Delta Makes Big Move to Keep Flight Attendants Happy

Airline will be the first in the US to pay flight attendants during boarding
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 26, 2022 3:13 PM CDT
Delta Plans to Start Paying Flight Attendants During Boarding
ig.   (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)

Unlike most flight attendants at other major airlines, Delta Air Lines flight attendants aren't unionized—and the company may be trying to keep them that way with an offer to pay them during boarding, which would be a first for a US airline. Flight attendants are usually paid starting when the aircraft doors close, but Delta says boarding pay will start on June 2, at half the normal hourly rate, NBC reports. A 4% pay rise for flight attendants, the first since 2019, will also take effect in June. Delta says it is also increasing boarding time for smaller aircraft from 35 to 40 minutes.

"We are excited to bring this new benefit to our people and improve on-time departures and arrivals for both crew and customer," Delta said in a statement, per the Hill. The Association of Flight Attendants, which has been trying to unionize Delta's 20,000 flight attendants, said new policy is "the direct result of our organizing"—and there would have been an "uproar" if Delta had tried to increase boarding time to 40 minutes without offering attendants some kind of benefit in return.

The AFA, America's largest flight attendants' union, said boarding pay shows that pressure on management is paying off and workers should keep up the heat, Forbes reports. "Let’s celebrate that our organizing is pushing management to do more than they would have without being challenged," the union said in a statement, adding that without a contract, the airline can cancel boarding pay at any time. (Read more Delta Air Lines stories.)

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