After a long 88-week training program, the flight attendant trainees have finally received their wings. As Delta Air Lines, an Atlanta-based airline ramps up its recruitment to meet increased passenger demand, the newly graduated flight attendants will soon be flying for Delta Air Lines.
Twenty-four Deltas flight attendant trainees had just completed week five of a six-week course. The pandemic that was sweeping the country brought an end to the training course. However, the trainees didn't know how long they would have until being invited back.
Group G before and after the pandemic.
With only five days to go until they receive their wings, the flight attendants had reached day 35 of their course. Although graduation day was within reach, the Deltas team had to inform the trainees that the course would be canceled.
Jennifer Anderson, Deltas manager of initial flight attendant training, stated that she was devastated by the decision. We understood the sacrifices made for training and knew that the news would be hard on everyone.
Anderson and trainees believed that the course would resume in a few weeks. It became clear that Group G would not be graduating for a while as the days passed quickly.
However, Group G was promised a promise. They would be the first to return once training had resumed safely.
It was anybody's guess when it would happen. The pandemic was not the only reason people were asked to remain at home. Senior leaders of Delta and other airlines believed that it would take many years to repair their businesses after the worst crisis since 9/11.
Delta encouraged its employees to take unpaid long-term leave and early outs. What chance would the airline have for its trainee flight attendants in years to come?
The recovery process began. It happened much faster than anyone could have expected. This caught many airlines off guard, and Delta, along with its competitors, is currently on a huge hiring spree in order to keep up the demand.
We retained the training knowledge, but we were also learning new things during the pandemic. We learned patience.
We had a baby, parents died, and someone discovered they had cancer. All of us made it through the incredible support we received from each other.
Delta wasn't ready to resume flight attendant training until August 23, however. True to its promises, Group G was the first to return, although they were renamed to Group A to indicate that training was starting again.
All 24 of their classmates returned to the school and had to go through much of the training again. All of the training had to be repeated, including emergency drills, fighting fires and handling medical emergencies.
Delta celebrated its first flight attendant graduating since the outbreak of the pandemic on October 1. The airline has been training more flight attendants, with 99 of them receiving their wings.
Around 1,500 applicants were invited to Delta, and they were still waiting for a training program just before the pandemic. They have been invited back to Delta and are beginning their journey to becoming flight attendants.
Delta is still looking for 1,500 more flight attendant candidates to join them through 2022. The competition is fierce and only 1% of applicants will make it through the entire process.