There are a lot more employees at U.S. airlines than are needed to work flights right now. So many of them are being paid a guaranteed minimum number of hours. The federal government has so far awarded more than $23 billion in payroll subsidies to make sure this happens.
At American Airlines some of the required hours didn’t get paid during the mid-May pay cycle, and in fact many flight attendants whose scheduled flights were all cancelled received $0 checks. Others who got some pay appear to be missing hours.
I’m seeing comments on social media like one from a flight attendant who was paid for 28.5 hours when they were supposed to receive 55 hours. Another whose check was shorted 19 hours.
Since current procedures are being handled outside of the way the airline’s pay systems were programmed, payroll didn’t get done. Apparently everyone’s guarantee or make-good hours need to be entered manually. There are approximately 13,000 flight attendants at American Airlines.
According to the airline’s flight attendants union,
The Company has advised that the April flight hours and contractual pay protections (reschedules, last sequence/last series, crew sub) that falls under the [Joint Collective Bargaining Agreement] will be paid on the 05/15 check. The April monthly guarantee (cancellations) that fall under the [Letter of Agreement] are being handled manually and will be paid in a separate check no later than 05/30. The Company advised that they will make every effort to have it paid sooner, rather than later.
With more employees than work at an airline that has reduced its schedule by almost 90% they might consider bringing in staff from outside of payroll accounting to help with the lift. In the meantime many American Airlines employees will have to wait to get paid.
Update: a response from American’s Senior Vice President of Flight Service is now being shared in social media,
We have been working with Crew Compensation to understand the path forward and timeline. They had processed on time all the existing pay protections in the contract, but the incremental letter of agreement with the line guarantee was a manual pay process.
The good news is that this process has been completed and it is being submitted tomorrow for a separate check to be issued. We expect this to be deposited no later than Monday, Jan [sic] 18 into your account (one business day after you may have expected.)