American Airlines facing flight attendant shortage

Nov 26, 2020

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After furloughing 8,000 flight attendants in October, American Airlines is now facing a shortage. Amid the global pandemic and economic downturn, the airline has struggled to stay afloat without the federal aid that ran out on Oct. 1, 2020.

While the airline plans to recall staff in early 2021when the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines are expected to become available, the airline is still struggling to balance its shortage against the safety of its crew.

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Economy class on an American Airlines Boeing 737. (Photo by Victoria M. Walker/The Points Guy)

According to the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA), airline crew are being stretched thin due to the staff shortage. Because flight attendants are working longer hours, they’re also at an increased risk of COVID-19 exposure. In fact, the APFA reports a significant increase in “pandemic-related” sick leave in recent months.

Amid the global pandemic and economic downturn, it’s not entirely surprising that American Airlines is facing a flight attendant shortage. American Airlines has responded to these issues by stating it is working with the APFA to address these concerns.

Staffing issues are likely to persist through the holiday season. Despite warnings from the CDC to stay home during the holidays, the TSA reported more than a million passenger screenings this past Wednesday. As travel demand increases,  flight attendants will likely face more challenges before additional crew can be recalled to lighten the load.

Featured photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images

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