Operational reliability is “more important than ever,” Kristen Manion Taylor, Delta senior vice president of in-flight service, said in a memo to flight attendants. Delta already allows extra time for boarding larger aircraft, with domestic wide-body planes at 45 minutes and trans-oceanic aircraft at 50 minutes.
Demand for travel has rebounded from earlier in the pandemic, but airlines have been struggling with staff shortages and flight cancellations.
Delta is adding the boarding pay for crews as the Association of Flight Attendants seeks to organize workers at Delta.
Delta management knew “that changing domestic boarding time from 35 to 40 minutes without adding a benefit would create an uproar,” as a test of the system in October in Atlanta did, the Association of Flight Attendants union said on its website. The union added that “our organizing is pushing management to do more than they would have without being challenged.”
The airline said its “industry leading boarding pay component” is a response to feedback from flight attendants and the company’s “employee involvement group” of flight attendant representatives. Delta also announced 4% pay raises in March.
Taylor told flight attendants the new boarding pay is an “industry first” that “further recognizes how important your role is on board to ensuring a welcoming, safe and on-time start to each flight and for each customer.