United Airlines To Pay $100,000 To Flight Attendants to Retire

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According to a press release yesterday from United Airlines and the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA), United is offering an “Enhanced Early Out Program” where “United will offer lump sum payouts of up to $100,000 for Flight Attendants who apply for the early out and meet certain service and eligibility qualifications, and the company will award early outs in seniority order.

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In addition to offering the buy-out, United said it would recall all 1,450 attendants who are currently on voluntary and involuntary furlough.

United has over 23,000 Flight Attendants and is hoping that 2,100 decide to take the voluntary buy-out.  While the specifics of the buy-out weren’t officially released to the public, in order for Flight Attendants to qualify they would have to have 15 years of seniority and United would pay them $4,000 per year of service – a minimum of $60,000 with a maximum lump-sum payout of $100,000, and retire with full Retiree Pass Travel Privileges.

Flight Attendants who take the voluntary buy-out would leave United sometime between November 15, 2014 and November 15, 2016 based on United’s operational and staffing needs.

Bottom Line:

The United “Enhanced Early Out Program” seems like a great deal for Flight Attendants who were considering retirement in the next couple of years, even tho the $100,000 is subject to taxes and other withholdings.  The deadline for Flight Attendants to apply for the voluntary buy out it October 30th, 2014.  It will be interesting to see if United will be tricked by the numbers of Flight Attendants who say they are going to retire, or treated by getting the 2,100 senior Flight Attendants off the payroll.

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