Flight attendants are handing out refreshments on a jam-packed Delta Airlines flight departing Friday, April 21.

Kent Nishimura | Los Angeles Times | Getty Images

Delta Air Lines announced Tuesday that it would hire an additional 1,500 flight attendants before the summer of 2022 to become the newest airline to create jobs after travel demand bounced back from the pandemic lows.

The Atlanta-based airline was already in the process of filling 1,500 flight attendant positions with candidates whose recruitment was paused at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020.

Delta and other airlines fought for positions from apron workers to flight attendants to customer service representatives and pilot training during a surge in travel this summer. The recovery in demand came faster than the airlines expected.

Airline CEOs urged thousands of employees to take unpaid or partially paid leave or early retirement packages to help cut labor costs in the depths of the pandemic. Approximately 4,000 Delta flight attendants accepted voluntary separation packages.

Airlines, like other US companies, face staff shortages that result in long waits for customer service and, in some cases, exacerbate flight delays or cancellations.

Southwest Airlines announced last week that it would cut its flight schedule by the end of the year to alleviate operational issues that resulted in hundreds of cancellations and delays this summer. The Dallas-based airline is offering $ 300 worth of referral incentives to its employees as it struggles to fill vacancies.

CEO Gary Kelly told employees on Monday that the airline has hired 1,500 people and plans to hire 5,200 people by the end of November.

Delta said in May that all new employees must be vaccinated against Covid and said Tuesday that any current Delta employee admitted to the flight attendant training program must also be vaccinated.

Last week, Delta said unvaccinated employees will be billed $ 200 more per month for health insurance starting November.