Former Air Canada Attendant Says She Was Forced to Do a Bunch of Unpaid Work
A former Air Canada flight attendant slammed the company's payment structure in a viral TikTok clip
If you know anyone who works as a flight attendant, then you'll probably know that the HBO show of the same name is a bunch of malarkey.
There's no way that Kaley Cuoco's character in that show is able to afford to go out drinking that much and live where she does in NYC with the amount of money she makes traipsing all over the world as a professional airline stewardess.
According to Glassdoor, flight attendants make anywhere from $27,000 to $61,000 per year, which isn't the kind of money that's going to afford you a glamorous lifestyle, especially since the US has hit its highest levels of inflation in the past 40 years in the summer of 2022.
And a recent TikTok posted by Janelle Dufault (@janelledufault) gives a bit more insight into the pay structure that Air Canada attendants have to deal with at their job.
Her video not only garnered attention on TikTok but on Reddit's r/antiwork sub, where people questioned how the company's pay structure is "even legal."
In her clip, Janelle delineates that attendants are expected to perform a bunch of unpaid work as they only receive compensation for the amount of time that they're on the plane and the doors are closed.
This means that arriving at the airport, signing in for work at the gate, attending to customers' needs and questions, getting them beverages during delays, getting stuck in the airport due to layovers — all of that, they're not getting paid.
Janelle uses a re-enactment skit between a new hire for Air Canada and a representative of the company to encapsulate the experience of working for the airline.
AC Rep: Hi, welcome to Air Canada as a new flight attendant.
Attendant: Amazing! I'm so excited. So, how does the pay work?
AC Rep: You get $21 an hour.
Attendant: OK, so, does that start when I get to the airport?
AC Rep: No.
Attendant: When I get to customs?
AC Rep: No.
Attendant: When I get to the gate?
AC Rep: Yes...well no. That's when you sign in, one hour before departure.
Attendant: So I sign in, but I don't get paid?
AC Rep: Correct.
Attendant: So when do I get paid?
AC Rep: When everyone's on board and the doors are closed.
Attendant: Oh so if I don't get paid, who does the work during boarding?
AC Rep: You.
Attendant: What about all the safety checks?
AC Rep: You. You do all the work before boarding and during boarding.
Attendant: Well what if there's let's say a three-hour delay on board and I have to hang out pretzels and water and get yelled at basically the whole time?
AC Rep: Unpaid.
Attendant: Deplaning after the flight?
AC Rep: Unpaid.
Attendant: What if there's an emergency during deplaning and I have to tend to some passengers?
AC Rep: Still unpaid.
Attendant: Do we at least get statutory holiday pay?
AC Rep: No, but we give you free socks if you worked Christmas Day and by the way, you'll probably have to work for the next 5 Christmases.
Janelle expanded on her experience working as an Air Canada flight attendant further in a caption for the video: "Did you know most flight attendants don't get paid for boarding, in between flights or deplaning? We only get paid for fight time. We don't get paid when there are delays even if passengers are on the plane. Some days I was only paid for HALF of the actual hours on the clock. Needless to say, this was one of the many reasons why I couldn't stand it anymore."