JetBlue Airways has pleaded with staff not to turn down shifts in the coming months, as it gears up for what is expected to be a crucial spring and summer season.
Many airlines have seen travel demand recover faster than expected, which has led to a widespread scramble to hire thousands of workers across all parts of the industry, particularly onboard staff.
The bounce back in demand was highlighted earlier this week after the Transportation Security Administration said the number of travellers had reached its highest point since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
“Don’t let down crew and customers”
In an email, JetBlue’s head of customer care, Ed Baklor, asked employees to not “refuse” any assignments to which they are assigned as it is “disruptive to the operation”. Mr Baklor said it also “lets down” fellow crew members and “disappoints our customers”.
“We are still unprofitable after two years and now face rising fuel prices and other inflationary pressures that make it challenging for everyone. With strong consumer demand and record hiring, we are anticipating a healthy summer.
We will see the other side of this if we can count on your continued patience, partnership and teamwork along the way.”
Senior airline executives have reportedly told investors that they forecast strong demand for air travel in the coming months and that they expect travellers’ willingness to fork out more for tickets to help cover booming fuel prices.
Hiring targets “on course” to be met
JetBlue didn’t respond to a request for a comment on the communication sent to staff, but the airline’s boss Robin Hayes told reporters last week that staffing shortages are one of the critical capacity limitations currently facing the industry.
The airline hopes to hire 700 new staff, including pilots and flight attendants, before the summer and is on course to do so, according to Mr Baklor.
Many major carriers are feeling the high demand for flight attendants and efforts to secure workers include Alaska Airlines earlier this week offering double pay to those who take on additional shifts until at least May.
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