Airlines Cash In as Flexible Work Changes Travel Patterns
Airlines like Delta and Southwest will offer new jobs in the wake of a U.S. Department of Labor ruling.
(Image: CNN)The American public seems to be aching for a change to the way we travel. With millions of frequent travelers, we have a great need for a single, unified way to pay for domestic and international air travel. There was certainly enough buzz on the internet to suggest that AirTran was going to do just that. But then a labor arbitrator ruled in favor of the National Air Carrier Association (NACA) and said it was wrong to allow Delta to pay its employees lower wages than those in other industries.
Delta, the world-wide airline, immediately responded by announcing a new program in which it will match federal travel vouchers (tickets) for a single seat on any regional or international flight it flies. The voucher will usually cost $150, but is only good for a one-way flight. Delta said it would consider more options over time as long as they were consistent with the labor agreement.
“We’ve looked at all the alternatives, and this one strikes us as a pretty good one,” said John Gartner, Delta’s senior vice president of fare engineering, who has led Delta’s efforts to create the new program. “We believe the most productive thing we can do at this time is to create a program that complements what we already have and that’s a high-quality product that we’re proud to offer and that we’re committed to.”
Southwest Airlines has also announced a change in its ticketing and pricing policy. It will now allow for three, four or five checked bags, depending on the seat. The number of bags is the only criteria it takes into consideration other than the fare and availability. The only way to know for sure if the seat you’re going to get has a lot of luggage is to ask the crew, who are on hand to make the final call.
Delta and Southwest had each come up with different programs but both have stated that they were following the United Airlines fare rules and policies, which also apply to their employees. Although AirTran tried to keep the program to the rules of its competition, the difference was in the details. Delta does not allow for one check-in