American Airlines Will Give Flight Attendants Up To 300% Pay To Show Up For The Holidays

American Airlines melted down at the end of October without enough cabin crew to work flight. This followed a meltdown in June caused by not having enough Boeing 737 pilots. United Airlines sent an email to all its customers throwing shade at them, and suggesting they book United for the holidays.

In order to prevent a repeat of the October flight attendant debacle, American Airlines is throwing money at the problem (err, at the flight attendants).

Lineholders will receive 150% pay (100% credit, 50% pay no credit) for sequences (greater of scheduled or actual time flown) that the Lineholder actually flies on any day during the following Holiday Peak Periods:

  • November 23, 2021, through November 29, 2021, and
  • December 22, 2021, through January 2, 2022. 

Lineholders and Reserves with a schedule who have no absences/removals from November 15 through January 2, 2022, will receive an additional 150% pay, for a total of 300% pay (100% pay and credit, 200% pay no credit) for time flown (including standby) on any day during the Holiday Peak Periods (November 23-November 29, and December 22-January 2).

In addition, and in some ways this may be the most important piece for reliability, American will give crew confirmed space to fly to the start of their trips. Too many flights have been cancelled due to lack of crew because the crew couldn’t fly to their assigned trip on American Airlines – often because trips get changed at the last minute, and crew were standing by for flights after nonrevs were already cleared onto planes for leisure.

Taking up revenue seats to fly employees during peak holiday periods, where flights typically sell out, is expensive of course but cancelling flights is also expensive.

For sequences that originate during the Holiday Peak Day Period, the Company will provide inbound Positive Space (A12) travel on American Airlines mainline, PSA, Piedmont, and Envoy, to Commuters scheduled to fly a sequence/standby shift from the Commuter’s home to the Commuter’s Base for the purpose of operating the awarded/assigned sequence or standby shift.

Additionally, you may request positive space travel for your first and/or last scheduled Reserve Availability Period (RAP) in your reserve block that begins or ends within a Holiday Peak Period.

These moves should help deliver a reliable operation by incentivizing crew to pick up extra shifts, not to call out sick for shifts when they might prefer not to work, and making it possible to reach their trips in the first place.

Other work groups receive premium pay for the holidays, too – this is going to be expensive.

It also underscores just how poorly American has managed its workforce, and didn’t ‘keep everyone on staff and ready to fly once customers returned’ and they rebuilt their schedules, which was the point of the $10 billion in direct taxpayer money they were given. At least now, I suppose, their spending a little bit ore of that Payroll Support 2 and 3 cash on incremental staffing (since most of the money went to payroll costs they’d have incurred anyway, effectively subsidizing shareholders and creditors).

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. AA should post a sign outside its planes that says “sorry staff storages no one wants to work anymore”. If it works for restaurants to get positive Fox News coverage why not airlines haha

  2. Mon, truthfully the sign should read
    “…nobody wants to be abused slaves anymore.”

    “You can pay me now or you can pay me later.”

  3. Good to see corporate greed buckling and having to pay a fair wage to frontline workers when conditions demand it.

  4. Use to be a career thousands were lining up for. Not too much anymore, due to a few crazy people who spoil it for the masses and Company Officers and Police n Government do nothing to change this. Time to step up Boss.

  5. ITS NOT THE SHORTAGE it’s management’s incompetence, they KNEW they didn’t have enough staff on every level (FAs, pilots, crew scheduling, hotels desk, customer service) to support the operation and they STILL opened up and scheduled the volume of flights they operated in 2019
    Thousands less staff = theoretically not opening up the scheduling of flights to the level you flew with thousands more staff
    Sick of them spinning it any other way to the media

    Signed- a used and abused and exhausted (yet still showing up for work) AA flight attendant

  6. I’m glad they’re taking steps for the holidays but I don’t think AA’s problem is industry specific. All over the country employers are having a hard time getting employees to show up….from retail to snowplow drivers.

  7. IM sure the Union will try and stop this so its members do not go over their limit of flight hours

  8. Now what is AA going to do for the work groups that get the customer and their luggage to the aircraft?? Last year over the holidays no tokens were given like a block of cheese like in the years past. Giving them a meal on the holiday isn’t enough

  9. Smart move by AA management. They’re in a terrible situation of their own making and this should help a lot while they correct for prior shortsightedness. This is seemingly the best of a bad set of choices.

  10. It’s takes a more than flight attendants and pilots to run an airline what about the pee-ons do they not count?

  11. This is how it should be.

    If you want people to work holidays, make it worth their while and pay them. I remember when I was in my 20’s I would pick up some shifts on Christmas day for doubletime pay and such. At the time, it made sense to me – And allowed people with families to have the day off. Now I’m the person who needs to the day off.

    Sound policy.

  12. Union scum being union scum.

    Just fire them all, take the hit, and start again.

    You signed up to do a job. Do it; or go away. And ideally be penalized and made unhirable.

  13. A great solution to reassure passengers and flight crews that AA can be reliable. We cannot have a repeat of these meltdowns that plague the industry. Poor management is the problem. I hope they fire every single manager and director that refused to accept accountability for the way passengers and employees were treated. Time to hire competent problem solvers who can come up with resolutions instead of excuses. This Halloween meltdown was worse than the old Soviet Union. Not “one suit” was on the frontline to help. They either hid, went to lunch or were dancing at the Halloween party at HQ. AA stock is up again….thankfully. Bring in the experts to run this place like a well oiled machine. It can be done.

  14. @ JoJo The union didn’t want to prevent it’s members from being able to pick up shifts over contractual maximum monthly hours, they just didn’t want American from assigning flight attendants to flights past contractual limits. Volunteer for extra hours, OK. Being forced to is a contract violation. Younger flight attendants sometimes volunteer for extra flights to make up for the lower pay they get. Crew scheduling can even ask for volunteers.

  15. Not a terribly efficient solution, but considering AA pocketed the lion’s share of the bailout money, they’re still ahead of the game having furloughed tons of employees

  16. I hope AA had plans to pay extra for the rest of the workers who will also keep the operation running. I am the only member of my family not joining in the Thanksgiving festivities. I’ve worked extra hours every week since March. I worked through the pandemic. I keep showing up in spite of abusive passengers because of the appreciative ones. It’s NOT because of management who doesn’t care for me on life’s journey…

  17. @Fred – really? Union scum?

    This was not action done by union collective bargaining, but management addressing and preventing potential issues based on past experience

    Isn’t this an example of a free market action?

    There is demand, price reflects demand.

    Airlines have always filled their roster using a bidding system.

    To envision a world where one would be forced to work a holiday at standard rates… well wouldn’t the expectation there be nearing slave labor?

    Is this the expectation of your value of your labor in life?

  18. I was wondering if these American airlines is hairing omani cabin crew member experience. Or no?

  19. Classic example of taxpayers (the vast majoirty of which will not be involved with American) subdizing totally inept executive managment. I would be willling to bet, end of the day, the pressure will be so great on the front line folks running the actual operation that not to repeat the recent fiasco this program will trigger all sorts of crew legality problems that will be disregared and swept under the table.

  20. LOVE IT! Can poor American do anything right? I feel sorry for people who have invested in their loyalty program … lots of miles to use but who wants to fly on American?

  21. Im very late in commenting but i just now read this story, I was a flight attendant almost 50 years ago when flying was a whole different ball game. I loved the job. It was fun. Give these younger kids who are working as F/A’s a break. They put up with rude customers, uncertain schedules, aircraft that carry so many passenger’s it would make my head swim! I am 71 now and I certainly could not handle the stress these young kids are enduring. Don’t be so judgemental. Be kind.
    From a former “old school” Flight attendant

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