United Airlines is closing flight attendant bases in Frankfurt, Hong Kong, and Tokyo effective October 1, 2020.
United Airlines Will Become A Smaller Airline October 1st
As CEO Scott Kirby has warned for weeks, United Airlines will shrink its workforce this autumn when CARES Act funding expires. The status of United’s international flight attendants has remained an open question and today United communicated to flight attendants that three international bases will close on October 1st.
United Closing Flight Attendant Bases In Frankfurt, Hong Kong, and Tokyo
In a note to flight attendants shared with Live and Let’s Fly, United outlines its plans to close flight attendant bases in:
- Frankfurt (FRA)
- Hong Kong (HKG)
- Tokyo (NRT)
Flight attendants who are eligible to work in the USA will have the opportunity to transfer to a U.S. base. Updates on base vacancies will be provided to flight attendants next month.
Explaining the decision, United told flight attendants:
“This was certainly a very difficult decision to make, and we recognize that closing any base places a hardship on those who live near those locations. In the current and future environment, we simply are not able to sustain an Inflight Base at these locations. Based on current information, we expect flight attendants based at these locations to have the opportunity to transfer to bases located in the United States, depending on their eligibility to work in the U.S., effective with the October schedule.”
The memo added:
“We know how difficult this news is and want to recognize the tremendous contribution to United by our flight attendants based in these locations. We can’t thank them enough for their service and we are committed to making the transition for our co-workers as easy as possible.”
United’s London Flight Attendant Base Will Remain
Flight attendants based at London Heathrow (LHR) will not be affected at this time.
No other base changes are expected at this time.
As someone who travels frequently to Germany, I will miss the Frankfurt base, though I still hope to see many of them in the future. Furthermore, I have been wowed by the service of Hong Kong and especially Tokyo-based flight attendants over the years…this is a real loss for United if they do not transfer.
The good news is that flight attendants will not necessarily lose their jobs. The bad news is that many who are unable to work in the United States will.