Delta Air Lines, which is facing another attempt to unionize its flight attendants, will begin paying cabin crew during boarding, a first for a major US airline.
Throughout the airline industry in the United States, hourly wages for flight attendants begin when all passengers are seated and the aircraft doors are closed.
Delta said changes to all flights would begin on June 2.
In a memo to flight attendants, Delta’s senior vice president of in-flight service, Kristen Manion Taylor, said the new pay “further recognizes your role in ensuring a welcoming, safe and timely start to each flight.” How important is that.”
The rate of pay during boarding will be 50% of the regular pay.
The change comes as Delta plans to increase boarding times for single-aisle or “narrow-body” aircraft from 35 minutes to 40 minutes, which the airline hopes will increase the percentage of flights departing on time. Will go
Manion Taylor said that after the final test, and receiving comments from flight attendants, she promised not to implement the new boarding time without providing additional pay for cabin crew.
Delta said the new boarding pay would be on top of a 4% increase for flight attendants it announced in March and that will take effect later this week.
Atlanta-based Delta has successfully campaigned to thwart several attempts to organize its 20,000 flight attendants. The Association of Flight Attendants – which has been crafting its latest event effort in Delta for more than two years but has yet to find enough support to vote – took credit for boarding pay.
“This new policy is a direct result of our event,” the union said in a statement posted on its website. “As we get closer to filing for our union vote, management is panicking.”
The union represents flight attendants at United, Alaska, Spirit and about a dozen smaller airlines. Delta said none of those airlines pay their cabin crew for boarding time.
Unions in American, United and Southwest represent between 82% and 86% of workers, but only 20% of Delta’s 83,000 employees, according to a regulatory filing. Delta’s 13,000 pilots are represented by the Air Line Pilots Association. Flight attendants are federated at Delta’s Endeavor Air regional-flight subsidiary.
David Koenig can be reached at www.twitter.com/airlinewriter