Delta Air Lines is about to reach a milestone for all major US airlines: it will start to pay flight attendants during boarding on all flights from June 2, 2022.

This is the first for any major US airline as, currently, airlines across the country only start flight attendant pay after the aircraft doors close. 

Delta flight attendants will receive 50% of their standard hourly pay for a scheduled boarding period of 40-50 minutes.

In a memo to flight attendants seen by Associated Press, Delta’s senior vice president of in-flight service, Kristen Manion Taylor 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”.

Delta said the new boarding pay would be on top of a 4% raise granted to flight attendants last month.

Delta’s decision to pay its flight attendants during boarding came just a few months after a change.org petition was sent to the International President Association of Flight Attendants, calling for flight attendants to be paid while boarding. 

“We only get clocked for our flight times. When the pilots pull the breaks. Not when we have customers on board or delays or mechanicals. Even though we are required by the FAA to complete specific job related safety procedures and interact with customers,” the petition said. 

The petition collected more than 160,000 signatures.

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Delta Air Lines reported a pre-tax loss of $1.2 billion in the first quarter of 2022 but expects a return to profit in Q2 as travel demand soars.