American Airlines warns 20,000 could lose jobs, flight attendant staffing will be very different

July 26, 2020 in News by RBN Staff


Over the weekend of July 25, Jill Surdek, American Airlines SVP of Flight Service sent a memo to flight attendants offering details of what they should expect come Oct. 1 after the CARES Act expires.

Unsurprisingly, the details don’t look great. Many flight attendants — even those with long-term seniority — will be placed on reserve duty, meaning that they’ll be placed “on call” for any trip. Plus, with limited international flying expected through next year, there’ll be less opportunity for those exciting trips. Instead, many will be four-day, grueling domestic hops with lots more flights per day and shorter layovers.

 The memo also warns of displacements to other bases, meaning that crew might need to commute or move to another city. Lastly, the letter mentions that masks will be mandatory for the seeable future.

American Airlines originally sent a letter to 25,000 employees on July 15 notifying them they may not be needed come fall. The news was first reported by the Wall Street Journal. American said as many as 20,000 employees could lose their jobs. That would be as much as 29% of front-line workers. Previous layoffs including administrators and mangers led to 5,000 job cuts.

It comes exactly one week after United sent similar letters to 45% of its workforce.

The Texas-based airline is required by federal law to send notice to employees of potential layoffs or furloughs in advance. Under U.S. labor laws airlines must give workers 60 days notice. 25,000 letters were reportedly sent out. That includes airport employees and operations employees.