Delta to become the first US airline to pay flight attendants for boarding time

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Published on : Wednesday, April 27, 2022


Delta Air Lines will begin paying its flight attendants for boarding — a first for US airlines. The move comes as the carrier’s biggest workgroup drives for unionization. On Monday, an internal memo sent to Delta employees and reviewed by Insider revealed a new pay component for boarding time starting June 2.

Usually, flight attendants are not paid until the boarding door closes, but the Atlanta-based carrier’s new initiative will pay crew members 50% of their standard hourly rate for boarding, according to the memo.

That rate is then adjusted for the scheduled boarding time, which is set at 40 minutes for domestic narrowbody jets, 45 minutes for domestic widebody planes, and 50 minutes for transoceanic flights.

Depending on the plane type being boarded, the pay translates to anywhere from $10.79 for a first-year flight attendant to $30.04 for a 12-year flight attendant. The pay is multiplied by the number of boardings a flight attendant performs per month, according to the carrier.

For example, a six-year flight attendant is scheduled to work 82 duty hours and 40 domestic narrowbody boardings and has a standard hourly rate of $52.78 (50% is $26.39) and a boarding rate of $17.68, based on Delta’s new pay scale. They would be paid $4,327.96 for duty time and an additional $707.20 for boarding time, which is a 16% increase in pay.

It is important to note that the boarding pay is based on scheduled boarding time, so flight attendants are not paid extra for extended delays on the ground.

Delta says the extra compensation is on top of the 4% pay raise it announced in March, which is effective May 1 and applies to nearly all global employees.

The boarding time compensation comes as Delta flight attendants push to unionize. Currently, the group wants to join the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, which also represents flight attendants at over a dozen carriers, like Frontier Airlines, United Airlines, and Hawaiian Airlines.

The organizing union said in a press release that Delta management must be “feeling the heat” and that the new policy is “the direct result of our organizing — and a desperate attempt to prevent their other new boarding policy (D+40) from creating the kind of anger that it deserves.

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