CHICAGO, IL – In what can only be construed as a bid to top Delta Airlines’ recent offer to pay flight attendants during the boarding process, Chicago-based United Airlines is announcing a new program that will pay flight attendants while they get ready for work.
When Delta Airlines recently announced its plans to start paying Flight Attendants during the boarding process the company sent shockwaves rippling through the notoriously stingy airline industry. The ritual of not compensating flight attendants during the boarding process was a longstanding tradition meant to remind the flight attendants that they weren’t pilots and weren’t really valued by the airline.
However, in what is certainly the most difficult labor market in recent history airlines have struggled to find staff willing to work for free while also getting yelled at and even assaulted by passengers. In a bid to fill desperately needed positions on a decimated workforce, Delta Airlines – which has no FA union – announced its intent to start paying flight attendants during the boarding process.
After initially gaslighting Delta, representatives from the United Airlines flight attendants union realized this was their golden opportunity and began virtually storming the United Airlines headquarters in Chicago with their own demands for fair compensation.
United Airlines – ever the creative company – quickly got to work and unveiled its own flight attendant compensation program. The new pay package will start compensating flight crew while they are getting ready for work whether that be at a hotel or their crash pad. Under the new model, flight attendants will receive minimum wage for the time period (not to exceed 1 hour) it takes to shower, dress and prepare for work.
Then during the shuttle ride to the airport (or other transportation means) the crew will be paid minimum wage times 1.5. United Airlines will also pay its flight attendants during the boarding process, however, instead of paying them financially, they will be paid in free United Airlines swag such as hats, t-shirts, bag tags, and model airplanes.
This final requirement of the company was said to be a sticking point for company management who refused to pay flight attendants any sort of monetary compensation during the boarding process as a matter of principle.
The United Airlines union, for its part, quickly accepted the proposal having long given up on even attempting to get its flight attendants paid during the boarding process. Insiders familiar with the process remarked that they were surprised they got anything at all.
No official response from other airlines, however, employees at the notoriously cheap Spirit Airlines were said that a rumor is circulating in the airline that seeks to reduce flight attendants’ compensation during the flight – notably during the times the flight attendants are seated during takeoff and landing. Reportedly, should the flight attendants actually be called on during an emergency in this phase of the flight (e.g. a plane crash), they would be compensated at the current minimum wage for the portion of the country they are flying over during the accident.