At United Airlines, 2,500 flight attendants accept early-out severance offer

IndustriesAssociated Press

United Airlines says 2,500 flight attendants have accepted payments of up to $100,000 to leave, about 400 more than expected.

United Continental Holdings Inc. said Friday in a memo to employees that the departures will start Nov. 30, but the company was still reviewing its staffing needs through 2016.

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Most of those who will leave worked at United before the 2010 merger with Continental. The severance offers were negotiated with the flight attendants' union.

Airlines use so-called early-out offers to avoid layoffs yet reduce workers, particularly more experienced ones that may cost more in pay and benefits. Also, United reduced its flying from 2011 through 2013 and kept flying flat in 2014.

Chicago-based United has about 85,000 employees.

Shares of United Continental fell 66 cents to close at $56.10. They have gained 48 percent this year.