Wrong. Even with per diem and incentive pay, top of the pay scale flight attendants averaging 90 hours a month do not even come close to earning $64,000 per annum.
No, it's correct. $64,000/year equals $5,333.33/mo. Topped out int'l FAs get $49.14/hr, and more than 80% of AA's FAs are top of scale. Domestic top out at $46.00/hr. For an international FA, a monthly average of $5,333.33 requires 103.5 paid hours each month. Of course, that doesn't mean the FA had 103.5 block hours each month - as vacation, sick pay, deadheading (at 50%) and other non-block hour pay adds up. And those figures don't include per diem pay.
I am sure that there are some who fly internationally who earn this kind of money and more, but they do not number anywhere near 20% of the flight attendants and are not representative of more than 90% of the work force.
I'm curious how you know the total annual pay of the top 3,000 AA FAs? Neither of us has seen all 15,500 active FAs' W-2s, but AA certainly has seen them. Of the top earning 3,000 AA FAs, every one of them is paid for at least 95 hours per month (if they're just paid for 95 hours/mo, they would be the ones below the $64k average) and just under 1,300 AA FAs average between 110 and 120 paid hours each month; that's between 1,320 hours per year and 1,440 hours per year. Each of those 1,300 earn more than $64k - substantially more, in fact.
Overall, just about 3,000 AA FAs actually fly more than 70 block hours each of the 12 months in the year, and in so doing, their average pay is $64,000 per year. According to AA, some of them make more than $100k (the very high-time flyers, who average more than 140 paid hours each month or 1,680 paid hours each year).
This is not just a misrepresentation of the facts, this is an outright lie if that is what he said. How could only 3000 f/a fly at least 70 hours a month when a minimum line of flying is 70 hours/month. The "lines" are created by the company. If the total flying is less than 70 hours when the line is created, the company has to provide "pay & credit" for the difference between the total flying and 70 hours of flight pay minimum. That is contractual. Needless to say, even in the good times the company does not like to have to pay for flying not flown; so, the great majority of domestic lines are built with 72-78 hours of flying. IIRC the maximum for a regular domestic line is 80 hours. A flight attendant can then choose to pick up additional flying over and above their line or drop trips if they don't want to fly a full schedule, but they cannot create an illegality, and there are a number of restrictions on trip trades and trip drops.
It's not a misrepresentation and it's not a lie. Two-thirds of AA's FAs fly fewer than 840 hours per year or 70 hours per month on average. 80% of them don't fly a minimum of 70 hours each month (as in all 12 months). How could only 3,000 fly a minimum of 70 hours each month? You've posted about the non-flying FAs and those who sell or trade or drop most of their trips - well, that's how you end up with so few FAs who hit 70+ hours for all 12 months. Recall that vacation/sick/etc is paid time but not block hours.
I almost wonder if the $64K is a fully loaded number.
From my reading, it's the average W-2 pay of the top earning 3,000 FAs out of the 15,500 active FAs, including base pay, incentive pay, per diem, vacation and sick pay, Optional Exchange pickup, the additional 50% deadheading (D-Time) pay and International P-time, vacation and credit duty rigs. Does not include benefits like medical, dental, pension, etc.
I don't have a clue whether it's true or not, but keep some things in mind:
1 - he said "fly" over 70 hours - that probably means block hours, not pay time could would be higher.
Exactly. The average active FA flies about 59 hours per month, but is paid for about 75. The top-paid 3,000 would average something over 100 paid hours each month, but that doesn't require 100 block hours, of course.
2 - he said "fly" that much every month for a year - that means it doesn't include vacation, which would be paid in addition to the pay time for 70 or more hours flight time.
Yep. The 3,000 top flying FAs actually fly at least 70 hours every month - all 12 months - and, of course, are paid for much more, like their vacation, sick, etc. Nevertheless, those 3,000 FAs manage to squeeze in 70 block hours each month on top of all their paid time that doesn't require flying. No doubt they have very full schedules and may not have quite as much free time as the average AA FA.
3 - he's undoubtedly talking about gross pay - no allowance for taxes, union dues, or anything else deducted to get to "take home" pay.
Most certainly. The $64k would be W-2 gross pay.
4 - he's undoubtedly including any premium pay or override.
Yes, FAs get a 15% premium for hours in excess of 70 in any month. Plus per diem and galley pay, purser pay, etc. AA domestic FAs still get domestic galley pay in economy even though, as AA points out, they don't perform any galley work, as no domestic flights feature meals in economy.
5 - "make" an average of... may include any medical, dental, retirement over what the FA pays - making $100 can be different than being paid $100, i.e. the difference between pay and compensation.
No, it doesn't include benefits - just gross wages.