MIAMI – Due to US airlines’ staffing struggle, Southwest Airlines (WN) will pay flight attendants double overtime on the 4th of July holiday weekend. The move was made because the airline is predicting a huge bump in travel during that time.

In addition to FAs, ground-operations agents, and cargo agents will make twice the money for picking up extra shifts in an effort to reduce disruptions to the maximum on Independence Day.

Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 Max 7 N7204U. Photo: Michael Rodeback/Airways

Southwest Affected by Weather, Technical Issues

Travel demand in the US has been picking up, as a result of the economy reopening. However, airlines have been struggling to keep up with the increase, as they let many pilots and flight attendants go during the peak of the pandemic.

Besides the shortages, WN’s flight operations have also been severely affected by technical issues and bad weather. The technical issues occurred days before the carrier’s 50th anniversary.

In mid-June, a computer glitch forced the airline to delay over 4,000 flights and to cancel hundreds in the course of three days, as well as it also canceled hundreds of flights in the weekend of June 26, due to severer thunderstorms over several airports in the network.

In a memo staff quoted on Insider, WN’s executive vice president of daily operations Alan Kasher recognized the situation and announced the overtime.

“We have heard from many of you who are frustrated with our network reliability and irregular operations created by summer storms across many parts of the country. To address the situation for the short term, we will be incentivizing our Ops Employees during this busy holiday travel week by increasing overtime pay from July 1 through July 7,” Kasher said.

WN’s Flight Attendants will also get double pay, as vice president of inflight operations, Sonya Lacore confirmed. Despite raising its minimum wage to $15 per hour and boosting earnings for about 7,000 employees, the airline is still struggling to find staff.

Some of the furloughed pilots still have to be retrained before returning into regular service.

Featured image: A favorite Southwest Airlines special schemes among AV enthusiasts. Photo: Luke Ayers/Airways