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Southwest Airlines is following a page from American Airlines' playbook in the hopes of avoiding any travel disruptions during the important holiday flying season.
Like American, Southwest on Saturday offered flight attendants a series of incentives to work more between Thanksgiving and New Year's to make up for the shortfalls in staffing that have beset virtually every airline.
According to an internal memo seen by CNBC, Southwest is offering flight attendants extra pay and up to 120,000 Rapid Rewards frequent flyer points that could be worth up to $1,400 in flights.
Southwest as well as Spirit and American have suffered through disastrous cancellations and delays this year, a good portion of it fueled by staff shortages and the inability to get flight crews in place at certain airports.
Southwest has actually been bitten twice by the disruption bug this year and had to cancel more than 2,000 flights just last month, an issue that cost the airline $75 million.
Southwest's vice president of inflight operations Sonya Lacore wrote in her note to staff that "we believe this incentive program will take us another step in the right direction."
The airline has varying degrees of incentives for different groups ranging from flight attendants to cabin crew to ground operations, depending on when, and how long, they work. At the top of the list is triple pay, for instance, for ground operations employees who work both Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Also at the top of the list are flight attendants who work 36 days over a 61-day period between November 15 and January 14.
American Airlines earlier last week offered a similar package to its flight attendants. Just days after that, however, American's pilots' union rejected a similar offer, opting instead to try to negotiate more permanent concessions.
Rich Thomaselli has written for TravelPulse since 2014 and has been a professional journalist for nearly 40 years. His work has...
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