Once American Airlines is no longer restricted from laying off employees as a result of the CARES Act – October 1, 2020 – they will start staffing flights were fewer flight attendants. According to an internal document shared by JonNYC,
We will reduce staffing on international widebody and transcon flights to FAA minimums + 1 flight attendant (except on Boeing 787-8, where we currently operate with FAA minimum crew), effective October 1, 2020.
— JonNYC (@xJonNYC) July 1, 2020
It’s not just fewer flights that will mean fewer flight attendants needed at the airline. They’re going to staff the flights they have with fewer cabin crew as well – something that former American Airlines President and current United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby did over at United during good times, as American calls out in their internal news item (United is the “one of our largest competitors” that has already implemented this).
Here’s the new staffing levels by widebody aircraft:
American calls out that Dallas – Hong Kong will have an additional crew member because that’s required. And where they operate a widebody domestically they’ll do so with the legal minimum crew (rather than legal minimum plus one).
As noted in the chart the airline’s premium cross country Airbus A321T aircraft will see reductions as well so it’s not just widebodies.
This will mean lower service levels. United Airlines accomplished their reduction by serving meals in business class pre-plated. They’re far less appealing, but the Kirby bet was that customers wouldn’t make their decision based on quality of the inflight product (hence all the cuts we saw to Polaris business class after he came on board).