We’re going to see more transatlantic destinations coming to American Airlines, and a bunch of changes to the planes that are flying American’s international routes.
None of that’s especially surprising — one of the things that the merger allows American to do is take legacy American Airlines planes and put them on historically US Airways routes and vice versa based on matching the best equipment to route (some US Airways routes might have had planes that were too small, some routes might have had planes that were too big, the goal is to be… just right).
However what is surprising is that we’ll be seeing this on prime international routes that flight attendants love to fly before the airline integrates flight attendants of the two airlines. American still isn’t set up to have legacy American Airlines flights attendants fly legacy US Airways aircraft and vice versa, or to mix legacy American and legacy US Airways flight attendant crews on the same flights.
So when they take a European route historically flown by US Airways and assign a legacy America Airlines plane to fly it, that means US Airways flight attendants lose the opportunity and American Airlines flight attendants pick it up. It also means moving crew around the system to put them in place to do the flying.
- American has been flying legacy US Airways 757s to Hawaii. Those planes were leased and are being returned to the lessor.
- So US Airways transatlantic 757s are going to replace them on Hawaii routes, coming off of Philadelphia – Europe flying.
- Some Philadelphia – Europe routes will see legacy American Airlines 757s and 767s as a result.
This is good for customers. It means seeing planes with fully flat seats on the transatlantic routes, which is something that American has committed to so shouldn’t come as a surprise (and it was unlikely they were going to reconfigure leased 757s).
However the legacy US Airways flight attendants who are losing some Europe flying are not at all happy, since they won’t get to work those flights until American completes flight attendant integration. The airline handed out big raises to employees but this is likely to undermine some of the goodwill they had hoped for.
Here’s a memo sent to Philadelphia-based flight attendants from American Airlines Network Planning, via Flyertalk moderator TWA884:
Network Planning, Crew Operations and Flight Service
Thursday, June 8, 2017
All PHL-based flight attendants
Summer 2018 PHL international flying
This is the time of year we start loading our flight schedules into Sabre (our reservations system) for the following summer. You may have seen on social media that the PHL-LIS route is changing from a LUS aircraft to a LAA aircraft beginning in April 2018. First, we are incredibly sorry if you found out this way. We’re trying to be as transparent with you as possible – especially on things that affect your work life – and our plan was to share this aircraft swap once we had a better picture of the full summer schedule. Unfortunately this change was loaded into Sabre prematurely. To avoid something similar happening in the future, we want to share everything we know about next summer’s flying, including the background on this swap and some other changes you’ll see in 2018.
We are in the process of retiring some of the Boeing 757 (“B75H”) aircraft historically flown to our Hawaii markets. We don’t own these aircraft and the majority of our leases are set to expire. Unfortunately, extending our lease isn’t possible because the lessor has already committed these aircraft to other airlines. When looking at what aircraft to put on routes, we have to consider our network and fleet as a whole. The best decision to backfill them is to use the B757s (“B75E”) currently deployed in PHL-LIS, PHL-GLA and PHL-SNN.
That means we need to put new aircraft on those PHL-based international flights. As a result, we will be assigning LAA B757s and B767s to PHL-LIS, PHL-GLA and PHL-SNN for summer 2018. These are the aircraft that best match customer demand, stage length and other variables. Until FOI in October 2018, it also means these seasonal routes must be flown by LAA-based flight attendants. In addition, next summer we will be adding two new seasonal international routes from PHL that will also be flown with LAA B767s.
We fully recognize how big of a deal this is. While none of these changes will result in flight attendant displacements or furloughs, we understand the implications this will have on those who like to fly these routes and the overall effect this will have on those who prefer to fly high time each month. From our base visits we also know that many of you are really disappointed about the delay of flight attendant operational integration (FOI). This, combined with the news of the metal swaps on these premium international routes next summer, makes it even harder. You have our commitment that we will come up with options to make this better for you and make sure you are not negatively impacted. We are looking at a lot of things we can do and will share more in the next month or two once the full summer schedule is finalized.
PHL is and will continue to be a key hub in our international network. Though it doesn’t feel this way now, this will be more flying for PHL as a hub, and ultimately for you.
Again, this is not the way we envisioned breaking this news and we sincerely apologize. As soon as we’ve firmed up our plan, we’ll share those details and will be in PHL to answer your questions face-to-face.
In the meantime, we’ve started an online frequently asked questions (FAQs) page that’s posted to Crew Change.
VP, Network Planning
VP, Crew Operations
VP, Flight Service
Ultimately we should see a couple of additional Philadelphia – Europe routes announced and that should please Philadelphia-based flight attendants.