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Delta Air Lines doubles flight attendant hiring target to 3,000

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A flight attendant exits a Delta Airlines flight at the Ronald Reagan National Airport on July 22, 2020 in Arlington, Virginia.

Michael A. McCoy | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Delta Air Lines on Tuesday said it plans to hire another 1,500 flight attendants ahead of summer 2022, the latest carrier to add jobs after travel demand rebounded from pandemic lows.

The Atlanta-based airline has already been in the process of filling 1,500 flight attendant jobs with candidates whose hiring was paused at the start of the pandemic in 2020.

Delta and other airlines have been racing to fill positions from ramp workers to flight attendants to customer service agents this summer during a surge in travel, as well as training pilots. The recovery in demand came faster than airline executives said they expected. Airline CEOs urged thousands of employees to take unpaid or partially paid leaves of absence or early retirement packages to cut labor costs in the depths of the pandemic.

Airlines, like other U.S. businesses are facing staffing crunches, leading to long hold times for customer service and in some exacerbating flight delays or cancellations.

Southwest Airlines last week said it is trimming its schedule through the end of the year to ease operational problems that led to hundreds of cancellations and delays this summer. The Dallas-based airline is offering its staff referral incentives worth $300 as it struggles to fill open jobs.

CEO Gary Kelly told staff on Monday that the airline has hired 1,500 people and has a goal of adding 5,200 employees by the end of November.

Delta in May said all new employees must be vaccinated against Covid and said Tuesday that any current Delta employee who is accepted to the flight attendant training program must also be inoculated.

Last week, Delta said unvaccinated employees will be charged $200 more a month for health insurance starting in November.

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