Late in the day on Friday, gunman opened fire in a busy shopping mall in Munich killing eight people and sending other shoppers running to protect themselves. Munich, the third largest city in Germany, went on lockdown and authorities advised the public to get off the streets while sealing off highways and shutting down transportation. As a result of these events, we offer the following safety reminders.
While on layover and during events of this nature, United management is responsible to ensure the safety and well-being of their employees. Immediate efforts will begin, according to a prescribed procedure, to locate crew members on layover. This contact is essential especially if management makes a determination that crew member relocation is necessary. If you are away from the layover location and become aware of the events, you are encouraged to contact OPBSK – Crew Scheduling, immediately, to advise of your whereabouts and to let management know you are safe or if you require assistance.
While we understand your friends and family are also concerned about your safety, we recommend against (as in never) using the “checking in” function on social media as a way to let people know you are safe. Unknowingly, in a situation where violence is ongoing, you could inadvertently provide a tip on your location that could put you in danger.
For those of us outside the situation who are concerned for those who may be in the conflict, we understand the need to obtain information on the status of friends and flying partners. However, every effort should be made to keep telephone lines open so that management can reach those on layover to determine what, if any, immediate assistance is required. Under no circumstances should we communicate the location of any crew member using social media for reasons similar to those stated in the previous paragraph.
Finally, when leaving the hotel for food, exercise, shopping or entertainment, it is always safest to travel in numbers. Ask the hotel concierge or front desk staff for safe areas and establishments to visit and ones to avoid. Always remain aware of your surroundings. It is important to remember some activities practiced at home might be crimes in other countries. Do not dress or wear expensive jewelry to draw attention to yourself. If you do go out by yourself, tell someone where you are going and what time you plan to return or leave a note of your intended plans in your room by the phone. You should also carry a personal ID in your pocket or purse. If you have a cell phone, take it with you. Other than obviously being able to call for help, some cell phones are equipped with Global Positioning Systems (GPS). Your FAOM provides telephone numbers for all UA stations, and OPB.