JetBlue is reportedly asking flight attendants on leave to return to work as it prepares for a 'busy summer'
  • JetBlue has asked flight attendants – who were on leave for April and May – to return on April 22, CNBC reported.
  • It said it expected a “busy” summer as COVID-19 cases fall and vaccinations continue.
  • More than 1.35 million airplane passengers flew in the US on Friday – the highest number in nearly a year.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

US airline JetBlue Airways has asked flight attendants who took a leave of absence to come back early as it prepares for the travel industry to bounce back as global COVID restrictions ease, CNBC reported.


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The airline told attendants Tuesday it was expecting a “busy summer season”, in a memo seen by CNBC.

Airfares are hitting record lows as airlines try to lure flyers back.

The US Transportation Security Administration said it screened more than 1.35 million airplane passengers at check-in gates on Friday – the highest number in nearly a year, when air travel plummeted amid lockdowns.

“As we enter a new phase of the pandemic with case counts going down and vaccination rates going up, our focus is now getting ready to safely ramp up our operations for a busy summer season and our Inflight Crewmembers are critical to our recovery opportunity,” JetBlue’s memo said, per CNBC.

The company told flight attendants who had taken a two-month leave of absence for April and May to return to work a month early and attend federally-mandated training by April 22, CNBC reported.

The memo didn’t say how many staff were affected. JetBlue has more than 20,000 crewmembers in total.

The airline didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

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As JetBlue prepares for travel to rebound, it has previously announced sweeping changes to its routes and fee structures.

The airline is scrapping its carry-on bag allowance for travellers flying basic economy from July 20, meaning passengers on the most restrictive tickets will have to pay extra to check any carry-on bags.

It’s also nearing the launch of its first transatlantic flights with direct flights to London from the East Coast. The debut was delayed by the pandemic, but the airline expects the route to start in the third quarter of 2021.

It’s also creating new routes through its alliance with American Airlines. Customers can book certain flights on either airline or website, Insider’s Thomas Pallini reported.

Last week, JetBlue announced it was ending the back-to-front boarding policy it implemented it at the onset of the pandemic. The airline told Insider that it would continue to mandate face masks, which is now a legal requirement on all flights following an executive order from President Joe Biden, with few exemptions.

Passengers who don’t follow the rule could be fined. On Friday, the Federal Aviation Administration proposed levying a $14,500 civil penalty against a JetBlue passenger who flew from New York to the Dominican Republic in December for crowding the traveler sitting next to him, drinking alcohol on board, and refusing to wear a face mask.

Though travel is allowed, current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance says people should “delay travel and stay home to protect yourself and others from COVID-19, even if you are vaccinated.”

If people do have to travel, the CDC urges them to get tested before flying and even get a COVID-19 vaccine, if possible.

In an opinion piece, Insider reporters Andrea Michelson and Hilary Brueck said authorities should stop telling people not to travel and instead teach them how to do it safely.

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