I am a retired American Airlines Captain.
A three-day trip once a week averaged 60-plus hours on duty. Each duty day was 10 to 14 hours long. For that I would accrue 12 to 15 hours of flight pay. To the ill-informed, I worked three days or 15 hours a week.
Andrea Ahles’ Monday article (see: “American flight attendants reject new contract”) stated that the contract pay declined by AA flight attendants was for “working 80 hours.”
That is inaccurate and misleading. The time crews spend on aircraft and flight prep are not paid flight hours. The flight attendant who greets you at boarding and prepares the cabin for departure is not yet on flight hour pay. He or she is working a multiple of 80 hours to earn 80 hours of flight pay.
Airline pay is complex and I wouldn’t expect the media to cover in a short article what consumes pages of contract language.
That said, flight crews work many hours in excess of their contractual flight hours.
Please understand the difference between paid flight hours and “working 80 hours.”
— Burt E. Ballentine, Keller