For the 403 flight attendants who have been relocated from the soon-to-be-closed San Francisco crew base, American Airlines has agreed to cover their transfer costs.
Nine bases will be available for flight attendants to choose from, and some may be required to relocate 2,692 miles to Boston.
The airline made the surprise announcement that its more than 50-year-old flight attendant base in San Francisco would be shuttered because there are “no future flying prospects” for flight attendants in Northern California based on America’s “current network strategy”.
The Dallas Fort Worth-based airline hasn’t given flight attendants much notice of the closure, and even though it doesn’t plan to lay off any employees, crew members were told there weren’t any openings in Los Angeles and only a few in Phoenix.
Instead, flight attendants will have to decide between moving to a new location and uprooting their lives or traveling across the country to a base with openings.
Once the open positions in Phoenix have been filled, Dallas Fort Worth, which is located around 1,464 miles from San Francisco International Airport, is the next closest crew base with open openings.
Washington National Airport is 2,435 miles from Washington National, 2,296 miles from Charlotte, and 1,840 miles from Chicago. Additionally, flight attendants will be able to bid to relocate to Miami and LaGuardia.
At first, it was believed that relocations to new bases would be considered “voluntary” movements, absolving the airline of its need to cover flight attendants’ relocating costs.
Since then, the airline and the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) have come to an agreement that would allow displaced flight attendants to receive reimbursement for their moving costs.
The union has called the closing of the San Francisco base a “slap in the face.”
“Just as the airline is returning to profitability, and Flight Attendants are optimistic that our operation may soon return to normal, we are left asking why now,” the union complained earlier this month.
“We should never choose profits over people. Our SFO-based Flight Attendants feel like just numbers in the system.”