American Airlines to Increase Number of Flight Attendants Standing By on Reserve

By Paul Riegler on 17 June 2018
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An American Airlines 777-300ER

An American Airlines 777-300ER

American Airlines said it plans to increase the number of flight attendants who are on what is known as reserve in the industry. Reserve crewmembers are those on call, usually by phone but sometimes at the airport, to cover trips that are unassigned or not covered due to disruptions in the course of daily operations.

In an internal e-mail to flight attendants at the airline obtained by Frequent Business Traveler magazine, Jill Surdek, the airline’s vice president of flight service since January 2017, wrote that the number of crewmembers who will be on reserve in July will be noticeably higher.

While admitting that “nobody likes being on reserve,” she added that “there’s no getting around it.”  The airline’s experience in May 2018, when it used nearly 100% of flight attendants on reserve, versus 80% on a typical day, put the airline on notice that it needed to follow this course of action.

Surdek attributed the need to expand reserves to an increased number of overall flights, the fact that more reserves have been needed recently thereby depleting the reserve contingent (something that could be attributed to increased absences as well as operational requirements), and contractual changes that are going into effect at the airline.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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