AIRLINE officials have been accused of trying to “trap” their own overworked flight attendants on a delayed plane to stop a walkout.
Doors were allegedly closed on a Delta flight from Atlanta to Toronto on May 12 after the flight was grounded for three-and-a half-hours.
Huffpost reported that the plane doors were kept shut because a Delta official was worried the flight attendants would soon hit their maximum duty hours.
This could have prompted a walkout – forcing the airline to scramble to find another crew, or cancel the flight.
So an employee in Delta's operations control centre sent a message to the Delta gate agent handling the flight, according to HuffPost.
“Do not open door,” the message read. “flt attendants out of time and none available.”
The employee suggested the gate agent should “let [maintenance] do their work without opening door thanks.”
Another message was sent half-an-hour later at 10.19pm.
It read: “Ok…door is not closed by [11pm] Flt attendants walking. We will mostly likely have to delay flight until morning if this happens.”
The messages were sent in an internal server for employees.
'Y'ALL ARE TRYING TO TRAP US'
The flight attendants are understood to have decided to stay on the flight – despite working longer hours than they should have.
But they complained to Delta bosses and said they would be “tired and hungry”.
An attendant listed as “flight leader” voiced her complaints in correspondence seen by Huffpost.
“Since we are deciding to stay although y’all are trying to trap us on the plane, and now our layover has been shortened and we will be past our duty day, hungry and tired. It would be nice to have a deadhead at some point tomorrow.”
'WE ARE READY TO WALK'
A ‘deadhead’ is a crew member flying in a passenger seat. They are not a part of the working crew and are often being repositioned by the airline.
A later message said: “We are ready to walk literally, Doing the operation a huge favour.”
Delta is following up with the team involved to address the situation.
“Operating an airline is a team effort and the guidance shared in this exchange does not reflect the respect and collaboration we expect of our employees when making operational decisions,” a spokesperson told SunOnline.
“Delta’s unique culture is built on supporting one another and that didn’t happen in this case. We have followed up directly with the team members involved to address this situation.”
Delta said that the door on the flight was opened after the maintenance work was resolved and flight attendants could have walked out if they wanted to.
The flight attendants received additional pay for working longer hours.
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