United to Offer Up to $100,000 Lump Sums to Thin Out Flight-Attendant Ranks

(Chicago Tribune/MCT) -

United Airlines on Monday said it will offer some flight attendants buyout packages, as it recalls flight attendants who are on voluntary and involuntary furlough.

United, which has too many flight attendants, will offer lump-sum payouts of up to $100,000 for flight attendants who apply for the early out and meet certain service and eligibility qualifications.

The company will award early outs in seniority order, it said. Flight attendants are represented by the Association of Flight Attendants.

United currently has 1,450 flight attendants on furlough, and expects to award up to 2,100 early-out packages over the next two years, spokeswoman Megan McCarthy said, adding that the move should have no impact on the flying public.

United and the AFA are in mediated negotiations on a single, joint contract that covers former United and Continental Airlines flight attendants. United and Continental merged in 2010.

A statement by the AFA called the buyout program a “historic” agreement that provides “real options for flight attendants.” It said the deal “is intended to resolve staffing issues at the airline and promote a landscape that supports the expedited negotiations underway for a joint contract.”