A couple hundred of American Airlines flight attendants were incorrectly assigned to work trips in December, leading the Fort Worth-based carrier to offer extra pay during the busy holiday travel month.
The issue occurred as part of a problem with the airline’s preferential bidding systems program that flight attendants use to bid for flights to work each month. The program, which is operated by an outside vendor, placed some of the former US Airways flight attendants on flights that they did not bid for later in December.
“Whatever the number, it’s too many, and we are doing our best to correct the matter,” said American spokesman Casey Norton. “Our first priority was to reach out to those flight attendants who received mis-awarded trips and offer solutions.”
American said it will pay the flight attendants on mis-assigned trips 300 percent pay if they choose to work the trip. If they don’t fly the trip, they are eligible for pay protection as outlined in their union contract.
The airline also agreed to pay all of its former US Airways flight attendants 150 percent pay for flights worked from December 15 to December 31.
During the holidays, American typically schedules more flights in the last two weeks of December to accommodate the increased demand from travelers which means that more flight attendants are needed to work “reserve” or “standby” during the two busy holiday weeks. The issue with the bidding software was not related to the merger of American and US Airways, the company said.
“While there is no perfect remedy, these additional pay provisions, along with the increased flexibility to trip improve, are important measures that were negotiated due to the circumstances surrounding the bid award,” the Association of Professional Flight Attendants told its members in a hotline message last week. “APFA and the Company will continue to work together as the discussions regarding the PBS system and necessary actions moving forward are our number one priority.”