Delta Air Lines, which has narrowly fought off several attempts to unionize its flights attendants, will begin paying cabin crews during boarding, a change that is expected to increase their wages by several thousand dollars a year.
It is a notable change for U.S. airlines, where pay for flight attendants starts when all the passengers are seated and the plane’s doors close.
Delta said the change will start June 2 on all flights. In a memo to flight attendants, the airline said the new pay “further recognizes how important your role is on board to ensuring a welcoming, safe and on-time start to each flight.”
The change comes as Delta plans to increase the boarding time for single-aisle or “narrowbody” planes from 35 minutes to 40 minutes, which the airline expects will increase the percentage of flights that depart on time.