American Airlines Flight Attendant Pens Open Resignation Letter—'Do Better'

A flight attendant whose open resignation letter to her ex-employer went viral this week has told Newsweek she wrote it to support colleagues still struggling in the industry.

Angela Andrechyn's letter has received more than 5,300 responses and thousands of comments and shares on Facebook.

Andrechyn, who was a flight attendant for American Airlines for nine years, told Newsweek: "I wrote the letter because I wanted to stick up for my friends who are staying in the industry. I know pretty much all of them feel exactly the way that I feel, but can't really talk about it—at least not publicly—because they'll get fired."

Newsweek has reached out to American Airlines for comment repeatedly since February 20 but received no response.

Angela Andrechyn
Photos of Angela Andrechyn when she was working as a flight attendant. Her open letter to her ex employer gained viral attention when she left the job after nine years. Angela Andrechyn

In the letter, the ex-flight attendant shared her unfiltered thoughts about her experience in the industry and what needs to change.

"I always thought I would be a flight attendant until I retired from the workforce," Andrechyn wrote. "But here I am writing my letter of resignation 9 years later."

Directly addressing her employer, she added: "I feel that this will fall on deaf ears, but on the small chance that my voice will be heard, I would like to explain how this happened, because things need to change and you need to do better."

Earlier this year, American Airlines came under fire after an investigation by the Department of Labor found that they had punished employees for raising health concerns. The company had also discouraged them from reporting work-related illnesses.

American Airlines said in a statement at the time that "the safety of our team members and customers is always American's top priority" and it was reviewing the findings of the investigation.

In the letter, Andrechyn wrote how she went through unpaid training where she was taught to "be palm trees over and over again, to be flexible and bend with the wind." She explains that what this would come to mean in her later career was simply to "accept unacceptable things and just deal with it."

In her first few paychecks, she was paid only $500, and it took her five years to become financially stable—right when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

"Passengers lost their minds. While we were afraid of losing our jobs, we were being verbally and physically assaulted every day," she wrote in the letter.

I wanted to bring awareness that something needs to change. In my opinion, it's just not OK.

Andrechyn said that life in the job has been "downhill since then," and wrote: "Delays, sit time, irregular operations and time generally spent at work while being unpaid has increased exponentially. I have spent 5 hours—more than once—on a plane not being paid."

The final straw for Andrechyn was when the company she had been employed by for nearly a decade was not able to be flexible when she needed it.

In the letter, she shared: "I found myself needing some time off recently. My 97 year old grandfather moved across the country to spend his last years with my parents. He needs hospice care that the VA [Veterans Affairs] is dragging their feet to provide him. Between working my schedule and trying to have a life, I'm also driving back and forth to Virginia a lot to help."

Under mounting pressure, Andrechyn explained that she asked for help: "I asked for a personal leave of absence (my first one ever) and was promptly denied via email the next day. I didn't get so much as a phone call asking if I was OK."

"I was feeling this way for a while," she told Newsweek. "But when I actually decided to leave, it was because I had so much family stuff going on. When that all happened, I just thought, 'I don't want to work for a company that doesn't care about the human aspect of their employees.'"

When she left, Andrechyn did send the letter to her manager, whom she said she had spoken to since, and he had given her a small update.

"[He said] feathers are definitely ruffled," said Andrechyn, "But he also said that good conversations are being had. I just wanted somebody to listen because it needs to change. Writing the letter wasn't really about me. It was important for people who still work in the industry."

Angela Andrechyn
Photos of Angela in her new full-time job as a dog walker and sitter. This is something that she says makes her very happy. Angela Andrechyn

After leaving her time as a flight attendant behind, Andrechyn is now a full-time dog walker and sitter.

"I'm super happy," she said. "It's awesome being with the dogs all the time, and I love not having to deal with people."

Since sharing her resignation letter online, Andrechyn has received thousands of messages of support from others in the aviation industry.

One commenter on the now-viral Facebook post wrote that the letter was "an eye-opener to the glamorous world of flight attendants."

Other flight attendants commented that they "felt every word," and one wrote, "I felt this with all of my soul. Thank you for this."

"A lot of people told me that they too feel like they have more courage. If they want to leave their job, they can, and they can start looking for other options," said Andrechyn. "I wanted to bring awareness that something needs to change. In my opinion, it's just not OK.

"I would love to see the airline change the way they do things based on my letter, but I know that's not realistic," she added. "Whatever happens from here happens. It's out there. I did what I could, and I don't really have any control over anything beyond."

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