United Airlines hiring hundreds of new employees as airlines struggle with delays, cancelations

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Wednesday, August 17, 2022
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Chicago-based United Airlines is looking to hire hundreds of new employees as part of a plan to decrease delays and cancellations.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago-based United Airlines is looking to hire hundreds of new employees as part of a plan to decrease delays and cancellations.

The hiring blitz comes days after American Airlines announced it was cutting more than 30,000 flights from its November schedule.

With travel returning to pre-pandemic levels, the delays and cancellations are a growing problem in the airline industry.

Robin Ross-Aikens was offered a job on the spot Tuesday as a part time United Airlines ramp agent.

"I can't believe they're hiring people on the spot," she said. It's just such an amazing feeling.'

The small business owner and mother of two was one of hundreds who attended at job fair at the United Center sponsored by one of the country's largest air carriers.

The flight cancelations and delays are linked in part to staffing shortages; weather and FAA shortages could also be a factor.

United hosted a similar effort earlier in August where they hired around 1,000 people.

"We have 500 new airplanes coming to United Airlines over the next few years. That's an airplane every three or four days for us, so we need folks to help work those aircraft," said Omar Iris, United Airlines vice president of O'Hare Airport hub.

Available positions include ramp agent, flight attendant, aircraft tech, and customer service agent, among others.

Industry experts say many airlines are constricting service to increase reliability, but with a strong fall travel season ahead, fuel prices dropping and the economy holding up, experts also say air carriers have no choice but to try to keep up.

"Air travel has become unpredictable and airlines know that it's slowing down the recovery, and that's why getting more staff, these big hiring fairs, are a big thing right now," said Prof. Joe Schwieterman, DePaul University transportation expert.

Ross-Aikens will not only work out of O'Hare making $18 an hour to start and getting flight benefits on day one, she'll also earn a $10,000 signing bonus after one year of employment.