Southwest Offers Workers Double Pay to Avoid July Travel Snags

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Southwest Airlines Co. is increasing overtime pay, including offering double-time pay for flight attendants, in an effort to head off potential staffing crunches during the Fourth of July travel weekend.

Southwest’s operation has been snarled by technical snafus and a run of bad weather in recent weeks. The airline canceled hundreds of flights over the weekend and Monday as severe thunderstorms hit some of its busiest airports, including Denver, Chicago, St. Louis and parts of Florida.

Airline executives said they hoped the extra pay would encourage employees to pick up shifts or work additional trips in the first week of July. Flight attendants are eligible to earn double-time for picking up open trips during that period, according to a memo Monday from Sonya Lacore, vice president of inflight operations. The memo was previously reported by CNBC.

Southwest will also offer double-time pay to ground-operations agents and cargo agents who pick up extra shifts during the same period, a spokesman said.

The move is the latest sign of the challenges airlines are facing in keeping up with the rapid rise in travel demand this summer, which has made more typical disruptions such as weather harder to manage. American Airlines Group Inc., which has faced similar issues, said earlier this month that it would pare back its July flying in an effort to alleviate potential strains on its operations.

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