The Desire For More Money From The Airlines Is Impacting The Living Standards Of The Employees

The excess baggage fees, overbooking and narrow seats have caused the public to question the policies of the airline industry. The cause? In a word – profit. The corporations desire for constant profit has caused a significant decline in employee satisfaction, and financial stability as well.

What has changed?

During the 1990’s, the smallest seats in economy were larger than the biggest seats available in economy today. The pressure from passengers for travel accessibility has prompted the airlines to create additional seats; thereby decreasing the comfort of the passengers and making it more difficult for the flight attendants to walk down the aisles. Many employees work under these cramped conditions for fifteen hours every day and are at a higher risk for injuries.

The number of passengers on each flight has also significantly increased since 1995. By 2016 the load factor had increased from 67 percent to 83.4 percent. The workload of the gate agents has dramatically increased as well. Flights are overbooked by as many as 25 seats. Disciplinary action is taken against the gate agents if the flight departs late, while stressed passengers take their frustrations out on those same agents. There is also additional baggage flying with these passengers, baggage fees have been raised and the airline profit is as high as $866 million. The money often goes directly to airline investors, and loans for airline employees are becoming more common.

Airline workers must perform their duties in smaller areas, accept reduced wages, less benefits and face unsafe conditions to increase the profits of the United States airline industry. The pursuit of profit and the deregulation of the airline industry in the United States are responsible for the discomfort of the passengers and the stress of the employees. When Ronald Reagan stopped the Air Traffic Controller Union’s strike, the quality of living for airline employees started to drop. The employment conditions have become worse during the past forty years. Airline jobs during the 1980’s offered excellent benefits and full-time status.

According to the Transportation Workers Union, one of the major airlines has fired 468 airline employees in just over two years. This is a loss of 1.7 percent of their flight attendants since January of 2015. Any airline employee in the lower ten percent is automatically dismissed by numerous airlines every year. Disciplinary actions have cost seventeen percent of airline workers their jobs. To remain motivated and happy with their jobs, the employees must receive fair pay and be respected by their colleagues. The airlines are sapping the morale of the workers.

Another popular airline is now providing a lottery for their employees as opposed to quarterly bonuses. The $100,000 lottery prize was mentioned in a March 2nd memo by the president of the airline. The lottery was referred to as an exciting rewards program including small cash awards, luxurious vacations and Mercedes sedans. The problem is the employees achieving their individual performance goals will receive a lottery entry instead of their quarterly bonuses. The employees are unhappy with this change and many spoke to the Chicago Business Journal. They stated the memo lit a fire under the workers. According to Bloomberg, the employees would be much happier with a smaller bonus than being entered in a drawing.

The airline in question countered employees and naysayers by replying that the lottery will result in a feeling of accomplishment and generate excitement among the employees. The airline has assumed these employees will work just as hard for an entry into the lottery as they did to meet the guidelines for quarterly bonuses. This may impact the performance and output of the airline. In either case, the employee’s standard of living has begun to suffer.

Short term loans for airline employees have become a more commonplace solution to the difficulties faced. BMG Money offers one such loan program, which works entirely within your existing payroll system. If you’re an airline employee facing financial hardship, contact us today to review your options.

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