Alaska Airlines is granting double pay to current flight attendants who work more than 100 flights per pay in a month until new flight attendants are onboarded, according to a CNBC report. A single flight for cabin crew is a single journey, although flight attendants may work many trips in a single day. They could fly from Portland to Seattle to pick up people, then travel from Seattle to Minneapolis in a few hours. These journeys frequently need an overnight stay in a new city's hotel, which is usually paid for by the airline - but it is still time away from family, friends, and personal activities.
Alaska Airlines, like American Airlines, is reacting to a requirement to have enough flight attendants on hand to fly the whole network, despite having over 5,500 flight attendants on staff at the end of 2021. The flight attendant shortage is mostly due to a return to travel following the COVID-19 pandemic, which has put a strain on Alaska Airlines' present capacity, forcing the carrier to reduce flights.
The FAA requires that aeroplanes with a seating capacity of more than 100 passengers - such as Alaska Airlines' Boeing 737s and Airbus A320s - have two flight attendants, plus one additional flight attendant for each unit of 50 passenger seats above a seating capacity of 100 passengers; for example, 150 passengers would require three flight attendants, 200 passengers would require four, and so on. Alaska Airlines normally has at least four flight attendants onboard each mainline aircraft, according to the author, especially because the Boeing 737-900ER can seat 178 people in three classes.