Delta Air Lines will begin paying flight attendants to pick up passengers before flight departure, for the first time in the history of US air travel. The move is expected to increase employee wages in several thousand dollars a year. This is a notable change for US airlines, where pay for cabin crew begins when all passengers are in their seats and the plane doors are closed.
Delta said the pay switch will begin June 2 on all airline flights. In a memo to flight attendants, the airline said it “recognizes the importance of your role on board in ensuring every flight starts in a welcoming, safe and timely manner.” The internship salary is 50 percent of the regular salary, notes the Associated Press. The change comes as Delta plans to increase landing times for narrow-body jets from 35 to 40 minutes, which the airline hopes will increase the percentage of flights that depart on time. Delta pilots are represented by a union, but several attempts to organize flight attendants have failed due to fierce opposition from the Atlanta company.
The union said the airline was responding to employee complaints about longer boarding times, during which flight attendants currently do not receive bonuses. Delta said the new landing fee would be in addition to the 4 percent surcharge it gave flight attendants last month. Unions represent more than 80 employees at American, United and Southwest, but a much smaller percentage at Delta.
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