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Delta becomes first major US airline to pay flight attendants for boarding time

Delta Air Lines will start paying its flight attendants during boarding time, becoming the first major U.S. airline to do so. Flight attendants, who previously got paid once the aircraft doors closed, will now receive half of their hourly rates as customers board, beginning June 2, according to a company memo obtained by CNBC. Boarding time for "narrow-body flights" will also increase from 35 minutes to 40 minutes, as "one of several steps we’re taking to add resiliency to our… ( More...

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jeff slack 26
......... and bloody about time too.
pixelpumpkin 22
At half their rate… still criminal.
Fred Heasley 21
Always thought an airline employee was paid from their start time till they clocked out again. Silly me shows I am really getting old.
Mark Kortum 14
I never understood how one industry can not pay employees when they are working for the company. In my field (health care) we would be in violation of federal law if, for instance, we only paid nurses for their time with patients but not for shift change preparations, etc.
Jim Allen 6
Because it’s what they can get away with. How do they get away with charging $30 to check a piece of luggage? (I’m still fighting that with Delta). Or adding a fuel surcharge for a ticket when aviation fuel prices shoot up?
strickerje 2
At least they don't (yet) apply a retroactive fuel surcharge after the ticket is paid for. Some of the cruise lines do this.
Brian Freeman 11
How was this not already a blatant violation of the FLSA??
Jim Scott 1
Because airlines operate under the Railway Labor Act, not FLSA.
dtkerr 16
Wait, what?

So flight attendants are in their place of work when passengers are boarding, yet they are not being paid until the plane doors are closed?

So what if there is an issue or fault with the aircraft, and the door never gets closed? Who's looking after all the passengers while they all sit patiently waiting for the plane to be fixed?

If flight attendants are not paid until the plane door is closed, then they should be the LAST people to board the plane, not the first. I bet the people who create these rules and regulations don't work for free.

I honestly never knew this. I assumed that if they are on the plane, they are doing their job and getting paid for it.

How do they get away with this? Is it allowed due to where the parent company is based?
If I'm not mistaken, this would be illegal in Texas.

If you are undertaking required activities related to work, you must be paid.

We had this argument with a small non-profit I used to work for. They did not want to pay us for travel time that:

A) was required for the job and
B) occurred during during normal work hours, when we would have been required to be at the office anyway.

You can't tell someone they are required to travel as part of their job, and then not pay them to travel - especially when the travel time overlaps with normal work least not in Texas.
I can’t speak for all airlines, but the one I worked for had ground hold and mechanical delay pay in the F/A’s contract.
M. R. 1
If the delay is at the gate, not pushed back, AA doesn’t start the clock on crew
Exactly! No airline, unionized or not, pays FA’s for anything outside of inflight. They are paid per flight hour. The clock starts at pushback. All other duties, emergency equipment preflight, boarding, deplaning, etc are all paid at a pittance per diem rate of around $2 an hour. There have been no salary increases for FA’s in my adult life. I worked in ‘99 at $19.18 per flight hour and left after 3 years. Returned in 2015 to make $20.01 per flight hour. Commercial aviation is shameful when it
Comes to FA’s.
Thomas Brown 5
I never understood that practice of only paying for time in flight or when the doors locked. It isn’t like there’s nothing to do before then. Passengers, meal and drink prep, cleanup before and after the flights, etc. if you’re doing work, you should get paid for it.

I admit that I’m not a big fan of unions, but the threat of one often brings companies in line. They serve their purpose sometimes indirectly, although an out of control union can cause companies to simply shut down and go elsewhere.
I suspect employee retention and trying to avoid / delay a union are the motivating factors for DAL management
If they are already unionized, then, presumably, not paying them for boarding time was a negotiated issue, good or bad. So before anyone praises unions for "looking out for their members", remember it was the union that allowed this to happen in the first place. Fact is, this pre-door time was probably considered in those negotiations for the current pay rates, so in essence, they were already being paid for that time, but just not specifically on their time cards.

I believe in people being paid for doing the work they are hired to do. If pre-door duties are different than post-door duties are different, then there's no problem paying those FA's a different rate for those different duties. Even if those duties aren't always needed (if there is an emergency, we want the FA's to be as well trained as possible, but in reality, we never want them to have to use that training).

We are in a current culture where workers have the upper hand when it comes to what they do and what they earn. Jobs once considered almost impossible to land are now openly hiring. Jobs that were once considered minimum wage or only slightly better are paying more than 2 times the US Federal minimum wage or more. Of course, we've seen that with this influx of wage payments, then consumer prices have increased as well, so you have to wonder if the net gain with buying power is a plus or a minus.

I didn't mean to get into a diatribe on economics, but as much as many things in life, it does boil down to simple economics, either consciously or unconsciously.
darjr26 7
Delta’s flight attendants are not in a union. There is an effort at this time to try and organize the flight attendants and this new policy by Delta is a reaction to that.
Thank you for the clarification. The article I got my initial information from did not mention this fact. The fact that it appears to be an "industry practice" to not pay for this time doesn't negate that other airline's FA's are unionized and not being paid for this time.
No airline, unionized or not, pays FA’s for anything outside of inflight. They are paid per flight hour. The clock starts at pushback. All other duties, emergency equipment preflight, boarding, deplaning, etc are all paid at a pittance per diem rate of around $2 an hour. There have been no salary increases for FA’s in my adult life. I worked in ‘99 at $19.18 per flight hour and left after 3 years. Returned in 2015 to make $20.01 per flight hour. Commercial aviation is shameful when it
Comes to FA’s.
Thomas Francl 4
If the airlines require any pre- or post-flight duties, they should get paid for that too.
About time too! Who set u those Dickensian employment conditions? Mind you, it explains the smile when you hear "doors to automatic '
Larry Easton 3
Is it true pilots don't get paid until the brake is released? even tho they have to get prepped for the, flight plan, inspection etc. It is criminal that you don't get paid until then. They should be paid as soon as they "clock in"
How ignorant I was. I assumed they got paid when they clocked in at the airport.
George Casey 3
All Flight Attendants should be paid starting when they arrive, board and prepare the cabin for the flight they will be working. I spent 35 years supervising union and non union office workers for 2 very well known air cargo airlines. Everyone employee was paid upon arrival, given time to "settle in" get coffee or whatever and prepare their office space for the job ahead. It is unconscionable to withhold pay from employees until pushback and expect high morale in such a high stress, safety oriented environment as airline ops. I hope there are no large bonuses being paid to top mgmt for "holding the corporate costs" line in lieu of FA non pay practices. Excellence is achieved when all employee groups are valued.
Terry Briggs 5
Let's face it, friends. Most companies are there to provide their customers and employees the absolutely least they can for the most money they can charge to the customers and the least they can pay their employees. And then they blame their shareholders for these practices. Ah, capitalism at its worst.
Bob Gould 1
A capitalistic society is the worst form of society...except for all the others. (Hat tip to Winston Churchill)
deltas flight attendants are receiving what might be called a "perc", without benefit of having a union..this is a bit surprisng, although it will require adjustments to the way they are paid..there are many variables in boarding times, so this may not work to deltas advantage..
Jim Allen 4
About time. Yeah, FA’s get some nice perks but there’s a lot of unpaid time too. Deadheading a segment? Unpaid… I think that irks me the most. “Your schedule is LAX-DFW, then deadhead to LAS for a LAS-JFK segment”. If you’re in uniform - you’re paid.
Delta Comfort is my 1st preference when flying. I always wondered why I get no smiles or warmth from anyone at Delta until I board the plane. This just may explain it... Good on Delta for paying up. They should also consider some retro-pay for these folks.
Bandrunner 2
What kind of 19th Century mindset runs a company and seriously expects people to put up with only getting paid for flight time? Time at the place of work (ie, turn up at the terminal), to time finished is the time to be paid for.
Ed Crist 2
Well, I certainly hope this isn't going to affect the pittance pay of the CEO of Delta. Do we need to start a Go Fund Me account for the poor fella. And maybe I was just lucky, but I was always treated with the utmost respect and courteous help from the Delta FA (s) I came in contact with.
darjr26 2
With a few exceptions the pilots are not on the clock until the aircraft generates an “out” time. Preflight prep counts as duty time but not flight time. Some pilots have been known to generate a false “out” time just to get the meter running. Shocking!
bobfiegel 3
HALF pay? Why? Are they only halfway responsible for passenger safety during that time? How do we identify those lucky passengers who get help to evac in a ground emergency at the gate?
M. R. 2
Thanks Delta ! You just made all the other companies Flight Attendants that don’t get paid and their union hop on this train. Then Delta insulted their own employee by offering half pay, brilliant move.
ImperialEagle 2
It's all part of the Corporate chess-game played with the Unions. It's a delicate balancing act. Give them an inch and they will take a mile is the mentality of both sides. Not a good situation for the company or the employees. History has shown that greed from either party can and will crash the whole airline.
Jeraboam 2
If a company cannot afford to pay its employees for all the hours they are at their workplace, then they shouldn't be in business. If this was the law, all airlines would have to treat their employees fairly. If this required passengers to pay more for their flights, it would not be any different from companies in every sector. Wages go up, materials go up, purchase price goes up.
Jim Allen 2
Agreed. If everyone treats this (and business in general) as a zero-sum game - it’s a race to the bottom where the loser is the one left holding the bag.
skylab72 1
"greed from either party can and will crash the whole airline" ??? Clearly, you do not understand the power difference between those managing the money and those getting wages by the clock. The greed and stupidity that is killing capitalism is coming from controlling investors, the occupants of board rooms, and 'C' Suites! Take Econ-101.
ExPatHere 1
Cannot believe this wasn’t already happening! Ditto with below comment….” About bloody time!”
J B 1
Unionized FAs bid their schedules on a seniority-based selection system that's nearly as sophisticated, with less but still wide disparity in pay for hours / days, as that of unionized pilots. These changes would likely be much higher priority for more recent lower-paid hires who do the higher turnaround schedules or as a recruitment aid given the pandemic impacts on the appeal of these jobs in a challenging environment. More likely a subtle recalibration of total compensation than a tub-thumping issue of labor justice.
HP Baumeister 1
Sound like the greeters at Walmart are getting paid better than the “greeters” for a flight??? Crazy!
Jim Scott 1
it's more complicated than that. Non-union FA's can also use seniority to bid flights and trips. There is also Reserve time paid, and per diem (tax free). So while beginning FAs do not gross big money, long time Delta FAs who fly mostly international and despite FAAs maximum-flight-hour restrictions can make up to $150k per annum.
blt56 1
At some point it is just math. Pay less per hour and include boarding time or pay them more per hour and exclude boarding time. They get paid what the employer was willing to pay.
Sometimes it is how you look at it.
Frank Ervin 1
I strongly support this forward looking United Airlines policy.
chugheset -4
No wonder they were always so surly when asked for help stowing your luggage...
M. R. 2
It has nothing to do with lifting or helping you lift your bag into the over head bins.
mickey hines 6
OMG. Lift your own bag. Oh, can/t? Then check it..
M. R. 4


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