JetBlue dangles $1,000 attendance bonuses for flight attendants ahead of holiday rush

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  • JetBlue flight attendants will get $1,000 without a call-out until early January.
  • American Airlines is offering flight attendants extra pay, while Southwest says that crew will get more than 100,000 frequent flier miles for meeting attendance goals.
  • Staff crunch has contributed to hundreds of flight cancellations and delays this year.

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JetBlue Airways is offering its flight attendants a $1,000 attendance bonus for not calling in early January, according to a company memo reviewed by CNBC, the latest attempt by a carrier to avoid the staffing crunch during the holidays.

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Airlines are gearing up for a surge in passengers, many of whom skipped in-person celebrations last year as Covid cases continued to rise. The Transportation Security Administration said this week that it expects to screen 20 million passengers from Friday through the end of Thanksgiving week, November 28, which is close to pre-pandemic levels.

But some airlines are scrambling to make sure they have enough employees, irked by disruptions. Southwest Airlines and American Airlines canceled 2,000 flights less than a week this fall.

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Some analysts have said the stimulus could cost airlines less than the slowdown.

To meet attendance goals, Southwest offers 120,000 Rapid Reward Points, the carrier’s frequent flyer program, to flight attendants and other operations staff. Those points are worth over $1,400. The airline has reported a high rate of sick calls.

Meanwhile, American Airlines says flight attendants can earn at least 150% pay for peak holiday trips and up to triple pay if they meet attendance goals by early next year. It offered a $1,000 bonus to other employees as well as its regional airline subsidiaries. However, the pilots’ union rejected the carrier’s proposal for double pay during the holidays and said it is seeking permanent reforms in how the airline sets its schedule.

JetBlue flight attendants may qualify for a $1,000 bonus if they do not call from work from November 22 to January 5 and have worked at least 100 credit hours in that period if they are full-time.

Ed Buckler, Head of Customer Care and Programs, wrote, “After a long time from family and friends, our customers are telling us they are ready to travel and they are counting on us, crew and leadership alike. From.” Note to flight attendants this week. “In recognition of your commitment and support to the safety of operations during the holidays, as well as to prepare for the hustle and bustle of the holidays, we are launching a one-time holiday rewards program to thank the crew members who fly their trips. and do not call-out.”

Buckler said in-flight crew would also find space on the planes for commuting. They are also encouraged to call if they are sick, but must show a doctor’s note for absence between November 22 and January 5.

JetBlue did not immediately comment.

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