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Clarifying White Flag Pay

Date: December 28, 2018


Under the terms of our JCBA, in times when coverage is tight, the company may designate specific days as “White Flag” to improve Flight Attendant staffing. Management is not obligated to declare White Flag but may do so at their discretion determining the base(s) and specific date(s) offered. 

Once declared, Flight Attendants “straight picking up” pairings from open time on the date(s) included in the declaration, shall be paid 150% of their applicable pay rate as outlined in Section 4.A. of our JCBA for all credited flight time, including holding.

Flight Attendants should always read the declaration of White Flag to determine the timing of when trips may be picked up as well as the period of time during which White Flag will be offered to ensure they are eligible to receive the additional compensation outlined in Section 4.B.2. of our JCBA.

Flight Attendants picking up a White Flag pairing must be in position to work the pairing. Consequently, if the white flag pairing is cancelled and the Flight Attendant is reassigned to another pairing, White Flag pay would apply for the pairing flown. For example, if you were to pick up from open time a two day pairing with a value of ten (10) hours and you are subsequently reassigned to a pairing with a value of twelve (12) hours, White Flag pay would be paid based on the twelve hour pairing flown. If, however, the ten (10) hour pairing were to cancel with no reassignment, you would be pay protected (guaranteed) for the ten (10) hour pairing but would not receive White Flag pay.  As another example, if you were to pick up a White Flag pairing and subsequently become ill, calling in on sick leave for the pairing, you would be paid for the pairing to the extent you have sick leave available. However, White Flag pay would not apply. Said another way, to qualify for “White Flag Pay”, the pairing must actually be flown and White Flag is paid for all credited time associated with the pairing. All out of base pick up rules apply. 

Purple flag works the same way as White Flag. However, is applies to specific pairings for which Flight Attendant staffing is required. International Purser or language qualified pairings are examples where purple flag may be declared at management discretion.

Additional information on the parameters of White and Purple flag days are available on unitedfa.org, E-lines publication, October 3, 2018.

Flight Attendants seeking additional information are encouraged to contact their Local Council Office. 

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