Delta Air Lines will begin paying its flight attendants during boarding – a first for the major US airline. However the change didn’t come across ease-fully, it took some 160,000+ people to express their dissatisfaction to kickstart this monumental change.
Now flight attendants will be paid for boarding rather than when all the passengers are seated and the plane’s doors close. The change is expected to increase Delta flight attendants’ wages by several thousand dollars a year.
Delta Air Lines has confirmed that the changes will come into effect on June 2 2022. An additional memo to flight attendants from the airline said the new pay “further recognizes how important your role is on board to ensuring a welcoming, safe and on-time start to each flight.”
It took for an online petition urging people to stand in solidarity with flight attendants who were not being paid for a major part of their role.
The petition, which today stands at almost 170,000 signatures, was launched by former flight attendant Domenica Rohrborn. Within the petition are several points that encourage against flight attendants’ ‘free’ labor.
The petition states that because of this ‘free’ time “airlines can manipulate us as much as they would like. This makes us work longer hours, keeps us away from our homes longer, and puts significantly more stress on our bodies, and physical and mental health.”
The petition also noted that pilots are also not compensated for this time. One user commented under the petition “I’m a Flight attendant and years are being taken off my life from boarding”.
The change comes as the airline plans to increase boarding time for single-aisle or “narrow-body” planes from 35 minutes to 40 minutes, which Delta predicts will increase the percentage of flights that depart on time.
Another point to take into consideration, there have been conversations about unionizing Delta’s flight attendants. Unlike the likes of other airlines, Delta’s flight attendants and pilots aren’t in a union.
The Association of Flight Attendants proudly took credit for the change in boarding pay, having been preparing a campaign at Delta Air Lines for the last two years. “This new policy is the direct result of our advertising,” the union said. “As we get closer to filing for our union vote, management is getting nervous.”