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JetBlue may be able to avoid laying off pilots, flight attendants

July 03, 2020
3 min read
JetBlue may be able to avoid laying off pilots, flight attendants
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U.S. airlines accepting CARES Act grants are currently forbidden from implementing involuntary furloughs to reduce headcount, but that requirement currently only runs through Sept. 30. This October is not going to be pretty — that's when we're expecting airlines to begin laying off and furloughing employees, given that demand has yet to recover, and likely won't return to pre-coronavirus levels for years to come.

In the meantime, several airlines have been actively attempting to persuade employees to voluntarily step away from their jobs, offering perks like cash compensation, health benefits and even years of free travel, with the hopes that more pilots, flight attendants, airport workers and other employees will sign up to leave on their own.

As Wandering Aramean reports, there's some good news when it comes to JetBlue's voluntary separation program: The airline's initiative may end up largely being a success. JetBlue may be able to avoid laying off many employees, thanks to "healthy" buy-out participation among flight attendants, for example. Airport workers, maintenance technicians and some other teams seem to be in a good place as well, though the airline may need to reduce its headcount among support center and salaried employees.

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JetBlue is less dependent on business travel than larger, global airlines. Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy.

According to a Reuters report, meanwhile, JetBlue has come to an agreement with its pilots union, committing to avoid any involuntary pilot furloughs before May 2021. Such an arrangement may not materialize at larger U.S. airlines, including American, Delta and United — some of which have already warned pilots that furloughs may be on the way.

JetBlue could end up paying many more pilots than it actually needs to operate scheduled flights, but it may be worth the expense, given that captains and first officers require significant training before they can fly passengers, and the cost of hiring new pilots and bringing them up to speed could be higher than what the airline will spend to retain its existing workforce.

Also, in some ways, JetBlue is better positioned to weather this storm than its far larger counterparts — American, Delta and United — which depend on business travel and international passengers to make ends meet. With Europe and much of Asia off-limits to Americans, and the U.S. border closed to international visitors, carriers with a significant international footprint may need to make more drastic cuts. JetBlue does fly beyond the U.S., but most of its international service is to the Caribbean, which is beginning to reopen to American tourists.

Also, assuming JetBlue extends its generous no-neighbor guarantee, the airline will need more pilots and flight attendants to fly fewer passengers than say, American Airlines and United, which aren't capping capacity onboard their flights. Let's hope this all spells good news for the JetBlue crew.

Featured image by Getty Images

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  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
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Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

    Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points
    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent, Good

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases