines Bribes Flight Attendants To Boost Holiday Work Hours
Live and Let’s Fly has previously reported that flight attendants at American Airlines are growing weary. It goes beyond extra hours and gets to sudden schedule changes and route assignments that disrupt plans and lead to additional fatigue. But it goes even beyond that when hotel reservations and transportation are not properly lined up, making a bad situation even worse.
Rather than promise that it will try harder, American Airlines has reached out to flight attendants in a pair of memos on Friday, promising them triple pay for working holiday flights.
The memo, as noted in The Wall Street Journal, promises two big incentives to work:
- 150% pay over peak periods during the holiday season
- Triple holiday pay for those who have no absences between November 15th – January 2nd
That second point is sure to raise objections and even charges of bribery in that it encourages flight attendants to come to work sick. No doubt that it does, but that’s on flight attendants, not American Airlines. The 300% pay bonus will also encourage many to come to work who may otherwise just stayed with family and friends for the holidays.
Think about making 3x/month your current salary over a 47 day period. Although the two-week lead-time is small, I’d certainly move appointments and obligations to make that happen.
And this is what American Airlines should have done from the start. Asking flight attendants to volunteer for extra work or endure longer duty assignments out of sense of duty and obligation is a tough sell when you can’t even arrange hotel shuttles and you also force flight attendants to be mask enforcers onboard and further pit them against passengers by offering no food or alcoholic beverages for sale onboard. This is the smarter way.
Maybe I’m too optimistic, but I think this plan will work well. I think flight attendants at American Airlines will step up and even with the continuing pilot shortage and unpredictable weather, this will help operations run more smoothly during the holiday period.