United, Spirit provide larger pay to on board employees throughout January By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A Spirit Airlines Airbuys A320-200 aircraft sits at a gate at O’Hare Airport in Chicago, Ill., Oct. 2, 2014.REUTERS / Jim Young / File Photo

From Abhijith Ganapavaram

(Reuters) – United Airlines and Spirit Airlines (NYSE 🙂 Inc. raises salaries for onboard staff as they scramble to keep flight schedules intact after US airlines were hit by a week of mass cancellations.

While Spirit flight attendants are paid double for every job through Jan. 4, United is offering triple time to pilots starting additional flights in January, according to an internal Reuters memo, according to its union.

The holiday season was clouded by delayed or canceled flights, causing chaos at most U.S. airports as sick staff and fear of contracting COVID-19 rise. Coupled with the prospect of stubborn passengers, many pilots and flight attendants even forego overtime incentives.

That reluctance, combined with bad weather and scarce staff, has resulted in over 8,000 flight cancellations in the past eight days, according to flight tracking website FlightAware.com.

“All flight attendants, regardless of how they received their pairing, will receive 200% pay for each pairing that occurs December 28 through January 4,” the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA said in a statement. The union represents around 4,000 flight attendants at Spirit Airlines, according to the airline’s latest annual report.

At the beginning of the year, Florida-based Spirit Airlines had to cancel almost 3,000 flights due to bad weather and staff shortages.

JetBlue Airways (NASDAQ 🙂 Corp said in a customer note Thursday that 75% of its crew will be based in the northeastern United States, a region hard hit by COVID-19 infections. The airline has already cut its flight schedule by around 1,280 flights by January 13th.

Alaska Air (NYSE 🙂 Group Inc said while the pandemic hit its operations, the vast majority of cancellations and delays were due to bad weather.

The airline agreed last week to offer some benefits such as:

Hawaiian Airlines said it did not offer its crew any new incentives to work during the holiday season.

SkyWest (NASDAQ 🙂 Airlines announced that their operations will continue to be adversely affected due to the weather and the Omicron variant, which is spreading rapidly and causing record-breaking cases in the United States.

CNBC first reported on United’s salary plans.

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