Up To 600 FAs Will Be Offered Chance To... Abandon Ship?
United Airlines and the Association
of Flight Attendants announced last week the two sides agreed on a
one-time opportunity for eligible flight attendants to voluntarily
separate from the company, in hopes of culling the troubled
carrier's employment ranks.
The program -- the first offered to flight attendants since the
early 1980s, according to Bloomberg -- will be available for up to
600 United attendants.
"We are pleased to have reached an agreement with the AFA that
benefits our employees and our company, and will mitigate the
impact of our announced capacity reductions," said Alex Marren,
senior vice president -- Onboard Service for United.
Flight attendants who are at least 45 years old and have at
least 15 years of flight attendant service with the company as of
August 1, 2008 will be eligible to participate, with severance
payments based on years of service and retiree travel benefits.
The offer provides $500 for each year of service as an
attendant, up to 25 years. That works out to as much as $12,500,
payable in 12 installments starting in January.
For a program aimed at convincing flight attendants to leave the
carrier, one could argue the plan doesn't really give FAs much
incentive for them to do so... unless, that is, those
attendants are convinced their jobs are on the bubble,
As ANN has reported, United
announced drastic cutbacks last week to both its fleet size, and
employment ranks. The airline plans to shed 1,100 salaried jobs in
the coming months, and the cuts probably won't end there, if oil
prices keep climbing.
"The program is a completely voluntary option for members who
may be considering a career change," said Greg Davidowitch, AFA
president at United, to union members. Davidowitch also noted the
plan provides members "with a benefit that is not otherwise
available" -- namely, a way to leave the airline, and still get
That just might be enough for a lot of them...