Delta begins paying flight attendants while on board

Faced with another attempt to integrate flight attendants, Delta is the first major US airline to begin paying flight attendants during boarding.

Throughout the US aviation industry, flight attendant hourly wages begin when all passengers are seated and the plane doors close.

Delta said the change will begin on June 2nd on all flights.

In a note to flight attendants, Kristen Manion Taylor, Senior Vice President of In-flight Services at Delta Air Lines, said: “

The wage at the time of boarding is 50% of the normal wage.

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This change is due to Delta’s plans to extend boarding time for single-aisle or “narrow-body” aircraft from 35 minutes to 40 minutes. This will increase the percentage of flights departing on time by airlines.

Mannion Taylor said he promised not to impose new boarding time without paying additional fees to the flight attendants after receiving comments from the flight attendants after the test last fall.

According to Delta Air Lines, the new boarding fare will be announced in March and will be added to the 4% increase in flight attendants coming into effect later this week.

Atlanta-based Delta has successfully launched a campaign to defeat several attempts to organize 20,000 flight attendants. The Flight Attendants Association, which has been preparing for more than two years of the latest organizing efforts at Delta but has not yet accumulated sufficient support to enforce voting, has acknowledged the boarding fee.

“This new policy is a direct result of our organization,” the union said in a statement posted on its website. “As we approach the submission of union votes, management is getting nervous.”

The union represents flight attendants for United, Alaska, Spirit, and about 12 small airlines. According to Delta, none of these airlines pay flight attendants for boarding hours.

According to regulatory filings, trade unions make up 82% to 86% of US, United and Southwest workers, but only 20% of Delta’s 83,000 employees. Delta’s 13,000 pilots are represented by the Airline Pilot Association. The flight attendants of Delta’s Pinnacle Airlines regional flight subsidiary are united.


David K├Ânig can be reached at