Alaska Airlines May Close Crew Bases in California After Flight Attendants Get Extra Break Time

July 11, 2022

San Diego Airport

In what could be taken as 'sour grapes' by some, a report suggests Alaska Airlines is considering closing crew bases in California after they lost a lawsuit which will now force the carrier to give flight attendants flying in an out of the state longer breaks than mandated by federal regulations.

This all started when Virgin America was in operation and flight attendants then filed a lawsuit accusing Virgin America of breaking California's rules for giving workers adequate break time. 

The case continued after Alaska acquired Virgin and Alaska became the co-defendant.

California's Break Rules Are More Generous Than What Federal Regulations Mandate - Alaska Says The Ruling Will Force Them to Raise Fares

California's labor code requires employees receive a 30-minute meal break if they work more than 5 hours. They then get a second 30-minute break if working more than 10 hours.

2 of Alaska's crew bases are in Los Angeles and San Diego and the carrier said closing them 'is an option' if they can't find a way to comply with the law that would make sense financially. They also said fare increases could happen.

In a statement the Association of Flight Attendants Union were critical of the airline's threats and said such posturing is not constructive:

“In our opinion, it is extremely premature and unnecessarily anxiety-provoking of management to suggest that downsizing or closing California domiciles is anything but a worst-case scenario."

Lawyers for Alaska appealed the ruling in a San Francisco but to avail...the court ordered the airline to comply with the state law.

Alaska then issued an appeal to the Supreme Court last month but it was rejected.

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