A baggage handler pushes a bag close to a Southwest Airlines airplane at Hollywood Burbank Airport in Burbank, California, October 10, 2021.

Robyn Beck | AFP | Getty Images

Southwest Airlines on Saturday supplied its flight attendants new incentives aimed toward avoiding extra flight cancellations, notably over the height holiday interval, amid considerations over staffing, in accordance to an inside memo.

Southwest canceled greater than 2,000 flights round Columbus Day weekend, disruptions the air service mentioned value it $75 million. American Airlines, which can be providing flight attendants and different crews extra pay for holiday shifts, struggled with mass flight cancellations late final month and in early November as nicely.

Flight attendants, pilots and different operations workers might obtain up to 120,000 Rapid Rewards factors, valued at greater than $1,400. Flight attendants are eligible for working 36 days between Nov. 15 and Jan. 14, whereas cabin crews who work 28 days over that interval might get 60,000 factors, the notice acknowledged. Southwest mentioned that the variety of qualifying shifts or days varies by work group.

The variety of no-shows or unreachable flight attendants has been elevated lately, Southwest’s vp of Sonya Lacore, vp of inflight operations, mentioned in her notice to cabin crews, which was reviewed by CNBC. Sick calls have surged as nicely when the corporate has lifted emergency insurance policies that required flight attendants to present a health care provider’s notice if calling out in poor health. For instance, Lacore mentioned when the airline final lifted these procedures on Nov. 9 sick calls went from 20 an hour to 90 an hour for 2 hours in a row.

“We have a great opportunity here to uphold that commitment to them, and you, in the midst of what has been a difficult time for us all,” wrote Lacore. “Our first step in addressing this, and actively working to protect the operation, was to reduce the schedule, and we believe this incentive program will take us another step in the right direction.”

The airline can be providing as a lot as triple pay to floor operations workers for working Thanksgiving and Christmas and double pay for time beyond regulation shifts between Nov. 17 by means of Nov. 30 and Dec. 17 by means of Jan. 3, up from time-and-a-half pay.

Airlines had supplied staff early retirement packages and leaves of absence to minimize their labor payments in the course of the pandemic however discovered themselves short-staffed when demand bounced again this yr. More flight attendants are returning to American and Southwest from go away, whereas these airways and others are additionally aggressively hiring.

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