American Airlines Flight Attendants Union Offers Specific Proposals To Reduce Inflight Service

The American Airlines flight attendants union announced to its members on Wednesday that it has presented specific proposals asking the airline to reduce service offered to passengers.

APFA has proposed a temporary reduction to onboard service levels and customer touchpoints. Our goal is to maintain the highest level of Flight Attendant and passenger safety as possible onboard the aircraft. These proposed changes lessen the time that a passenger will not be wearing a mask and, in turn, limit Flight Attendant exposure.

APFA proposals include serving entreés with salad/soup/appetizers in premium cabins when possible and reducing main cabin beverage services on domestic and IPD flights. We have asked that these reductions in service be implemented immediately.

They want single tray service in international business (and first) class and reduced beverage service in coach on all flights. And they say this is to keep flight attendants safe.

Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to award incentives to employees for getting exemption from vaccination requirements. American reports that 96% of employees have either been vaccinated or gotten an approved exemption which, more or less, appears to mean asking for an exemption. And the company tells employees it is working with the remaining 4% to try to get them either vaccinated or to claim an exemption.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Yet another example of lousy AA service and another attempt to get out of doing their jobs. I wonder how many of people people are taking the same precautions off the plane as they are demanding on the plane?

  2. This may be a good time to as a question about the FA’s job.

    On medium/long distance domestic flights I have found that FAs are busy during embarkation and disembarkation and, in coach, during the drinks service and clean up.

    That is usually less than half the flying time.

    After meal service and cleanup, what do they do? They seem to disappear or hang around chatting. And all in sequence, like a shop sending everyone to lunch at the same time, even if that is the busiy time for customers.

  3. And yet with a straight face they want to talk about being a premier airline. Just own it: You’re Spirit Airlines — just with higher fares.

    And I say that as someone who got hooked on air travel flying AA many years ago.

  4. So if they want to perform less work, AA should get to demand a commensurate reduction in the amount of pay it has to dole out for such ‘reduced services’ rendered. Fair is fair…

  5. Temporary as in 2 years into COVID we still hear excuses for why so many can’t give basic service anymore.
    Other airlines can and will deliver service. AA management has to decide if they want to compete for revenue or be held at the whims of labor

    We will get a pretty good clue tomorrow morning when AAL reports its quarterly results

  6. Damn – why can’t I have a job where I can do half my work and still get paid my full salary/wage?? Some people have all the luck!

  7. ” We have asked for these reductions in service to begin immediately” And while you are at it, AA, how about no flights after 8 pm, weekends or holidays so as not to disrupt our precious personal time. What a disgraceful group of union leaders, trying to sell this as a safety precaution.
    YOUR PEOPLE DON’T WANT TO WORK. PERIOD.
    And AA, how about a counter proposal of a 15% pay cut to start immediately as well.

  8. Hope management doesn’t give in here. AA service during COVID already greatly trails their competition. Everyone is stuck on the plane together and the touch point notion is so failed to begin with. This doesn’t even begin to address that their request only now comes as cases are already on the decline.

  9. What does “reducing main cabin beverage service” mean ? At present, I understand that “main cabin beverage service” means that the cart rolls down the aisle one time to give out a single non-alcoholic beverage & one more time to pick up trash. Once in a while, an over-achieving FA comes by with a big water bottle after the “main service” to top off passengers who would like a bit more water. So does reduced main cabin beverage service mean there would be no beverage service ? So at that point the FA would have no routine or recurring main cabin passenger responsibilities beyond performing the safety demo for flights without the safety video, securing the verbal assent of passengers in the exit row, maybe making an announcement, and of course, hawking the credit card offers ?

  10. They should review how many people they pack into the sardine can…. I wear the mask as requested… I question that they put so many passengers on the plane with no space between. I am sitting elbow to elbow with parts of strangers touching sitting in the tiny non-reclining seats.. FA Union should be asking to leave the middle seat empty if they are so concerned about passenger safety.

  11. @Karl,
    I’m guessing reduced beverage service might mean being handed a mini water bottle at the time of boarding at the airport, and absolutely nothing after that! No more need for beverage carts in economy class which might become a way to create more space on the plane to add seats!

  12. Well, the AFPA has argued they are really EMS technicians and firefighters who can’t be bothered to serve a diet Coke. So this proposal makes sense, if you believe that.

  13. After detailed analysis of, and extensive cogitation over, this proposal, the key takeaways are that AA FA’s are lazy and have bad attitudes

  14. @Luke, I so badly want to believe you are wrong but every fiber of my being tells me you are probably right.

  15. Meanwhile over at United, we are back to PDBs on mainline domestic flights (most of the time), glassware is back, and we even have an inflight magazine again. And the crews have been fantastic, for the most part.

    Not sure why people continue to fly Charlotte Air and expect decent service.

  16. Most AA flight attendants have an attitude.

    They are lazy and want to be paid a premium wage on top of jetsetting for free.

    If less service – I request lower fares!

  17. Wow, the comments on this thread are terrible. Flight attendants are primarily there for safety. Depending on the route, they offer a service. The service this article is speaking of is a multi layer service that isn’t offered on any domestic flight. The closest is on a transcon. Flight attendants are not there for your entertainment, they are told to social distance as much as possible. They do the service and then try to stay as social distance as possible. They still do safety checks and if asked still offer service. Shame on some of you for your rude comments. I would love to know what you do for a living.

  18. Hey Maggie,
    you just might be an AA flight attendant but other airlines still manage to have their FAs perform all of the required safety features and STILL offer alot more service than AA is offering including selling and serving alcohol.
    The “they are just here for your safety” works if no one else offers service – but that is not the case no matter how badly AA’s FA union wants to be the rock that drags down service throughout the industry.

  19. @ Maggie They are all clueless keyboard cowboys who only feel better about themselves by putting everyone down , They KNOW NOTHING about a FA job and non of them would get hired if they tried !!

  20. I’ll start with disagreeing with the comments that AA flight attendants are rude or have attitude, because most of my flights are on AA and I have always had awesome FA’s on every AA flight I’ve had. I do think that the Union is way out of touch here. Reducing (eliminating) service for the sake of safety only makes sense if the prior services for two years were unsafe – you agreed to work in those conditions as more FA’s were vaccinated or claimed an exemption knowing the risks. And then why propose this change at the decline of Omicron cases?
    If the argument is that FA’s are primarily there for safety, then I do think AA should calculate how much extra it was paying FA’s for the non-safety portions of the FA jobs and reduce pay by that much. They hired you at a certain pay because you would be doing MORE than just the safety portion. If you are doing a new job function, your pay should be adjusted.
    Of course then we’ll hear from the Union how no one is applying to be an FA because pay stinks and there’s a shortage and high turnover…

  21. Since “touch points” are the newest phony outrage, will they still be handing out and collecting applications for their shitty credit cards….you know, the ones that the flight attendants get a commission on?

  22. What @Chris said, x10.

    Seriously, someone should raise this “concern” with AA regardless of what they do with the FAs.

  23. boom. @Chris wins the thread again. 5 stars. “We don’t want to serve free non-alcoholic beverages because touching stuff might give us cootees.” How about this – bring back alcoholic bevs in coach but for every drink sold the serving FA gets a buck fifty. Now are they for or against the return of that service ?

  24. you people NOT in the industry are IGNORANT!!! Were on an airplane with 180 of you, coughing, sneezing, handing us your snot rags, diapers, tobacco chew cups, banana peels, all uncouth! We dont have PPE like nurses! Ive had Drs. and nurses say They would NEVER do this job! Its to dangerous! Im embarrassed for you! No wonder everyone is quitting, you uneducated people to blame!

  25. I don’t blame the flight attendants. Why would they want to constantly be exposed to you idiots who are a bunch of COVID denying, anti mask, unvaccinated, entitled, Petrie dish, death on deck clown alcoholics who just want what they want regardless of how adversely it may affect theirs and their families’ health? Y’all who have an issue with this need to go to hell. Frfr.

  26. So exactly what would the airline (and by extension the passenger) be paying them for? Playing on their phones for the entire flight and only putting in some actual work during takeoff and departure? Also what is “reduced beverage service in coach”? I only get a single choice of a soft drink and if I’m lucky a bag of pretzels in the first place… Take that away and I’m pretty sure they could be replaced with C-3PO droids…

  27. Their job is to save your life in case of emergency. Not to waitress in the sky. Imho they should never serve anyone anything. U should be allowed to bring your own food drink and booze.

  28. @Waitress
    How many people have you “saved”?…..ZERO. The answer is zero. McDonald’s employees work harder than most flight attendants.

  29. Put a vending machine on a track and run it down the aisle every half hour. AA flt att dont even make announcements anymore. Out of the 3 airlines i fly, aa fa,s do the least.

  30. My last AA flight in domestic business, the FA quickly offered you one — emphasizing the ONE — snack from the basket and a quick drink and sat down playing on her phone and didn’t budge. At one point I tried to get her attention. Our eyes met, she quickly looked away and around as if she didn’t see me, then got up, went to the galley, pulled the curtain closed and hid there the rest of the flight.

    The flight before that, also in AA domestic business, the FA just hid behind the galley curtain the entire flight — only to pop out twice to quickly remind everyone to keep their mask on at all times — before jumping behind the curtain again to avoid anyone who may ask for something.

    Oh yeah, they’re just tooooo busy ensuring our safety.

  31. USAir flight attendants are jostling with USAir management to take AA down.

    I predict another cash grab from the government in 2 years or less.

    I have found some, as in less than a lot, less than many, less then a few, AA FAs to be actually be attentive to the customers. Rest are just mailing it in and plying Angry Birds behind the curtain.

  32. They should do that, and put the seats closer together. Keep adding to the pressure cooker and it’ll make flight attendants safer for sure!! Not like what they do should be considered service in the first place.

  33. If they want service cut then they should have thier pay. I would love to work a job where I can do half of my work but paid for doing all my work. Everything time on an AA flight I see the FA’s bring the drink cart down once and than go in back for social hours for the rest of the flight. The toutch points is just an excuse to getting out of doing their job duties while getting paid for performing all their duties.

    AA management should say no to the union or agree to it with a 75% pay cut for all flight attendants. It is not hard to pass out drinks wearing a mask and gloves. If the FA’s who are not vaccinated don’t want to do it, put them on unpaid leave until they are either vaccinated or agree to perform the duties they were hired to do or just fire the FA’s for failure to perform duties. Also AA should reduce fairs and FA’S pay and benefits by the exact same amount that service is cut.

  34. The FA’s job has always been about safety AND service (i.e. when they trained and took the job, they knew it involved close personal contact with customers and waiter service) Customers not only choose the airline for the schedule and price, but also for the comfort and amenities offered, otherwise Spirit and the likes would be way more successful. The FA’s wear protective gloves, they can double mask if needed. Airlines should be working on how can we give our customers more for their dollar, not less. Yes, FA’s do put up with difficult people and situations, but almost every job has that. The fact that their doing it in a closed environment in the air just gets more attention these days. By the way, I was flying about 30-40 flights a year before COVID and the FA’s were already hanging out in the back, social hour and playing on their phones. When they were attending passengers though, they were usually pretty nice. AA is going to lose big time on this one.

  35. As a husband of an AA flight attendant and a 250 K annual frequent flyer what amazes me about this article is that it could be written in a straight face.
    If I didn’t see union doesn’t care about safety, service, or professionalism.
    Asked and mentioned in precious comments the only thing they care about is less amount of work and to keep their pay. There’s not a single union management person who cares about being effective and professional flight attendants.
    When I’m around my wife’s fellow flight attendants it amazes me how Much they hate the passengers. If you’re up to them all the passengers would be seatbelted into the seats with mask covered for the whole flight never been able to get up talk or any type of service.
    American will give in to the demands because they just don’t have the courage to stand up to the union.

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