American And United Flight Attendants Begin Push For Third Government Bailout

As soon as Congress passed a second bailout for U.S. airlines, United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby told employees being brought back from furlough to expect to be let go again because the government only required them to keep people employed through March 31, in exchange for 10 times the money they’d have to spend on those employees. He was positioning for a third bailout.

American Airlines is bringing back its furloughed employees, but no flight attendant will actually return to work until March 2. Only one-third will return in March. And the government only requires employment through March 31, in exchange for the roughly $3.5 billion they should receive.

The Association of Professional Flight Attendants, which represents American’s cabin crew, plans to push for a third bailout.

President Trump signs COVID-19 aid bill averting government shutdown, and bringing much needed payroll protection to our furloughed Flight Attendants. In a collaborative effort, you made this happen! The fight is not over. APFA will continue to push for airline relief and the protection of our Flight Attendant’s income and health benefits.

American’s flight attendants union isn’t alone. United Airlines flight attendants union head Sara Nelson said this morning on CNBC’s Squawk Box “We may need some additional funds to get us to the summer.”

Remember that Delta and Southwest haven’t furloughed any employees, but as a result of this bailout will receive billions of dollars ostensibly meant to pay furloughed employees anyway. So yeah, let’s go for round three.

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. What a joke! Small business, hotels, restaurants, etc. are going under and the airlines beggars are lining up at the trough for more money. One of these days the government will not be able to print more money and I hope to see these greedy scums on the street corner with a sign around their neck!

  2. How about we just give the airlines the government’s PIN number and let them just take however much they want, whenever they want…

  3. They actually didn’t get a second bailout. Only the first time where they offered loans to cover expenses. This time is just Payroll Support just like what is being offered to all businesses during the pandemic. Also I have a friend for AA and the reason they are not working till March 2 is because that is the fastest time they can put someone back through training and back on the contractual month schedule. They want them back ASAP as they are low staffed but because federal regulations they cant put them back to work fast. They still have to do background checks and everything too. So they are getting paid for the time they are required to complete all those tasks and be available when the company has room to fit them in training. This news source is starting to be very one sided.

  4. @ Dancer P – Just a Payroll Support? You had better go back and read it again. They got 26 weeks of PPP the first go around and small business got 4 weeks. They are getting 16 weeks this time and asking for more effective 1 April 2021. I have not heard what small business is getting this time but I’d bet good money it’s not more than 4 weeks. So 42 weeks against 8. Doesn’t sound like what was offered to all businesses to me.

  5. That Sara Nelson is something else. Some leader – failed her union brethren time and time again by failing to keep them from being furloughed – and all she does is beg for taxpayer money. So she can try and keep increasing her image to try and run entire afl-cio. She and afa so toxic DAL decided it was better business to keep all flight attendants on payroll instead of giving her and her minions an opening to try and land on more DL beach head.

  6. In the meantime Dougie and Scott K are making hundreds of millions per year? Is this some kind of sick joke?

  7. The unions are not doing their members any favors. As they continue to live off the taxpayers dime as the economy recovers jobs they could have been qualified for will be filled and the disgust of the american taxpayer will be such that they will not be able to get another job. I wouldn’t hire any airline personnel on a bet!

  8. @ Dancer P — Yeah, payroll support for those $750,000 per year FA jobs. Sign me up. This is why I fully support Minority Leader McConnell blocking anything that the Biden administration tries to pass. If it wasn’t for SCOTUS, I would vote Republicans for Senate.

  9. @ Stu – If it’s a sick joke it’s on the American Taxpayer and that is exactly what it is.

  10. We sure don’t hear much complaining these days from Dougie or Scotty about all those government subsidies the ME3 were getting. What a bunch of hypocrites.

  11. The airlines have turned into nothing but a bunch of professional beggars. If you’re on any other blogs, Facebook, LinkedIn, twitter, etc. get this out so that the US taxpayer knows what a rip off is happening. Also email you senators and congress people and complain. There is another election in 2022.

  12. @ Leeman – You think it’s OK that the airlines get 42 weeks of full pay without work while small business get 8 weeks to help keep their people working and on the job, not sitting at home doing nothing?

  13. Airline employees get brainwashed they are deserving prima bellerinas. Take the Delta Christmas Cancellation fiasco. Winter weather disrupts airlines schedule during Holidays every year. Airlines have to prepare for that. Southwest, American, United did ok on this. You can’t convince me the pilots at Delta didn’t use the time old “work to rule” where the union follows the company handbook to the letter and thus nothing gets done. Hopefully, karma will prevail.

  14. @ Carolynne – You are spot on! Airline personnel are so overpaid it’s pathetic and now they do even less, hiding behind COVID-19 to do even less. Karma will get them! Coming to a corner hear you soon!

  15. It was, hands down, absolutely preposterous to get a first, let alone even suggest a third taxpayer handout. We are subsidizing a group of employees who, in terms of actual work required and accomplished on the job are at the absolute bottom of the productivity curve at ridiculous rates of pay. With little or no meals/food service to provide and having abdicated their primary reason for being on the airplane…serve the customer…they now just sit on their jump seats complaining and feeling sorry for themselves. As a former airline VP once lamented, the sooner we get self evacuating airplanes the better!.

  16. IP – Don’t you know that they are there for your safety? I couldn’t have said it any better, you are spot on!

  17. The airline I was with for 10 years , the F.A.s referred to the pilots as ” astronauts” as that’s the way they acted( we had so many 747s). All crew knows about work to rule because it’s so effective- I am sure a lot of Delta pilots are staying home from being exposed to covid patients. They’re worried who’s going to pay the mortgages on their apartments they rent out for extra income.

  18. Why do airlines need yet another bailout? Air travel is not going to return to what it was before anytime in the near future. These airlines need to make the appropriate cuts for the new reality. Giving them bailouts just prolongs the inevitable and accomplishes nothing.

  19. @ Bill – They have a very strong lobbying presence with the congress and they have been led to believe (union?) that they are superior to the rest of the country and we should just sit down and shut up. They are there “for your safety” and you have no right to question why they get 42 weeks of 100% pay and some of the rest get 8 weeks and some only get unemployment. They don’t “need” another bailout, they need to reduce their staff to the new reality as you say and qet off their knees and figure out how to make a profit. I’d start with flight crew pay and start cutting along with management. There are 1000’s of pilots and F/A out of work who would be happy to take those jobs and maybe even do a good job at it.

  20. As a current not out of work FA, I am COMPLETELY against another bailout for AA (I do feel bad for UA). I said after a second bailout they’d want another in six months. Looks like I was wrong. Looks like three. AA has been sliding down the quality slide for some time now and it’s one of the worst airlines in the industry. They need to just face facts and just cut folks permanently.

  21. Airlines do a lot more than haul vacationers to Vegas. They transport front-line workers in healthcare and emergency services to hot spots where they are needed most. With the downturn in travel demand carriers use vacant space in the cabin to transport critical supplies like medical supplies, PPE and ventilators. Think UPS or FedEx are the only ones hauling vaccines across the country? United was the FIRST air carrier to do it. Many people are staying home, shopping for necessities online, like prescription medication — who do you think hauls that for the Postal Service? Despite the risks that continue as passengers disregard public health measures airline crews work long hours operating flights on a demanding schedule to get people and products where they need to be quickly, safely, and comfortably as possible given the current situation. The logistics involved in bringing back all these essential workers while complying with government regulations is beyond belief.

  22. Go heavens! The medical supplies referred to do not require Flight Attendants to baby sit them. To justify this massive tax payer ripoff – at the expense of normal hard working Americans – on the basis of transporting medical supplies and first responder movement to crisis spots is a huge overreach. It can easily be handled by the military or chapter of carriers that specialize in this.

  23. Gary is I would be willing to be on this one if he is honest.
    Gary loves to trash one of the “big 3” and slightly praise Southworst.
    He recently is blaming United by taking the gov bailout or whatever he or you want to call it.
    Here is a tidbit of news for interested people. Gary praising Southworst but not ever really chastising them for their continuing to having others outside of their airline (see other countries) do their maintenance. Southwest while having the lowest amount by far of the 4 major United States Airlines asked for pay cuts from mechanics!!!! United Airlines on the other hand gave their mechanics a big pay raise. I bet Gary didn’t know that! Go research it Gary.

  24. @ Pro America – So United gave their mechanics a big pay increase while laying off 1000’s of F/A and taking billions in a bailout? So did they pay them with the F/A money or bailout money? I’ve never really been a Southwest fan because I like to know where I’m going to sit. But here today I’m looking at them and DL to replace AA in my life. The problem is where I’m relocating to doesn’t have service by SW. I flew UA about 18 months back in the late 90’s when I got fed up with AA and logged about 600K miles with them. Not sure why I went back to AA, been too long. All that being said I have more respect for SW and DL because they furloughed no one and I would respect them more if they didn’t take government (taxpayer) money. But answer me this? Why shouldn’t the airlines cut pay and personnel and whatever it takes to survive like (almost) every business in the US has had to do?

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