What You Don't Know About Flight Attendants' Lives

What You Don't Know About Flight Attendants' Lives ...

When you boarded an airplane, you''ve been greeted by a flight attendant throughout your entire life.

Typically, they are smiling, doing their best to make you feel as you board the plane. They also assist you get to your seat, get your luggage wherever it belongs, and generally manage the sensations of hundreds of people who are already irritated about trying to seize into a tiny amount of personal space.

Because until the plane closes its door, flight attendants do not receive paid, they do all of that for free.

While this appears to be a sort of illegal practice, it''s not. In fact, it is a industry standard, and it has existed for decades, along with a number of other techniques that are archaic in an area as important as air travel.

She continued to explain her experience in the industry over the past 19 years.

"I''ve worked in more airports than I can count," she said. "I''ve spent a lot of money on hotels and Ubers, none of which is reimbursed. If we don''t live on base, we are not guaranteed a seat on our flights to or from the airports we must be at to work."

Many airlines also utilize a strict points system for reporting late and absences, called "occurrences." After an employee has received a certain amount, they are automatically fired.

"Calling in sick is one occurrence," she said. "I had an occurrence for having a baby," she said. "If I were to take medical leave because I needed chemo, I''d get one. I didn''t receive one when my mother passed, but I had to provide proof of her death [to avoid this]."

Why Delta is Changing its Policies

After a recent company memo from Delta (DAL) stating it will pay flight attendants during the boarding process starting June 2, people have become aware of the unpaid boarding procedures. It is the first United States airline to make this move.

While it may appear that Delta chose to make the move to align itself with better practices, it''s more likely that the change is the result of a long-running union campaign that fought tooth and nail for it.

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The Delta Association of Flight Attendants (AFA), a flight attendant union established in 1945, played a key role in promoting change in the board''s board of directors. In 2019, the organization began a campaign to change its rules, including pay, benefits, work conditions, and profit sharing.

Delta has paid "100 million less per year" than United, according to the organization. This corresponds with what the flight attendant we met, claiming she had long been paid on raises and, even so, "could qualify for food stamps."

Despite the AFA''s victory being a historic achievement, it''s also a ludicrous one.

"They made this announcement today, and they may also cancel this policy unless we have a contract that locks it in," the AFA said on a post on its website on April 25. "Lets double down on our campaign so we can secure a contract that locks in all of these benefits AND ensures we have a voice in our pay, benefits, and working conditions every day at Delta."

Will the Industry Follow Delta''''s Lead?

One thing stands in the way of this policy''s potential for change across the airline industry: its impact on customers.

Paying flight attendants during boarding would cost the passengers much more, ranging from the cost of flights to items purchased on the plane. This is why Delta''s new policy demonstrates that the pay for boarding time is only half the hourly rate of inflight pay.

These measures may be quite difficult to make in an industry already struggling to recover from the effects of the epidemic. However, flight attendants have long been stressed to the point of breaking barriers between inadequate pay, excessive strict regulations, and worsening behavior from passengers in the last few years.

Nearly 80 percent of flight attendants are female, indicating a tragic similarity to the gender pay gap issue women have encountered for decades.

"If I require compliance from a passenger, they are less likely to comply if a male pilot makes an announcement than if I ask anything of them," the airliner said.

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