Dear Florida Senator Rick Scott, This Is Why Airlines Are Going To Furlough Employees

Airlines made the case that they’re important to the economy, that everything would be fine in the fall and we’d want flights to resume in full quickly. To do that we needed to keep employees connected to their jobs. And we needed to keep travel going in the meantime, too, even though that meant bringing people with the virus from one city to another and widening the spread.

This culminated in the CARES Act, which provided $58 billion in subsidies for commercial aviation including $25 billion in payroll support for airlines. Those taking the money had to agree not to furlough anyone or reduce their rate of pay through September 30. By October 1 everything would be back to normal!

In the meantime airlines figured out they could furlough workers before taking the money, require workers to take unpaid vacation, and reduce their hours – all without running afoul of the law, and still taking the money (and in some cases double dipping with forgivable Small Business Administration Payroll Protection Loans).

Now airlines like United and American are notifying workers of potential furloughs effective October 1, as soon as CARES Act restrictions run out. Florida Senator Rick Scott thinks it is wrong wrong wrong that airlines took payroll support money and are going to turn around and furlough workers – and he wants to meet with airline CEOs to give them a piece of his mind!

I’m not sure why he is frustrated, except that maybe he was hoodwinked into believing if we just spent $58 billion on airline subsidies (plus tax abatements) everything would be fine?

The CARES Act said airlines taking payroll support funds couldn’t furlough through September 30. And they’re following the law. There’s going to be less demand for travel for awhile, while will in turn mean fewer flights, and therefore fewer airline employees.

If that’s the new normal, having folks move on from one role to the next in another industry is better for the economy and delaying that transition will cause the economy to stagnate.

Scott can do something about it, he can sign on to the union request for more subsidies to carry employees through the end of March, when they will again be… furloughed, because there are more employees than airlines need to fly planes to meet consumer demand.

There, I saved the airlines a meeting with the Senator, so their CEOs can focus on saving their airlines. Oh, who am I kidding, U.S. airline CEOs are always happy to plead their case for government favors and protection.

(HT: @crucker)

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. Sen. Scott is repeating his performance as the governor of FL. Asshat as Gov., still an asshat as a senator…..

  2. Stupid freedumbers maintaining the spread of Covid is what will kill the US economy and the airlines. We could have had this knocked down, but no, .we can’t act with personal responsibility.

  3. Senator Scott is one of the most high class honest forthright people you will ever meet obviously whoever slammed him has no ethics are common sense

  4. It’s hard to believe there’s so many numbskulls in my country of America I personally know Senator Scott
    And I have not never met a finer politician in all my life obviously you writing about him. Does not know him

  5. Fix COVID and the rest will take care of itself. Vietnam (zero new cases in eons even with a BORDER with China) in June had 25% MORE domestic passengers than last year!!!

    #freedumb #covidiot

  6. yea, give money to those airlines who selfishly bought their own stock and pleaded to the taxpayer for a bailout


  7. @Mark – I am glad you know him and he is great, I am not offering an opinion on him other than with respect to this single statement where I stand by the comments in my post.

  8. @Mark – Your incomplete sentences, misspellings, incorrect grammar and incorrect punctuation – or lack thereof – tells me everything I need to know about your mentality level. Your lack of writing skills speaks volumes! Let’s keep A-mur-a-ca great!!!

  9. Anyone who would classify Rick Scott as “one of the most high class honest forthright people you will ever meet” has obviously never googled “rick Scott, HCA, Medicare fraud”.

  10. My experience with Senator Rick Scott is that he cannot afford to give anyone a piece of his mind, let alone act as an intermediary with the airline industry.

  11. This is a really interesting comment from Rick. As many of you may know, before he was governor of FL and then a US Senator, he was a founder and CEO OF Columbia/HCA which was, at the time, the largest investor owned hospital company in the US (I was an officer of the 2nd largest company).

    As such he is very well educated on corporations and how they behave. To state what he did says he has either erased all his business experience from his brain or didn’t bother to read/understand what was passed. I know Rick is a divisive person but I’ve always respected his ability to grow a company and then have a 2nd act in politics. This isn’t a good statement out of him.

  12. @Jerome you receive the Covidiot prize for today. Name one scientific publication that has been peer reviewed that says that number. Even at a 1% survival rate, the collateral damage is mind blowing and that is not even mentioning the sheer amount of death at a 1% rate.

  13. Another highly biased piece that cow tows to the self-anointed “special work group” – the airline industry. They and their employees don’t deserve one more dime of “featherbedding” money. It is absurd to pay them to sit around doing nothing for one more day, let alone six months, being feed from the government troth. If you are, unfortunately, not needed, that should be a signal it is time to get another job and move on with your life. No more “special treatment” for this inefficiently run industry while thousands of other business are forced to go it on their own!

  14. I moved to FL in Oct 2019 from NH and I truly love the sunshine state . Palm trees and beautiful beaches.. But the politicians here are all bat shit crazy… They all drank the Trumpty Dumpty cool aid…If Trump gets re-elected I’m moving again…lol

  15. Rick Scott – the last person on earth who should be bitching about handouts/bailouts.
    He made his billions the easy way – from the taxpayers.

  16. No more airline subsidies. They made record profits and instead of saving them they handed them to employees. Why should tax payers cover their asses anymore.

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