American Airlines Wanted Flight Attendants To Stop Selling Seniority. Its Union Said No Way.

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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. This is the big problem with unions. It isn’t that the bargain for higher wages or better benefits. It isn’t even that they generally protect bad workers from being fired. The biggest problem with unions is that they eventually tie up operations with so many rules that a company gets wrecked with endless inefficiencies and operational bottlenecks that often benefit almost nobody but waste tons of time and money.

  2. Not all unions are like this (just like not all unions are super restrictive about who can screw in lightbulbs).

    This is a *bad union*. That’s very much its own issue, just like bad management can ruin a workplace. Honestly, I’m shocked that AA acquiesced when the union pushed back, and I don’t personally think that reflects well on AA management. They either didn’t pre-clear this with the union, and/or don’t have the working relationship/political capital to muscle through even this basic issue of fairness for employees (ostensibly, this is exactly what unions should promote!).

  3. @Gary – that Alaska sale on Fiji is *up to* 50% off. The business class discount is much less exciting, at something like 27% for mainland US flights.

    Still a great discount, just not nearly as exciting as 50% would be. That IS a solid economy class discount, though!

  4. Isn’t it his practice actually to the company’s benefit? Say a 30 year FA making $100/hr sells their 35 hour DFWHKG trip to a new hire that makes $30/hr. The company pays $1050 in wages instead of $3500 for the trip. This creates a favorable rate variance. Company pretending to care about this is phony and they only pretend to care. Trust me, the company would be taking a much harder line if this practice occurred in reverse (junior $ selling to senior $$$).

  5. The real question is what American mgmt will do; will they roll over and accept the union’s refusal or will they fight back so that this has the potential to get messy.

    Part of American’s much higher than industry head counts is precisely because of schemes like this that exist throughout the company. Thousands, maybe tens of thousands of employees, work for AA for benefits but give their work away to others that work far more than full-time hours.

    Given that Wolfe Research expects AA to burn $4.4 billion in cash this year – right behind UA’s $6 billion, airlines have to do the cost cutting that many did not do during covid. AA has had a labor cost problem for years and they have to address it.

    This might be just the opening salvo….

  6. Officially you could get a Fiji business class ticket. Problem is, there is ZERO inventory from both LAX and SFO to NAN. So it is, in effect, just a discount for coach tickets. From April through November of this year.

    I’ve searched for years for business award seats on Fiji, and they are rarer than finding QF awards up front.

  7. I agree with @jon . . The “flight attendants union blocked them” link does not work.

  8. Names please flight attendant who fail to report income risk fines and penalties for under reporting income filing false returns and would lose security clearance

  9. I am a senior flight attendant in a major air lines that does not allow this practice.This stops new flight attendants from remaining with the company, it lowers morale, and it is basically unethical.
    These selfish greedy flight attendants are purposely bidding for good trips in which they knowingly will not fly, and only bid to sell. Hence, there is no incentive for them ever work when they can get pay for doing absolutely nothing. It is a complete scam.

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