By the end of April, rumors of an imminent takeover swirled around TransAir. According to stories traded in the crew lounge, there were two airlines vying for ownership of TransAir, while the CEO was trying desperately to persuade the stockholders to hold out for another year. Every day it was a different variation of two stories. The deal was already done, according to some. Details were being worked out before making it public. Others were sure the CEO was preparing the restructure plan so it could be announced in time for the stockholders’ annual meeting next month. One fact was undeniable: The airline was in trouble and something was about to happen.
Annie’s heels clicked against the tile floor, passing the pilots’ area and into the crew lounge, where their sound became muffled when she hit carpet. Comfortable chairs were placed in conversational arrangements in one area of the lounge. On a television in a corner, CNN was presenting breaking news from Turkey, where an apartment fire killed more than one hundred people. Behind the chairs, vending machines offered snacks and sodas. A long counter displayed coffee, tea and popcorn. Employment and work related notices hung on the wall alongside FAA regulation changes.
Filling a Styrofoam cup with coffee, Annie headed to the bank of computers against the opposite wall, greeting other flight attendants as she went.
“Hey, Annie,” one of the pilots called as he stuck his head in the door of the lounge, “you still owe me a dinner!” He pointed his finger at her and raised his eyebrows, affecting an exaggerated frown.
“I know. We haven’t flown together since the Final Four!”
Phillip Miller was from Connecticut and shared a common passion with Annie: basketball. Unfortunately, they were usually at odds since he rooted for UConn and Annie was a Kentucky fan. The regular teasing had gone to a new level a couple of weeks before when UConn played Kentucky in the Final Four. Kentucky lost in overtime, a particularly painful defeat.
Annie picked up her FAA updates out of her mail slot and filed them in her board manual. She checked the schedule and found no changes. She was on for the Sunday-Tuesday Rome flight next week, a break from her usual weekend flights. There was a memo on new price changes for alcoholic beverages and another letter from the CEO saying the airline was working on several options to avoid takeover.
Janice was already in the small briefing room when Annie arrived. She pulled a seat out for Annie.
“What’s happening? It’s too quiet in here,” Annie whispered.
“The union met last night. If TransAir is bought by an airline that doesn’t have a union, there is nothing they can do for us. The new airline can take away our seniority and treat us like new employees unless we are protected in the merger agreement. Or worse, we could lose our jobs.”
“But isn’t it possible they may restructure the company?”
“Not likely now. Everybody is saying Patriot made the deal. The lawyers are drawing up papers.”
“Okay, ladies and gentlemen, listen up!”
The two chief flight attendants began the briefing, covering everything from passenger loads to special customer needs and work assignments. Annie was assigned coach on the way over, which meant she would most likely have business class on Tuesday afternoon’s return trip.
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