American Airlines asks employees to volunteer to help with summer rush
American Airlines is asking its corporate headquarters employees to volunteer at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport this summer as the carrier grapples with an influx of summer passengers due to pent-up pandemic demand.
American, which is headquartered a few miles from its largest hub in DFW, is asking non-union workers to give up their free time to help DFW frontline workers with tasks such as helping clients in the international terminal and the return of wheelchairs.
“While we look forward to welcoming more of our customers again this summer, we know they are counting on us to ensure a reliable operation and to help them feel comfortable when they return after several months of absence. American Airlines spokesperson Sarah Jantz said. in a report. “This is an area in which our frontline teams are experts, as they regularly go above and beyond to take care of our clients. To ensure they have the support they need this summer and beyond, our business support teams will provide additional support to DFW. “
Headquarters employees, who work in areas such as planning, planning and network communications, will not be paid for overtime shifts and are required to volunteer outside of their normal duties. But the airline also doesn’t require employees to do extra work.
The bulk of the work will be helping customers navigate the airport at points of entry, TSA lines and exiting planes. Volunteers will be there to supplement full-time workers such as gate and ticket agents, and the airline expects to use volunteers only during the busiest time, June through mid-August.
American Airlines has fewer support staff after a year of cutting costs to help the company return to a strong financial position. The carrier has cut 30% of its support staff through voluntary departures, early retirements and layoffs of around 1,500 staff.
But the airline and airports across the country have been plagued by a shortage of workers, from wheelchair transport workers to restaurant cooks.
Passenger traffic at airports across the country has increased in recent months as more people get vaccinated and the global COVID-19 pandemic reaches its second summer. Just under 2 million passengers passed through security checkpoints at airports across the country on Sunday, the Transportation Security Administration reported. This is the highest number since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.
During Memorial Day weekend, DFW International Airport handled 88% as many departing and landing passengers as it did on Memorial Day 2019, airport CEO Sean Donohue said.
“Memorial Day weekend has been a very busy one here at DFW for the weekend,” Donohue said last week.
For its part, American is actually planning more flights from DFW this summer than in 2019. It also has 219 destinations from the central airport, more than two years ago.