American recalling flight attendants to handle travel crowds

American Airlines is telling some flight attendants to cut short their leaves of absence and come back to work

FORT WORTH, Texas — American Airlines is canceling extended leaves for about 3,300 flight attendants and telling them to come back to work in time for the holiday season.

And American plans to hire 800 new flight attendants by next March, according to an airline executive.

“Increasing customer demand and new routes starting later this year mean we need more flight attendants to operate the airline,” Brady Byrnes, the airline’s vice president of flight service, told flight attendants in a memo Thursday.

Byrnes said cabin crews who are coming back from leave will return to flights in November or December.

Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian said this week that his airline expects to hire between 4,000 and 5,000 workers this year. Delta plans to add 1,300 reservations agents by this fall to reduce long waits on hold for customers who call the airline. It’s also adding customer service, cargo and airport workers and plans to hire more than 1,000 pilots before next summer.

When the pandemic hit, the number of people flying in the U.S. plunged below 100,000 on some days, a level not seen in decades. This year, it has climbed from less than 700,000 a day in early February to 2 million a day in July.