The Association of Flight Attendants (AFA-CWA) stated on Wednesday that flight attendants employed by three regional airlines that are fully owned by American Airlines will receive pay increases, bonuses, and increased benefits.
The announcement comes as the aviation industry works to prevent a summer personnel shortage that has finally persuaded regional airlines that they must keep employees in a field with an alarmingly high turnover rate.
“This is going to be a tough summer and we’re glad American and their wholly-owned airlines decided to work with us to provide incentives, make it more manageable to get to work and attract new hires to the skies,” commented Sara Nelson, international president of the flight attendants union.
“What’s good for the crew is good for the airline and the passengers who expect a safe, reliable travel experience,” Nelson continued.
The hourly flying rate for new hire flight attendants will begin at least $27, an increase of around $8 per hour over what new hire flight attendants at Piedmont Airlines were making prior to the agreement reached today.
Additionally, those flight attendants who are now making less than $27 per hour will have their pay raised to that amount, and those who are currently making more than that will receive a $3,000 retention bonus.
Flight attendants will also have the chance to receive a summer performance incentive bonus worth up to $4,500. Flight attendants who meet the goals for each of the three-time periods will receive awards of $1,000, $1,500, and $2,000, respectively.
The regional carriers will provide expanded commuter advantages including giving extra hotel rooms and reimbursements for commuting flights, in recognition of the fact that many regional flight attendants are compelled to “commute” to their flying base from a place where it is cheaper to live.
The agreement includes flight attendants who work for Piedmont Airlines, Envoy Air, and PSA.
Regional airlines used to make it simpler for aspiring flight attendants to break into the field. Even though flight attendants work the same shifts and wear the same uniform, pay, benefits, and working conditions have historically lagged behind those at “mainline” airlines.
But even major airlines struggle to find flight attendants quickly enough in a post-pandemic environment. While American opened its flight attendant recruitment window at least three times in 2022, Delta Air Lines reopened recruitment on Wednesday.
Both Envoy and Piedmont announced significant pay increases for regional pilots earlier this week, including a temporary pay increase of 50% that has been extended through the end of 2024.
First officers will also receive a permanent salary raise of 6%, while captains will receive a pay increase of 10%. In order to eventually “flow-through” to the mainline, where salary and perks are even greater, pilots are encouraged to join a regional airline.
The mainline carrier may have to provide its pilots more than what was first planned, according to American Airlines CEO Rober Isom, who recognized that the “standard for remuneration has gone higher” because to the shortage of pilots.
In-depth contract negotiations are currently taking place for mainline flight attendants, and the same might be said about them.