Your trip has gone away, so let’s protect our pay!
Pandemics, political upheaval, weather, short staffing, and mechanical delays can all lead to canceled rotations, but they should never lead to a canceled paycheck. At Delta, management gets exclusive discretion about how and when we get paid. The system is set up to benefit and protect the operation, not the Flight Attendants. With a union contract, we can fight for a more equitable system in which Flight Attendants are treated fairly, even when the operation falls to pieces.
At other unionized carriers, Flight Attendants have black and white work rules outlining how they get paid when a trip cancels or when they get flown into their off time. At Delta, we have two options: Availability or Priority Pickup. Going on Availability can mean last minute, expensive hotels while waiting for a trip. Priority Pickup can mean having to reschedule planned appointments or family time later in the month. With bi-weekly pay, we have even less flexibility when something cancels because our bills don’t cancel every time a 767 does.
For example, one of our fellow Flight Attendants reported that they had two TLV rotations built into one pay period the week the conflict started. When these rotations were canceled, the Flight Attendant was forced to choose AVL or PP. They chose PP for the first rotation because they’re a commuter, but the two-day they picked up didn’t cover the hours lost from TLV. For the second rotation, they chose AVL In an attempt to salvage some of the hours in their bi-weekly pay period. They were given a two day trip ending with a red-eye. When the Flight Attendant checked their pay in MOTS, they discovered that they were only paid a portion of the hours for the second trip because of where those hours fell on the bi-weekly pay calendar. In this real life example, the Flight Attendant went from a planned 46 hours to just 17 on that paycheck. Between bi-weekly pay and an unpredictable world, our paychecks are always in danger.
For a hypothetical example, imagine you’re sitting at home a couple days before your trip. You get a call from scheduling saying there’s been a change to your rotation. You check MiCrew only to discover that you have the dreaded “CALL” code where your Paris trip used to be. You know the drill: either you choose Availability and get assigned a trip that may not be commutable or desirable, or you roll the dice and take Priority Pickup hoping to find something better later in the month.
Imagine if the onus wasn’t on you to be available for the whole window of your trip. In United’s AFA contract, if Scheduling notifies you of a trip cancellation one or more calendar days ahead of time, and if at that time they don't have a reassignment for you but do not release you, then if you wish to remain pay protected you may call the night before your originally scheduled departure (1800-2200) for a one time reassignment. If no reassignment is given at that time, you are released from obligation with full trip pay protection. In no case can you be assigned into your days off. (Should you decide not to call the night before, while you lose pay protection for that trip, you are free to pick up on any of those days originally scheduled to fly to make up the time...or not.)
Cancellations, reroutes, and delays will always be a part of the airline industry, but the bottom line is that Delta Flight Attendants shouldn’t have to bear the financial burden of canceled flights. Flight Attendants need a real pay protection policy that respects seniority and doesn’t burden us with losing days off or sitting on call. The only way for us to have real protection is to form our union and negotiate an industry leading contract. Sign your card today to help secure your future!