Delta Air Lines To Pay Flight Attendants During Boarding in First for U.S Airline Industry

Photo Credit: Karam Sodhi/AviationSource

LONDON – Delta Air Lines has announced that it will pay its flight attendants during the boarding process in a first for the U.S airline industry.

According to a memo from the airline, this form of compensation will begin on June 2, which will amount to half of their hourly rates.

As reported by The Hill, Delta said the following in a statement:

“The addition of boarding pay to flight attendant compensation is a testament to Delta’s longstanding commitment to deliver industry-leading pay to our industry-leading team while enhancing our operational reliability for customers”.

Move Made To Bat Off The Unions…

The Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) has welcomed this move but argued that this was made amid the organization’s campaign to unionize the 20,000 flight attendants at the carrier.

“(The) 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”.

Previously, flight attendants would only be paid once the doors on the aircraft have shut, meaning that during the boarding process, the crew was not being paid.

Delta has been seen doing this already, especially with the airline raising the pay for most of its 75,000-strong workforce by four percent back in March.

Boarding Time to Increase… Is Delta Nervous?

The boarding time on Delta flights will increase from 35 to 40 minutes as well, which means flight attendants will benefit further from this as well.

With all that in mind though, Delta is quite nervous about the unionization filing put forward by the AFA. The association added:

“As we get closer to filing for our union vote, management is getting nervous.”

“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.”

What Is AFA’s Unionization Campaign?

This campaign dates back to 2019 when AFA is seeking to organize and pass mass unionization amongst carriers such as United, Spirit, Alaska & Frontier, who they already represent.

With AFA wanting Delta flight attendants to join the motion, it may not be as easy as they think.

Flight attendants at the Atlanta-based carrier have previously voted down such efforts in 2002, 2008, and 2010.

With Delta placing the new pay system in by June, this may result in the motion being voted down for the fourth time, which would fail the union’s efforts in that regard.

Looking Ahead…

Now that Delta has made these changes, all eyes will now be on the flight attendants to see whether they are satisfied with the new policies being put in place.

If they aren’t, then this will work well in the favor of the AFA, and will no doubt cause some big news in the months ahead if the crew were to all be unionized.

Because after all, 20,000 flight attendants is a big number, and if they join the AFA, they could cause a lot of carnage for Delta, especially when the Summer 2022 season is going to be an important period for sales.

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