Delta To Begin Paying Flight Attendants For Time Spent Helping Passengers Board Planes

Ekaterina Pokrovsky /

Flight attendants for Delta Air Lines scored an important victory when the carrier said it will begin paying cabin crews during boarding–the first major U.S. airline to do so.

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Delta said the new policy will go into effect on June 2 on all flights, the AP reported. When that happens, it will represent a change from the traditional model, in which hourly pay for flight attendants starts when all passengers are seated and the plane’s doors close.

Delta’s decision was likely motivated in part by another attempt on the part of flight attendants to unionize. The rate of pay during boarding will be 50% of regular wages.

Kristen Manion Taylor, Delta’s senior vice president of in-flight service, wrote in a memo to flight attendants that the new pay policy, “further recognizes how important your role is on board to ensuring a welcoming, safe and on-time start to each flight.”

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The new policy comes amid plans by Delta to increase the boarding time for single-aisle or narrow-body planes from 35 minutes to 40 minutes, which should help the airline increase the percentage of flights that depart on time.

Following a test last fall, and after getting comments from flight attendants, Manion Taylor promised not to impose the new boarding times without providing additional pay for the cabin crews.

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Delta said the new boarding pay will be on top of the 4% raises for flight attendants that the airline announced in March. Those raises take effect this week.

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About the Author

Vance Cariaga is a London-based writer, editor and journalist who previously held staff positions at Investor’s Business Daily, The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer. His work also appeared in Charlotte Magazine, Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Business North Carolina magazine. He holds a B.A. in English from Appalachian State University and studied journalism at the University of South Carolina. His reporting earned awards from the North Carolina Press Association, the Green Eyeshade Awards and AlterNet. In addition to journalism, he has worked in banking, accounting and restaurant management. A native of North Carolina who also writes fiction, Vance’s short story, “Saint Christopher,” placed second in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Two of his short stories appear in With One Eye on the Cows, an anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019. His debut novel, Voodoo Hideaway, was published in 2021 by Atmosphere Press.
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