Southwest gives workers further pay, frequent flyer miles to keep away from vacation journey disruptions

A baggage handler pushes a bag close to a Southwest Airways airplane at Hollywood Burbank Airport in Burbank, California, October 10, 2021.

Robyn Beck | AFP | Getty Pictures

Southwest Airways on Saturday supplied its flight attendants new incentives geared toward avoiding extra flight cancellations, significantly over the height vacation interval, amid issues over staffing, based on an inside memo.

Southwest canceled greater than 2,000 flights round Columbus Day weekend, disruptions the air service stated price it $75 million. American Airways, which can also be providing flight attendants and different crews further pay for vacation shifts, struggled with mass flight cancellations late final month and in early November as properly.

Flight attendants, pilots and different operations staff may obtain as much as 120,000 Speedy Rewards factors, valued at greater than $1,400. Flight attendants are eligible for working 36 days between Nov. 15 and Jan. 14, whereas cabin crews who work 28 days over that interval may get 60,000 factors, the be aware acknowledged. Southwest stated that the variety of qualifying shifts or days varies by work group.

The variety of no-shows or unreachable flight attendants has been elevated not too long ago, Southwest’s vice chairman of Sonya Lacore, vice chairman of inflight operations, stated in her be aware to cabin crews, which was reviewed by CNBC. Sick calls have surged as properly when the corporate has lifted emergency insurance policies that required flight attendants to indicate a physician’s be aware if calling out sick. For instance, Lacore stated when the airline final lifted these procedures on Nov. 9 sick calls went from 20 an hour to 90 an hour for 2 hours in a row.

“Now we have an amazing alternative right here to uphold that dedication to them, and also you, within the midst of what has been a troublesome time for us all,” wrote Lacore. “Our first step in addressing this, and actively working to guard the operation, was to cut back the schedule, and we imagine this incentive program will take us one other step in the precise path.”

The airline can also be providing as a lot as triple pay to floor operations staff for working Thanksgiving and Christmas and double pay for extra time shifts between Nov. 17 by Nov. 30 and Dec. 17 by Jan. 3, up from time-and-a-half pay.

Airways had supplied workers early retirement packages and leaves of absence to chop their labor payments in the course of the pandemic however discovered themselves short-staffed when demand bounced again this yr. Extra flight attendants are returning to American and Southwest from depart, whereas these airways and others are additionally aggressively hiring.

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