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Flight attendants will make up majority of United's 16,000 employee furloughs

Sept. 02, 2020
3 min read
Flight attendants will make up majority of United's 16,000 employee furloughs
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Update 9/2/20: The text below has been updated to clarify that only employees opting for voluntary leave with receive healthcare benefits during their entire time-off period. Most employees facing an involuntary furlough will receive benefits at their current rates for the first three months.


From the early days of the pandemic, airline employees have had a key date marked on their calendars. Beginning Oct. 1, 2020, less than one month from today, airlines that accepted funding as part of the U.S. government's CARES Act will be permitted to trim their ranks to match demand, likely leading to tens of thousands of involuntary furloughs.

While some airlines may be able to avoid involuntary reductions, that won't be the case across the board. Last week, American Airlines announced plans to furlough 19,000 employees, and Wednesday morning, United Airlines detailed its own employee reduction plans.

Related: American Airlines to lay off 19,000 workers when federal aid ends

Back in July, United suggested it may need to furlough as many as 36,000 employees. Through a variety of programs, including early retirements, voluntary leave and even a rare insourcing of 150 jobs in Denver (DEN), the carrier has managed to reduce its total number of involuntary furloughs to 16,370 employees.

Effective Oct. 1, up to 16,370 United employees will no longer receive a paycheck. They will be eligible for company-provided healthcare during their furlough period, however, and could be recalled at any time, with 14-day notice, to return to their jobs.

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Many United employee groups will be impacted, from flight attendants to airport employees. Screenshot courtesy of United.

As of today, United expects to furlough 6,920 flight attendants, 2,850 pilots, 2,260 airport operations employees, 2,010 maintenance employees, 1,400 management and administrative employees, 430 contact center workers, 320 catering employees and 180 Network Operations Center workers.

In addition to the 16,370 involuntary furloughs, thousands of flight attendants, airport operations, management and administration employees have already volunteered to take temporary leave, making the airline's total headcount far smaller than it was before the pandemic.

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All employees on voluntary leave will continue to receive health benefits. In addition, airport, contact center and maintenance workers who volunteered for time off will receive 25% pay during their 12-month leave.

As for flight attendants, while those employees who volunteered for an 8- or 13-month leave won't have a regular schedule, they will be eligible to work individual trips, as they become available. United is still negotiating with its pilots — the airline may be able to avoid a number of involuntary furloughs if an agreement is reached.

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  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
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Best card for premium perks while traveling
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

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • 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.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023