Delta Air Lines announced on Tuesday that it plans to hire an additional 1,500 flight attendants before the summer of 2022, becoming the latest carrier to expand after travel demand rose from epidemic lows.
The Atlanta-based carrier was already in the process of filling 1,500 flight attendant positions with individuals whose recruiting had been halted when the epidemic began in 2020.
During a summer spike in travel, Delta and other airlines have been racing to fill roles ranging from ramp workers to flight attendants to customer support employees, as well as train pilots. The resurgence in demand occurred faster than airline executives predicted.
In the midst of the pandemic, airline CEOs advised thousands of employees to take unpaid or partially paid leaves of absence or early retirement packages in order to reduce labor costs. Approximately 4,000 Delta flight attendants agreed to voluntary separation packages.
Airlines, like other businesses in the United States, are confronting a staffing shortage, which is causing long wait times for customer service and, in some circumstances, increasing flight delays or cancellations.
Southwest Airlines announced last week that it will reduce its schedule until the end of the year in order to alleviate operational issues that caused hundreds of cancellations and delays this summer. As it struggles to fill available positions, the Dallas-based airline is providing $300 in employee referral bonuses.
On Monday, CEO Gary Kelly told employees that the airline had hired 1,500 people and plans to hire 5,200 more by the end of November.
Delta said in May that all new employees must be vaccinated against Covid, and on Tuesday, it announced that any current Delta employee accepted into the flight attendant training program must also be immunized.
Delta announced last week that unvaccinated employees will be charged $200 extra per month for health insurance beginning in November.