American Extends Furlough Offer to Flight Attendants

Flight attendants get an extra week to decide on voluntary furlough.

American Airlines gave flight attendants an extra week to decide whether to agree to a voluntary furlough agreement with the airline.

The Dallas Business Journal reported the furlough offer, which expired on July 31, has been extended another week. This will give  flight attendants, who previously believed they would have to cover the full cost of their Cobra benefits while on leave, can reconsider after learning a portion of their benefits will be subsidized during their voluntary leaves, according to Frank Bastien, a spokesman for the Association of Professional Flight Attendants.

American announced earlier this summer it planned to cut 1,200 flight attendant positions. Fewer people would be ordered off the job if some take the deal.

"Maybe someone who put in for only three months might take a full eight months," Bastien said, when explaining the benefit of keeping the acceptance window open for another week.

AMR spokeswoman Missy Latham said, "American, working together with APFA, is reopening the over-age leave and travel separation options to flight attendants due to a relatively new law that might offer additional benefits to employees whose jobs are affected by a reduction in force. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act 2009 includes a provision that calls for government subsidy of Cobra benefits for workers not only involuntarily separated from their employer, but also for those who take a voluntary option to prevent another employee from being furloughed."

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