Airways, Dealing with a Gradual Restoration, Start Furloughing Hundreds
Amy Ticknor, a flight attendant who is among the 19,000 people American Airlines is on leave, filed for unemployment insurance Thursday and looked after her 6-week-old and 2-year-old daughters. She was also looking for a full-time job – her husband is self-employed and her job provided the family with health insurance.
Ms. Ticknor, who is also on the seventh week of a 10-week maternity leave, said she was encouraged by lobbying efforts from her union, the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, but was disappointed when it became clear on Wednesday that a one was second round of federal funding was unlikely.
“It was devastating,” said Ms. Ticknor, 29. “It was a severe blow to everything, my family life, my emotional well-being.”
Southwest Airlines and Delta Air Lines, the country’s two other major national airlines, have, at least for the time being, avoided taking vacations for temporary vacation and other voluntary programs. More than 40,000 Delta employees have signed up for short and long term unpaid leave. The company has announced that it will take about 1,700 pilots on leave next month. Nearly 17,000 employees in the Southwest have signed up for vacation, takeovers, or early retirement, and the company has announced that it will not be taking any workers off until the end of the year.
“They have very, very strong corporate cultures, and I think those cultures showed how these airlines could avoid the vacation days,” said Henry Harteveldt, founder of Atmosphere Research Group, a travel analysis firm. “Delta and Southwest were able to communicate more effectively.”
American and United have also borrowed more than $ 5 billion each from the Treasury Department, which the government decides could grow to $ 7.5 billion each. Southwest and Delta rejected the loans, which were approved by the March stimulus bill, the CARES bill. Across the industry, airlines have raised billions from various sources.