United Airlines is offering its flight attendants buyouts of as much as $100,000 as it seeks to rein in costs.

United Continental Holdings Inc., parent company of the world’s second-biggest airline, said it will offer lump-sum severance payments to attendants who accept its Enhanced Early Out Program. The Chicago-based company is also recalling 1,450 furloughed attendants, most of whom took voluntary leave one or two years ago, spokeswoman Megan McCarthy said.

The carrier hopes at least 2,100 of its more than 23,000 flight attendants accept the buyout, McCarthy said. The offer was requested by some senior flight attendants, and it will also help in aligning staffing, she said. Some airports were thin on personnel and the recalled attendants will be placed appropriately by United, without moving people around, she said.

“The cost is less to have a flight attendant with less experience versus one that has more,” McCarthy said.

The Association of Flight Attendants was involved in the buyout discussions and jointly issued news of it today. United still has separate collective bargaining units for its two camps of flight attendants, those who originally worked for United and those who worked for Continental Airlines before the merger. The buyout was offered to members of both groups, in seniority order. The two parties are in negotiations for a joint contract.

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael Sasso in Atlanta at msasso9@bloomberg.net. To contact the editors responsible for this story: Ed Dufner at edufner@bloomberg.net. 

Photo Credit: United Airlines flight attendants and crew members at Chicago O'Hare. United