United Airlines is offering a big bonus to flight attendants willing to work extra flights over the Independence Day holiday period as it seeks to rebound from an operational tailspin that has led to the delay or cancellation of thousands of flights this week.
300% Of Base Pay For United Airlines Flight Attendants As It Attempts to Regain Control Of Operations With Generous Bonus
It has been a very rough week for Chicago-based United Airlines. Trouble began over the weekend with a number of air traffic control issues then escalated with a fierce series of summer thunderstorms. The result has been a snowball effect of delays and cancellations approaching a meltdown. Per FlightAware:
- On Sunday, June 25, 2023, United Airlines canceled 338 flights (11% of its schedule) and delayed 1195 flights (41% of its schedule)
- On Monday, June 26, 2023 United Airlines canceled 589 flights (19% of its schedule) and delayed 1207 flights (40% of its schedule)
- On Tuesday, June 27, 2023 United Airlines canceled 785 flights (26% of its schedule) and delayed 1308 flights (44% of its schedule)
- On Wednesday, June 28, 2023 United Airlines canceled 629 flights (22% of its schedule) and delayed 1191 flights (41% of its schedule)
- Thus far today (as of 10:00 am ET), United has canceled 347 flights (12% of its schedule) and delayed 221 flights (7%).
A United spokesperson told Live And Let’s Fly that it expects operations to normalize by the holiday weekend:
We’re beginning to see improvement across our operation. We expect to cancel far fewer seats today compared to yesterday and our baggage backlog at Newark has dropped more than 30% since Tuesday, and off-duty flight attendants are calling in from across the country to staff open trips. It’s all-hands-on-deck as our pilots get aircraft moving, contact center teams work overtime to take care of our customers, and our airport customer service staff works tirelessly to deliver bags and board flights. As our operation improves in the days ahead, we will be on track to restore our operation for the holiday weekend.
One way it is trying to get operations back on track is by offering flight attendants a big bonus to pick up trips this week…to the tune of 300% of normal pay.
An AFA-CWA, the union representing United flights attendants, bulletin shares of the bonus:
We want to express our gratitude for your support in picking up the 300% offer, as it significantly benefits our flying partners. Your dedication is crucial, and we sincerely thank you for standing with us. It is our commitment to ensure that management provides reliable support to Flight Attendants amidst this disruption.
We are pleased to inform you that we are making progress in addressing the cancellations and delays, which is an encouraging sign. The company is regaining control over our operations, and we are actively working to resolve the numerous issues stemming from these recent events.
The period between June 28, 2023 and July 6, 2023 has been characterized as a “white/purple flag” event that triggers the bonus (far above the usual 50% bonus for working during this holiday period).
It does not appear that pilots–who are in the midst of fierce contract negations with United–have received a similar offer.
Flying United has been quite messy this week (I can certainly attest to this), but the carrier claims it is getting back on track and hopes for a smooth holiday weekend. That remains to be determined, but bonuses amounting to pay of up to 300% of normal levels to flight attendants over this period should certainly ensure there is sufficient crew availability during this difficult period.
image: United Airlines