Alaska Airlines has announced plans to double salaries for flight attendants prepared to work extra shifts in the coming months.

Alaska’s new scheme mirrors the ones previously employed by airlines last year in an attempt to offset a decline in staff numbers, as demand continues to boom in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many airlines struggled in 2021 to staff the number of services required to match demand.

More travelling than ever since the pandemic began

The announcement comes shortly after the US Transport Security Administration recorded the most travellers at US airports in a single day since the pandemic began just over two years ago.

Almost 2.5 million passengers were recorded passing through airport security, believed to be fuelled by travellers seeking a spring break getaway.

alaska airlines announces double pay to staff to match increasing passenger numbers
The TSA recorded earlier this week the highest number of passengers since the pandemic began. | @ Raysonho

In 2020 and 2021, some airlines resorted to offering early retirement to staff in an attempt to mitigate the effects of the biggest crisis ever faced by the aviation industry.

A reluctance to return to the skies was common among staff as instability plagued the industry in the wake of a near-total halt in available work.

The measures failed, however, to match the pent-up demand for travel experienced over the summer of 2021. As such, airlines were forced to cancel services and those they managed to operate were beset by delays.

Airlines keen not to repeat staffing failures

The latest offers of double pay for staff are a clear attempt by airlines to avoid the same embarrassment faced last year. Alaska said in its statement:

“Like many other airlines, we are facing general staffing challenges. In response, we’re offering flight attendants pay incentives to fill gaps in staffing for a short period of time this Spring.”

According to reports, Alaska has already hired 165 new flight attendants and has plans to hire a whopping 700 more by June.

How well Alaska’s incentives work is yet to be seen. But in the meantime, rival carriers will likely be assessing their effectiveness before deciding whether or not to implement their own, particularly given the highly anticipated boom in travellers promised this summer.

Would you be swayed by Alaska’s pay incentives? Let us know in the comments below.

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