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Irregularities During this Extraordinary Weather Event

Date: August 29, 2017

The severe weather conditions in Texas over the past few days are unlike anything we have ever seen before this historic event.  For a disaster of this magnitude to impact a hub the size of Houston is nothing less than an incomprehensible event that simply cannot be “planned for” and to which we must all react.   For those of us outside the affected area, we can’t even begin to imagine what it must be like to deal with what seems like a never ending nightmare.  

For those of us who are living through the impact of the endless list of flight cancellations and re-routes, we’re equally frustrated by a different set of unknowns.  All must be put in proper perspective.  Cancelations, ID/pairing modifications and reassignments are affecting not only those of us based in IAH but those who were scheduled to operate flights into and out of IAH. While we understand that irregularities are inherent in our line of work, none of us ever could have imagined this list of endless challenges.  In the same way, management is struggling to address the myriad cancellations, rebuild flying sequences to cover the operation and secure overnight accommodations, resources have been stretched to the breaking point.  

As we wait to be reassigned or rerouted, we have also heard from many of you asking the question, “How long do I have to wait “on hold” to reach Crew Accommodations before I can secure a room on my own?” 

1.     Flight Attendants must first make an effort to contact Crew Accommodations to seek assistance in securing a hotel room for their assigned layover.  Flight Attendants should document with whom they have spoken, as well as the time the call began and ended.

2.     In those instances where there is no answer, or there are extend call wait times, the following guidelines should be used:

a.     For field (short) layovers, Flight Attendants able to secure their own rooms should proceed to the hotel after no more than thirty (30) minutes and

b.     For downtown (long) layovers, Flight Attendants able to secure their own rooms should proceed to the hotel after no more than forty-five (45) minutes.

Don’t be afraid to act in your best interests.  While United is responsible for our safety on layovers, extraordinary circumstances require and extraordinary response. We must be prepared to act in our own best interest and, if necessary, to take care of ourselves.  If one of your flying partners is in trouble and doesn’t have the expendable cash or a credit card to take care of it, help them out if you can. 

Once at the hotel, you should notify the Crew Desk of your layover contact information.  Keep in mind; Crew Accommodations is not the Crew Desk.  In some instances, Crew Accommodations can arrange to cover the cost of the hotel rooms by sending a voucher directly to the hotel.  Don’t hesitate to ask for this assistance.  In the alternative, employ self-help to ensure your proper rest.

When you return to your domicile, submit a claim for reimbursement using an Employee Expense Report form.  In addition to filling out an expense report with receipts attached, you are strongly encouraged to document your experience by writing a TVLLOG.  Always include the names of the persons with whom you’ve spoken at both the hotel and Crew Accommodations.  Make copies for yourself of the TVLLOG, expense report and receipts. If you are not reimbursed promptly, file a Local Council Worksheet and call your Local Council Office for assistance.

Self-help is not only allowable per our Collective Bargaining Agreement, and it is strongly recommended you seek self-help to ensure adequate rest and, most importantly, to protect your safety and ensure your personal well-being. The AFA MEC Hotel and Transportation Committee meets with United Crew Accommodations monthly to address problems and seek positive resolution.  Our advocacy is strengthened when problems are documented and trended through your TVLLOG and Hotel/Transportation reports

For more information about when you should be using Self-Help for Hotel and Transportation, please visit our website.  If you have any questions, please contact your Local Council Office.

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