Flight attendants in the US are often not paid their full hourly rate for hours worked outside of flight time. As a result, they are not paid for the work that they do to help passengers successfully board the plane and deboard the plane. Flight attendants also don’t get paid for the time that they spend in the airport during delays. And if a flight is canceled, flight attendants are not reimbursed for the lost hours.
One flight attendant said that her plane was delayed 6 hours, but she only got paid for 2 hours of flight time. A flight attendant for Mesa Airlines says, “some days, a flight attendant may be paid for fewer than half of the hours she works.” Another flight attendant wrote on Twitter, “They pay us per diem, which is less than $2 from sign in [to] the time we get back to base. Our pay rate sounds really great until you average in all the hours we aren’t getting paid. All that time on the ground, connecting, delays, NOT PAID.”
Over 140,000 flight attendants have signed a Change.org petition requesting airlines to pay them for this time.
According to contracts with United and American Airlines, flight-time pay only covers the hours between when a plane has left and arrived at a gate.