American Airlines Sent 24,285 WARN Act Notices Today – Who’s Getting Them, What’s Being Offered

American Airlines told employees today that revenue was down 80% in June and they believe that’s “better than others in the industry.” And they shared that “demand for air travel is slowing again.” As a result they have to be prepared to slim down staff once government payroll subsidies run out October 1.

They believe they will have 20,000 too many employees at that point, but they’re sending out 24,248 notices of potential job loss. This number includes people who would be offered positions in other locations around the system. The actual number of people furloughed depends on how many employees take voluntary leaves and buy outs.

Here’s how the WARN Act notices break down by employee group:

Work Group # Notices %
Pilots 2500 18%
Flight Attendants 9950 37%
Maintenance 3200 22%
Fleet Service 4500 26%
Passenger Service 2900 30%
Reservations 1000 23%
Dispatch 175 36%
Instructors 50 15%
Flight Sim Engineers 10 7%

Only some employees receive an actual notice directly from the airline, a function of local law. For most notice is given to the union, who notifies employees of their status.

Yesterday I estimated that if American had to furlough 8000 flight attendants that the average age of those who are left would be 56, and that everyone hired since US Airways management took over the airline would be out.

Pilots here take the lightest hit because of the time and expense training them and bringing them back onto active duty when the airline needs them. As airline CEO Doug Parker put it to employees last month, “It makes zero sense to furlough a pilot in October if you’re going to need that pilot again in July.”

Pilots also get a special deal to take an ‘early out’. Everyone else with 10 years of service or more is being offered 456 hours of pay to leave voluntarily, paid out in a lump sum or spread over 12 months. Full details on pay, benefits, and travel can be found here.

The airline wants senior employees to leave because they’re more expensive. They want to keep junior, less expensive employees. That’s why senior employees are offered money to leave, and junior employees will simply be furloughed to make up the difference.

Employees with 10 or more years on the job are offered 30 months of benefits, anyone under 10 years taking an early out without pay gets 6 months of benefits. Employees whose age plus years of service equal 65 or higher also receive a retirement health reimbursement arrangement with “an initial value between $100,000 and $150,000” depending on how many years the employee has until qualifying for Medicare.

Those whose active years of service plus age equal 65 (with a minimum of 10 years of active service) get retiree (D2R) travel benefits, while those with less seniority get that status for 24 months. Employees will also receive 8 positive space passes to be used within 5 years.

The airline wants all of its employees to know, though, that they can keep their jobs for a few more months if the federal government provides more subsidies.

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, 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. Any American Airlines employee considering taking VEOP do not trust Parker! Many retirees accepted VEOP in the past with the promise (in writing) that they will continue with D2 travel. Parker came from USAIR and downgraded this promised benefit.

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