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5.02.08 – (LAA) – Negotiating Team Prepares for Meetings with AA, Eos Ceases Operations, AA Charges Passengers $25 to Check Second Bag, AA Loses SkyCaps Lawsuit at BOS, Pay Protections

You’ve reached the APFA HotLine for Friday, May 2. This is Frank Bastien, APFA National Communications Coordinator.

Your APFA Negotiating team met with the Company on Wednesday to plan a schedule for future meetings. Formal talks are now set to begin June 10 while in the meantime the APFA Team continues their extensive preparation work.

Airline alliances continue to dominate industry news this week. British Airways stated in the London press on Wednesday that they were holding talks with both American Airlines and Continental Airlines in what they termed “exploring opportunities for cooperation.” BA added that, “further details will be announced when appropriate.”

An American Airlines spokesperson confirmed that conversations with both British Airways and Continental have taken place regarding what was termed a “marketing alliance.” We will continue to press the Company for more information and will relay any news to you via our website and this HotLine. Rest assured we will be prepared for any outcome and will ensure that your interests are protected.

For its part, Continental on Sunday stated it had decided not to merge with anyone, but that it would “continue to review potential alliances.” Continental had most recently been mentioned as the most likely marriage partner with United. Since the Sunday announcement, analysts now are looking to United and US Airways as the next best potential tie-up.

Delta and Northwest move closer together by combining some employee benefits, well ahead of any merger approval. Beginning May 6, employees and retirees of the two companies will receive reciprocal travel benefits.

Meanwhile, another airline has folded. Upscale business-class-only carrier Eos ceased operating its JFK to London flights on April 27.

American Airlines has joined other major carriers in charging passengers $25 to check a second bag. Flight Attendants should not see any changes from this provided the Company has done their planning ahead of time and prepared for attempts by passengers to thwart the rule and bring more items as carry-on. If you notice an increase in efforts to bring more bags on board than is permitted, please email us the details, including flight number and date.

Failure to plan for the results of their policy changes is not unheard of at American. AA recently lost a lawsuit filed by SkyCaps at Boston’s Logan Airport, who saw their tips dwindle after the company instituted a $2 per-bag charge for SkyCap service. In response, the airline has not only appealed the verdict – and the costly damages award – but has cut out tipping altogether! A lawyer representing the SkyCaps called that action retaliatory. Meantime, the SkyCaps have expanded their suit to include United and US Airways.

From the APFA Contract Department, AA Pay Comp now anticipates that they will have pay protection which resulted from the MD-80 inspection cancellations in April activity records early next week. Once that process is indeed complete, we will update this HotLine and advise how to handle any discrepancies which may exist.

As if the merger rumors in the news were not enough to cause confusion, Flight Attendants continue to report talk circulating on the line concerning two always hot issues: seniority and furloughs. First, seniority: there have been, and will be, no changes to the TWA Seniority Agreement. And second, the Company has not informed APFA of any planned furloughs. Please continue to send us your questions regarding rumors you hear on the line, but please be kind to your fellow Flight Attendants – and the 1,193 APFA members still awaiting recall – and do not spread unconfirmed rumors around.

Thank you for calling the APFA HotLine.

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