Beginning June this year, Delta Air Lines’ flight attendants will get paid when they perform boarding duties. Previously, flight crew attendants only start getting paid once the aircraft doors close for takeoff.
Delta First US Airline To Pay Flight Attendants for Boarding Duties
Last Tuesday, Delta Air Lines became the first US carrier to pay flight attendants for assisting passengers boarding the plane.
Beginning June 2, the company will compensate the time flight attendants spend helping passengers get to their assigned seats. The airline industry traditionally starts the clock for flight crews only after airplane doors close.
In a statement, Delta Air Lines noted their trailblazing efforts. Introducing boarding pay is a “testament to Delta’s longstanding commitment to deliver industry-leading pay to our industry-leading team,” it said.
The move aims to enhance “operational reliability for customers,” it noted. Additionally, the company will also increase the allotted time for passengers to board aircraft.
From 35 minutes, Delta will now give passengers 40 minutes to board the aircraft before closing the doors. In advocating the boarding pay, Delta said it’s recognizing the work of its flight attendants.
They remain “critical to ensuring a welcoming, safe environment onboard,” it said. “We are excited to bring this new benefit to our people and improve on-time departures and arrivals,” Delta added.
Delta Air Lines Employees To Get Pay Raise This May
The addition of boarding pay also comes on top of a scheduled pay raise for Delta Air Lines workers this coming May. The bump in salaries comes as a result of serious lobbying efforts from workgroups.
Delta countered that boarding pay is a result of their appreciation for the work being done. It “recognizes how important your role is on board to ensuring a welcoming, safe and on-time start to each flight.”
However, the Association of Flight Attendants credited their efforts to make boarding pay a reality. The group said that the new policy was the direct result of their organizing.
It was also a result of Delta’s “desperate attempt” to compensate flight crew members for its decision to lengthen boarding time to 40 minutes.
Boarding Pay Part of Delta’s Efforts To Appease Workers and Prevent Unionization
In addition, some workers said that Delta agreed to the pay raises over fears of growing unionization efforts. “It’s also a reminder that management holds all the cards,” the association said.
“They announced this today, and they can also choose to cancel this policy at any time…unless we have a contract that locks it in.”
In fact, Delta Air Lines continues to fight off several attempts by its workers to unionize. The decision to implement boarding pay is part of their strategy to discourage further unionization attempts.
In a memo, the airline reiterated its support for workers in the form of additional pay. The boarding pay, which is 50% of regular pay rates, can add several thousand dollars a year to their paychecks.
Watch the 11Alive news video reporting that Delta to start paying flight attendants during boarding:
What do you think of Delta’s decision to implement boarding pay for their flight attendants? Will this become an industry-standard soon?
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