Here’s an odd story that I cannot quite figure out. It happened on my recent American Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Chicago and involved a flight attendant who apparently decided she no longer wished to work after showing up for work, but then stuck around for a little while.
American Airlines Flight Attendant Changes Her Mind, Decides To Walk Off My Flight
My flight was delayed in boarding. While the gate agent at LAX only announced it was due to a crew staffing issue, I overheard her complaining to her colleague that a flight attendant had checked in, boarded the plane, then decided she did not want to work. A reserve crew member was called and would be arriving shortly (it took closer to 30 minutes).
Finally, we boarded once the reserve flight attendant arrived. Onboard, a smiling flight attendant welcomed me onboard. Don’t begrudge me for saying this was a very beautiful woman who easily could have been a runway fashion model. I sat down in my seat. She continued to welcome people onboard.
But when boarding finished, she gathered her things, said goodbye to two flight attendants, and left.
It was her.
And I was confused.
- Why did she stick around once the reserve flight attendant arrived?
- What happened to make her decide not to work? A pilot who got cheeky? A flight attendant she did not get along with it? Maybe a family emergency?
- Did she get a call to go model or act? (Before you dismiss that, I know far too many people who moved to LA for that very reason to dismiss that theory)
- Are there penalties for cancelling work at the last minute?
Clearly, she wasn’t sick. Nope, she was all smiles.
So I turn to you. What do you think happened?
What makes this situation noteworthy, to me, is that the flight attendant decided to stick around and assist in boarding before departing. Has this happened to any of you? Why would a flight attendant simply decide to stop working but stick around and keep working?
Note: The image above is just a stock image, she did not look exactly like that.
I have been told by AA flight attendants (may all airlines?) that they don’t get paid until the flight actually takes off. Does anyone know details on this or have any idea if this is true?
yes that is true.
Yes that is true. I am a flight ✈️ attendant. You get paid for your time in the air, & that is it.
Yes, they are paid starting when the door closes until it opens, or for the amount of ‘blocked’ flight time – whichever is higher.
Some contracts pay an additional ~15 Or so minutes beyond landing but that’s it. Not paid for boarding or deplaning otherwise.
The correct company to get a good airline quote.
let Matthew know. I could use some clout around here.
This is true but a bit misleading because FA’s are essentially paid a salary with overtime- not hourly like this would imply. They have an hourly wage based on seniority, then are guaranteed (and required to work if necessary) a certain amount of “door closed” hours paid at this rate. If the airline doesn’t need them to actually fly those hours, they still get paid the same. Above the guarantee, they can try and get additional trips, and those are paid at the hourly rate (from door closed to door opened) multiplied by an overtime percentage. They also get a per diem for every hour they are actually away from their base on trips.
In the sense of “I’m not getting paid extra for this delay” it is a valid reason, but not in a “I’m not getting paid, so I’m working for free when I help you with your bags or serve PDBs” way.
Yes, there is the guarantee, good point. I don’t think my answer was misleading as much as their payroll calculations are intricate.
This is not true at all. Unless you are a reserve flight attendant. Line holders get paid for what they fly and what they fly only. I know this because I am an American airlines flight attendant.
And there is no “overtime pay” for picking up on your days off! You should really learn about our pay structure before you start commenting on it. Thank you!
Some of your information is correct and some is wrong. Every airline’s pay works differently. The hourly rate isn’t based on seniority, but years of service. You explained reserve pay. Not every FA is on reserve.
That’s not true at all; not sure where you get your information. We (I am a 34 year flight attendant) get paid hourly. We get paid from block-out to block-in which essentially is when the pilots release the breaks to when the set them again at the destination gate. It is very misleading when people say we aren’t getting paid while boarding and deplaning. It is sort of true and yet not. For example, if I am going on a 3 day trip and I sign in at 1pm on Monday and come back at 1pm on Wednesday I am gone a total of 48 hours. It’s called a 3 day because it touched 3 days. From the time I sign in to the time I walk away from the trip I am getting per diem; whether I’m helping passengers boars or sleeping in my hotel room. Per diem varies per company but with mine it is $2.25 per hour. Obviously not much. However, I am getting paid that during boarding and deplaning. The real hourly wage starts when we block out.
Hope that clears up some confusion and misinformation.
That only applies to a flight attendant on who is on reserve. Line holders are not guaranteed a salary and we are paid by flight hour beginning when the aircraft door is closed.
You are have been misinformed. The only flight attendants who receive a guaranteed number of hours are flight attendants who are on reserve, which means they are on call and are paid the guarantee because they are required to be available to the company 18-19 days out of the month and are required to be at the airport within 2-3 hours of being called. Line holding flight attendants do not receive hourly guarantees, they are paid by the hour and only for the time spent from door closure to door opening.
As people have commented, there is a difference in pay structures between reserve and line-holding FA’s. Most of my FA friends are young/junior, so that’s what came to mind. My point is still true that everyone gets paid a minimum salary regardless of if they actually fly or not. This became very clear in May 2020, when the AA FA union decided to make the junior FAs fly all the hours, while the senior people still got paid. First of all, many FA’s never make it out of reserve, which WN is warning their new FA’s will be for about 10 years, so this is their reality. Second, if you have sufficient seniority for a line, you know that you’re going to make more money than you would on reserve and your higher hourly rate is sufficient to cover the door-open/parking brake time.
The exact specifics of FA compensation are irrelevant though. Even if your compensation is affected by a specific time measurement (door close to door open, chocks on to chocks off, etc), the work you are being paid to do still includes travel to the airport, preparing for the service, helping with the boarding process, PDBs, etc. It only really becomes relevant if there is a delay, but that sucks for everyone and compensating for it could potentially create a moral hazard. A pilot once told me a story of how once the catering company didn’t load serving trays for Business or First class. The lead FA insisted they needed these trays for the service, and everyone waited an hour for catering to come back onboard. Once they finally got there, the Catering people said it would be another hour or two to get the trays, and the FA suddenly decided she didn’t care and that they should pushback.
I’m not trying to say that the FA at fault for the situation in the first place, but if FA’s got paid the hourly rate for the time they were in the airport or on the plane, she may have not had a problem with waiting another hour- causing missed connections and meetings for pax. The current structure incentivizes everyone to get the flight off the ground ASAP.
John don’t know where you got your information but it’s incorrect! I’m a Flight Attendant and been flying 25 years. We have a monthly guarantee. This is really for reserve FA. As a line holder (not on reserve) this “guarantee” only goes into effect if (for example) I am awarded trips for that month to Maui and the airline cancels all the Maui flights. I will then be paid my guarantee because the schedule was canceled by the airline. If during a regular day my trip cancels because of a mechanical I don’t get paid for that trip. I have to makeup that time. During weather situations when FA are sitting on the plane with passengers for hours and then the flight cancels we don’t get paid!
What you are saying is not true for all airlines.
It was a safety issue. She should be been question by her managers.
We get paid ‘block time’ – when the plane departs the gate to when it arrives at the gate.
Yes this is true for all airlines.
AA FAs do not get paid for boarding and deplaning ..we only receive expense , money a prorated amount ..approximate $1.10 for each 30 mins…
Only when the entry door is closed and brakes are released are we on the clock.
I believe Delta FAs are paid once the entry door is closed.
Another interesting tidbit I heard – if a flight attendant strains their back or otherwise injures themselves helping with a passenger’s bag that the passenger packed and brought on board *even though they can’t lift it themselves”, the flight attendant is SOL as far as worker’s compensation goes if they are unable to work.
This is a normal thing. Sometimes one crew member is delayed so they get a reserve crewmember to be there for boarding and then when the crewmember that is supposed to be on that flight arrives they will switch out.
a lot of times now AA has “airport” crew who just boards the flight (they don’t fly anywhere ever) but they put the uniform on and stay until the reserve arrives. Keeps the flights on time and helps operations.
“Airport crew” does leave the airport. Sometimes they get lucky enough to not get used. “Airport crew” comes to work with bags packed and so bc they can be used for an actual trip or just preboard.
Maybe you got to witness the moment someone had their life forever changed? A star born. A dream realized.
Even the most jaded of the glitterati had that moment of pure joy early on. The call back. The offer.
Hope that’s the case.
Likely scenario: scheduled flight attendant 1 showed up and left/or never showed up. Crew Scheduling then sent an FA (FA2) who was on-call sitting at the airport base, to help board, while scheduling looked for someone to fill FA 1’s spot. As soon as the backup/reserve showed up, since FA2 was getting paid to be at the airport all day anyway, she stayed to assist in boarding then left the plane.
Yes, American Airlines has “stand by” flight attendants at each base that sit standby assignment for six hours. (Though they only get paid for about 3 1/2 – 4 hours.)
Sometimes the flight attendants sit there on call and never get called out, just to go home at the end of their six hours. Sometimes they’re called to assist in boarding a flight, and then they go back to the standby room in operations. And sometimes they get assigned a last-minute flight to work.
I wish passengers would consider these “scheduling uncertainties” before blowing a gasket the next time they’re on a flight that blocks out and then has to park in the penalty box before takeoff, or make S-turns enroute, burn circles in the sky overhead, or shut down an engine after arrival waiting on a gate. The crew has a schedule and a family/friends/significant other waiting on them, too, and are just as subject to flight disruptions. Yeah, schedule disruptions are inconvenient as Hades – but we’re all in the same plane (re boat).
Or, the original crew member was running late etc. She probably was a standby covering for the missing crew member.
I’ve had it happen, and I’ve been the one doing it, for various reasons. Most recently, I was a last minute replacement for a FA whose husband was sick with covid. Mid-boarding, the company reversed a previous decision and decided she should go into quarantine, and I replaced her. I left once when I got suddenly and violently ill during boarding, but before departure; this is pretty common, as are family emergencies and family deaths. Sometimes one is not legal (for crew rest or days off or training) for the flight and is hashing it out with supervisor/scheduling until the last minute when the company finally acknowledges the obvious illegality.
She probably continued to work until departure to give the replacement FA time to figure out what position she was working, where she was going and for how long (and giving her time to phone or text family/childcare providers with that info), to stow her luggage and to check her emergency equipment.
And to Dave Edwards, we get paid block to block – when the blocks are removed from the wheels for departure to when the blocks are put on the wheels for arrival (or door close to door open).
Exactly! Thanks for posting.
The fact they wrote a whole article about this is ridiculous. The flight went out and they got to their destination. Is this really why straws the media is grasping for nowadays?
Never met a FA I didn’t like.
Including a girl friend, who was a “srewardess” back in the day.
Maybe she just saw you, Matt.
Is it possible that this FA could’ve been on airport standby, and they brought her up to help board the flight while the new FA was on the way? Guess not since you were delayed boarding, but I’ve seen scheduling do stranger things. Once saw scheduling put an entire reserve crew on an airplane to board it while the working crew was delayed inbound.
Yes very possible. I’m an FA and my airline will often send a standby FA to start boarding if the original FA is delayed or noshow. This is because FAA requires a certain number of FAs onboard before boarding can start., they use the standby to meet the minimum FA requirement so they can start boarding ,then when the original FA shows the standby leaves, they close the door and pushback.
Why am I not surprised that a blogger wouldn’t know the obvious, most likely answer?
She got her gates mixed up. Charlotte not Chicago…♂️
I don’t think this is the exact same thing, but I saw something similar in a vlog of a WN flight attendant. She was working reserve and she was called to board the passengers because the scheduled crew’s incoming flight was late. If the crew was still late she would end up having to work the flight. Luckily the crew showed up so she only had to board the passengers. Obviously your case seems a bit different, but there are a bunch of weird intricacies to FA scheduling.
She was probably just helping out and her flight ended at that point and she was riding flight back to her base to go home!
I’ve encountered this before, the flight attendant (US Air Shuttle, LGA-DCA) who had to leave suddenly, crapped his pants big time. And he made it known to crew and passengers. We were all glad he left. Replacement came quickly.
She remembered that the stove was still on and had to go back home to turn it off
who gives a fk? get a life. its a flight, bus ride from here to there. our schedules, faa regulations and company rules are a huge chalkboard of equations that you wont understand until you are a flight attendant.
They could have “borrowed” a flight attendant for the boarding process, and then once the actual flight attendant arrived, the “reserve” flight attendant was released back to reserve. It’s a standard way of handling a delayed crewmemeber; rather than wait until the flight attendant arrives, borrow one from reserve or another flight until the permanent one arrives
For the uniformed people regarding this rare phenomenon in the airline industry is that often times crew managament at airports ask flight attendants to cover just boarding while the other fellow crewmembers are running late it could be that she or he is arriving from another flight, so flight attendants that worked the previous flight might stick around just to board passengers because you need a minimum amount of crew members to board a plane….
Soo noo she did not just leave because of your assumptions state above she was just covering for another crew. SO STAY INFORMED BEFORE YOU BASH AA AGAIN!
Can we write an article about this author stating.. get your shit together before you throw it?
Are you sure you heard correctly? Often times the airlines will use flight attendants who are sitting OPR (airport reserve) to board a flight until a late flight attendant scheduled to work the flight arrives. The reserve flight attendant then disembarks and returns to reserve. That sounds to me like what the situation could have been. It could have also been that they pulled a flight attendant sitting OPR to board the flight until another flight attendant called off of regular reserve could arrive.
You titled this article incorrectly. It should’ve been…. “Mind Yo Business”. There are at least half a dozen reasons why this happened. But, instead of asking straight up, the author decided to offer up his own snark first. How, why and for whatever reasons a particular airline uses their crew members is none of your business. Did the agent or the pilot make an announcement letting the passengers know there was a delay due to a Crew Manning issue?? If yes, that’s it. That’s all you’re entitled to. If not, then there should’ve been some type of apology given for the delay, especially if it caused a disruption in your travel plans. But, honestly, any other personnel information is no one else’s business. Period.
Absolutely perfect response..
Please see mine below..
I guess noone else ever got bad news after their day has started
With the way things are today, she just walked off the job because she hated it! As most everyone does today!!!
“It was her.”
“her” should be “she”.
Took one look at your ODD nes and decided to run…. just saying.
i’m going with family emergency.
Maybe she was tired of having to wear a mask at work all day on a plane that is claimed to have the cleanest air on earth. We all have our limits. She didn’t want to be rude and just advised her co-workers that she was done and then left.
Do you think a personal issue may have came up? IE she got a message one of her children or any family member was sick.. should she have to explain that to you.. Maybe she was professional enough to maintain her positivity to the passengers and hide her own personal feelings.
Have you never gone to work and had to go home for to any unforeseen circumstance?
Wow! Y’all put a lot into all of that. Literally who cares?
Instead of posting misleading information, y’all should just ask a flight attendant herself. We have airport “standby’s” who sit in operations rooms for last minute needs. (Misconnecting crews, last minute sick calls, a FA is running late etc). You can’t board a flight without the “minimum crew” for that flight so I’m sure she stepped in to help board the flight and then was replaced by a FA who would actually work the trip. The gate agents probably didn’t know the full story. Would also like to add that we are not salary paid. If you are on reserve a.k.a. on call, you do you get paid a minimum amount of hours. But if you are a line holder you get paid for what you work. Every airline handles reserve differently but for me personally I am on reserve every other month. If I only fly 40 hours on a line month, I get paid for 40 hours.
Why do you even care? Are we that tapped for creative ideas? Another attendant was called in so everything was covered. Geez get a life.
How do you know she was beautiful, didn’t she have her mask on?
Oh honey, this happens all the time. Reserve FA’s are asked to pre-board flights for the working crew, maybe the working crew is late coming in on a previous flight, the FA is late, the possibilities are endless!
Get a grip. She’s an adult. Sugar happens! We never know what someone is going through. The audacity for the writer to even blog about this is baffling.
It’s meant to stop a delay. You board and wait until the scheduled flight attendant is at the plane. Happens everyday.
The ‘staffing issue’ you overheard the gate agent talking about generates a standby assignment that sends an a flight attendant to the gate so that boarding can start because the FAA requires the entire crew to be onboard prior to boarding a passenger. Your flight attendant was a place holder until the flight attendant who was scheduled to work your trip could arrive -maybe she is caught in LA traffic, on a bus from the parking lot that broke downpour, or got called out with short notice to replace someone who just got their positive COVID test results back. The placeholder flight attendant, called a standby, takes her bags in case the assigned flight attendant does not make departure. If the assigned flight attendant makes it to gate on time, the two crew members switch places, and the standby goes back to the ready room to await another assignment. This process happens every day, thousands of times, if the flight originates from an airport that is a crew base for the airline. The fact that you mentioned her appearance denotes an interest in her beyond her duties as an emergency first-responder….shame on you.
I am a former FA for AA. There are a million different reasons that woman decided to “take off” ( or NOT to take off). We have a very strong union and she may have had an emergency or just didn’t feel like working or something better came along for the day. She probably got penalized. We accrue “points” for bad behavior like this. My guess is she wasn’t in jeopardy of any punitive actions so she could “call in” after she was already at work. The reason it took 30 minutes to get the reservist on board was that they had to contact him/her and get them to the gate. That could easily take that amount of time in an airport as big as LAX.
I am going to assume that you were paid to write this article, just as you assumed that the pretty model-esque flight attendant was the flight attendant in question who signed in and then opted to leave. No where in your article did it say where you had confirmed your information to be factual. In fact, there are so many scenarios that you have absolutely no knowledge about when it comes to how flight attendants work. My guess is that this was probably one of those scenarios. The fact is that the airline is required to have “minimum crew” on board the aircraft before they can begin boarding passengers. If for any reason, a flight attendant who was assigned to work the flight was not able to, there are airport standby flight attendants sitting in the ready room at all times, and it is those flight attendants who are called upon to provide minimum crew on board so that boarding can proceed on time. This is done in the hope that a reserve flight attendant, who will then be called to backfill on that flight, will be able to arrive at the airport, walk on the aircraft, and the aircraft can then get underway pretty much immediately. What you don’t know is that a reserve flight attendant has a two hour call out time… Meaning they must be able to sign in for the flight within two hours from being called by crew scheduling. That accounts for their time to get ready, leave their house and travel to the airport, then get to the gate. If I were to guess as to this described scenario, I would guess that FA1 checked out for whatever reason; then an Airport Standby flight attendant was brought up from the Ready Room to assist in the boarding process, while everyone waited for the reserve flight attendant who was now assigned the trip in place of FA1, to arrive and check in. That’s just my assumption. Then again, I assumed that you were paid to write this article.
I flew for American Airlines for 12&1/2 years.
The point is not about money, it’s about her leaving the flight. Flight attendants are people too and have lives. Some family emergency could have occurred or she may have been feeling sick..
Sometimes a reserve flight attendant is called to just board the plane until another one can take over. This is a stupid article.
She was probably covering for the second flight attendant who was running late.
Why is this even an article? The flight attendant couldn’t get off until the reserve flight attendant arrived, per the FAA. She was a professional who continued to do her boarding responsibilities (yes, unpaid) until she could leave. She might have had an emergency at home or was ill, or any number of reasons which are none of your business.
It was an article because I was curious. Thanks for helping me understand what was going on.
Crew Scheduling could have told her to help board the aircraft until her replacement arrived. Full crew is required for boarding the plane.
So our airlines allow you to get off the trip if it delays more than 3 hours as long as there is reserve coverage. This is what it sounds like. I doubt she quit.