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Early Boarding – Customer Boarding Review

Date: November 2, 2019

JCBA Section 6.R.2   

We continue to receive reports and questions regarding efforts on the part of Customer Service personnel to board flights earlier than the required time to ensure on-time (or early) departures. 

The following is a review of Flight Attendant check-in times, by aircraft type, as provided in Section 6.R.2. of our Contract:

Flight Attendant Boarding:


Narrow Body except

B757-200 & 300

International and Domestic

Wide body including

B757-200 & 300

International and Domestic

Base location

1:00 HR before departure of first leg in base

1:15 minutes before departure

Downline location

:45 minutes before departure

1:00 before departure


The following are the established passenger boarding times, by aircraft type:

Passenger Boarding:

B737-700 & A319/320

International and Domestic

B737 800-900 Max

International and Domestic


Including B757-200-300

:35 Before Departure

:40 Before Departure

:50 Before Departure

Additionally, some Flight Attendants have reported they feel pressured to board the aircraft earlier than the specified boarding times, even at times when FAA minimum is not yet required to be on the aircraft. Remember, our role as Flight Attendants is primarily passenger safety and service. We are obligated to comply with all Federal Air Regulations to ensure the safety of passengers in our care. This includes ensuring that the FAA Minimum Flight Attendant crew complement in on the aircraft for customer boarding. Ours is a commitment to safety – in all things, at all times.

There should be no circumstances where Flight Attendants are ever pressured into boarding a flight early or in the absence of the FAA minimum crew complement.  

While there may be unusual and limited circumstances where additional time may be required for boarding (i.e. large number of customers with disabilities requiring wheelchair assistance, etc.), you are not required to board (nor should you) without the full FAA complement. In an unusual instance where additional time is needed to board in order to accommodate the special needs of customers, you should not be pressured to board nor should we unreasonably withhold our concurrence to do so provided we have met all of our safety responsibilities.

Additionally, if you find yourself in a situation where you are being pressured to board early, consider first trying to resolve the issue with the employee(s) from whom you are feeling the pressure. If you are unable to do so, reach out to Employee Assistance/Professional Standards in order to avoid involving management in the situation. If you find yourself in situations where you are repeatedly asked to board early, we ask that you provide information to your Local Council to ensure AFA is aware and that steps can be taken to address the issue.

Additional information can be found in the following E-lines publicationClick here to file a LEC Worksheet or contact your Local Council for more information. 

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