Southwest Airlines

North Texas-Based Airlines Start Recalling Flight Attendants

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Southwest Airlines and American Airlines are re-calling flight attendants who were off the job because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Southwest Airlines provided the 'Extended Time-Off Program" to more than 2,700 flight attendants when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the airline industry hard.

The program was originally intended to decrease overstaffing and give flight attendants 6-18 months of time off and pilots 6 months - 5 years of time off in exchange for a portion of their pay and benefits.

The end of the program will take place on Tuesday, June 1, along with the recall of the same program for 209 pilots as well, according to a statement provided to NBC 5.

Pilots will be required to complete requalification training before traveling through the skies.

Fort Worth-based American Airlines is also recalling flight attendants.

“It’s definitely great news,” said Darian Sinclair. “Get back to the sky, some kind of normalcy.”

Sinclair, an American Airlines flight attendant says he will be back at work May 1 after being furloughed since September.

He received a recall notice and says while returning to work is great, there are some concerns weighing on his mind.

“When you come back at the end of September, will you have to start this process again? Get furloughed,” he asked. “It’s a rollercoaster ride.”

Former pilot and aviation expert Denny Kelly says the recall is a big boost for DFW.

“It’s going to mean a boost in traffic for DFW,” he said. “When you have a boost in traffic, you have these airlines, they pay landing fees at DFW airport to use the airport; so you have more flights, you’re going to get more landing fees, more income for the airports, plus other things, fuel taxes, that kind of thing.”

Kelly says airlines base recall schedules on seniority.

He cautions airlines could face staffing shortages if workers choose not to return.

“Some of these people that were furloughed went with other airlines or they took another job. Some of them went back into the military so all the ones called back may not get them back, so they may be a little short on pilots,” he said.

Sinclair took up some side gigs to get back, including disk jockey jobs. He looks forward to his ‘office view’ and seeing his AA colleagues again.

“I get to work with a lot of amazing people from all over and just having that connection back,” he said.

Kelly anticipates flight costs will begin to increase in the coming months between 10 and 20%. His advice? Book your flight now.

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