Big News: Delta Will Furlough Zero Flight Attendants

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October 1, 2020 is approaching, and it is a day that many in the airline industry are dreading except flight attendants at Delta Air Lines.


Earlier this year, the US airlines received billions of dollars from the American taxpayer in payroll support from the CARES ACT. As a condition to accepting the financial relief, airlines vowed not to involuntarily furlough any employees through September 31, 2020.

However, with the fast approaching end date, funding is running out and many airlines have already announced the amount of people they intend to layoff.

For context:

  • American Airlines: plans to furlough 19,000 employees (nearly 43% are flight attendants)
  • Southwest Airlines: not furloughing any employees in October
  • United Airlines: plans to furlough 16,000 employees (nearly 43% are flight attendants) and will continue to layoff every 30 days

It’s worth noting that this article is specifically speaking about the non-unionized flight attendants at Delta. The airline has, however, announced nearly 2000 furloughs for their unionized pilots on October 1.


Airlines continue to lobby for an extension to the payroll support program that has allowed many airline employees to keep to their jobs. Though one has to ask, what extension is reasonable? January 2021? July 2021? January 2022?

Much of the answer is dependent on customer demand returning to previous numbers and many airline executives have predicted that numbers will not return until 2024.

Additionally, the United States overwhelmingly tops the list of countries with the most annual airline passenger (~900 million vs #2 China with ~500 million passengers). With Americans essentially being banned from entering every country on earth at the moment, is it possible for the numbers to return to “normal?”

By all means, this is an unfortunate situation for all airline employees. In fact, nearly 17,000 employees have already opted for early-outs and retirement at Delta alone which is staggering when considering the entire airline industry.

What do you think about Delta not furloughing any flight attendants? Is it surprising that the unionized pilots are receiving furlough notices, but the non-unionized flight attendants are not?


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