The hellish summer of flight attendants: "I don't even feel like a human"

But while airlines are keen to capitalize on demand, many appear to be understaffed to keep up. Data from the Bureau of Transportation S...


But while airlines are keen to capitalize on demand, many appear to be understaffed to keep up.

Data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics shows that the number of full-time equivalent employees of U.S. airlines was almost 14 percent lower in June 2021 than in March 2020. Tens of thousands of flight attendants took leave during the pandemic, the AFA union said. American Airlines said about 3,300 flight attendants had not yet returned from leave.

“So many people have been fired so quickly for extended leave, early retirement, that they are struggling to keep up with the demand for travel,” said Paul Hartshorn, flight attendant and spokesperson for the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, which represents approximately 24,000 American Airlines agents. “And the staff is small, there isn’t a lot of wiggle room for storms and maintenance delays. “

At Southwest Airlines, COO Mike Van de Ven shared a message with staff on Aug. 20, saying that the increase in bookings has “hurt our operations and put a lot of pressure on you all.” And for that, I am sincerely sorry. He also said that “historical staffing models have not been effective in this pandemic environment.”

“There aren’t enough people,” said Nas Lewis, a flight attendant for a major US airline and founder of th | AIR | apy, a website and Facebook group that deals with flight attendant mental health. Ms Lewis, who has requested that her airline’s name not be released due to its media policy, said the situation created anxiety for attendants “because we don’t know what we’re going to face. on a given day “.

A pilot shortage is another sore spot for air travel, as is the insufficient number of boarding agents, baggage handlers and delivery drivers, all of which can easily make it difficult to get a flight on time.

When a cabin is understaffed, airlines rely on on-call or “standby” flight attendants. This summer, airlines have exhausted their reserves to the point of running out or running out of available attendants before the day even begins.

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Newsrust - US Top News: The hellish summer of flight attendants: "I don't even feel like a human"
The hellish summer of flight attendants: "I don't even feel like a human"
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