As Flying Changes, Uncertainty Increases
March 15, 2020
As we move closer to the start of the April schedule month and in the absence of a defined schedule on which we can all bid, we understand that the uncertainty is troubling. Not knowing what we are flying makes it difficult to plan our lives for the coming month or to schedule day care for our children or others for whom we are primary care givers or to make any appointments that are a necessary part of our monthly routine. In addition, the not knowing what our schedule will look like creates questions about our monthly income. How we react to this uncertainty is as important, perhaps more so, that understanding it exists. First and foremost, we must take action to care for ourselves. If we don’t take care of ourselves, we will not be in a position to care for those who most depend on us and that includes ourselves.
Follow Doctor Instructions
We know the actions to take to help protect ourselves from the spread of a respiratory infection. Continue to practice regular hand washing and/or use of hand-sanitizer; don’t touch your face; use personal protective equipment; and follow health official guidelines accessible on our resource page at afacwa.org/coronavirus.
If you learn that you have come in contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus, contact your physician and follow their instructions.
AFA Actions to Protect Our Paychecks and Jobs
Airlines are announcing cutbacks in flying over the next several months, and those cuts are being revised as the situation with COVID-19 changes and travel is either curtailed by the government or demand is reduced to unsustainable levels.
AFA contracts provide answers on pay protections, furlough mitigation, and furlough protections. Remember to review your contract for these items and check updates from AFA at your airline for the latest news on any supplemental agreements or procedures in place as a result of current discussions with airline management.
Also know that AFA is on Capitol Hill interfacing with lawmakers to advocate for financial relief for individual workers and airlines in a way that promotes direct support of continued paychecks, healthcare, and financial viability of the airlines. We are pushing for any relief to include restrictions on stock buy backs, dividends, executive bonuses, using funds in any way to undermine worker rights – in addition to other key provisions for long-term protections for workers, our families, our contracts, and our jobs. We will keep Flight Attendants informed as we push forward and advise you on what you can do to help push lawmakers and the White House to enact these protections.
Taking Control of Your Finances During a Loss of Flying
AFA EAP/Professional Standards
Now, more than ever, it is prudent for all Flight Attendants to assess their personal financial positions in anticipation of income reductions. While every Flight Attendant’s situation will vary, the following are some general considerations designed to help each of us begin strategizing on how best to weather the financial impact of flying cutbacks on your household.
Assess your Financial Status.
- Prepare a household budget and cut any non-essential items.
- Prepare a list of all creditors and a contact person. Make minimum payments.
- Place your money in a bank in which you have no debt.
- Attempt to secure a loan early, so you will have a cash flow.
- Assess your Federal tax situation. You may be owed a refund or need to file an extension.
- Be proactive. Assess your credit card debt. Look into a temporary reduction or abatement in payments.
Contact Your Creditors.
You must communicate with your creditors before any payments become delinquent, and the sooner the better. You can negotiate a lower repayment schedule before you run out of money. Be professional, but assertive. Creditors are easier to work with if they know ahead of time that there’s a problem. Also, it shows ‘good faith’ that you are concerned about your debts and intend to pay.
The goal is to make the amount of money you’ve saved last as long as possible. Pay what you can on a regular basis, even if it is less than expected. Partial payments may keep collection agents away. Follow-up all telephone conversations with a letter and keep documentation. Even in the worst-case scenario, it takes a long time for collections, repossessions and evictions to occur. Contact credit counselors who can help you sort out your financial affairs. Be sure to remember to contact the creditors that are automatically payroll deducted.
Even if you can’t pay creditors the amount they want, make your best effort to pay something regularly. This holds arrears as low as possible and lets the creditor know that you are doing all you can. Partial payment may keep your account from being turned over to a collection agency.
Put your payments in order of importance: this will help you pay first things first when money is short. Generally, your most important payment will be the mortgage or rent payment, followed by utilities, health insurance and car payments. And after the initial contact, it’s important that you keep in contact with creditors – every two weeks or so. This reassures the creditor, shows a responsible attitude toward your obligation and may keep the creditor from ‘hounding’ you.
Prepare a household budget.
A budget helps you see where you spend your money and where you can save.
Your budgeted expenses should include:
- Fixed expenses, including: mortgage, rent, taxes, insurance, loans, installment payments, credit card payments and any other monthly payments.
- Monthly expenses, including: food, gas, repairs, dues, recreation, prescriptions.
- Future expenses, including: income/property tax and any other outstanding debts.
Your budgeted income should include:
- Any remaining income
- State disability insurance benefits
- Workers’ compensation checks
- Social Security
- Any furlough pay
- Unemployment compensation
- Other pension funds
Your assets may include:
- Cash value of insurance policies
- Equity in your home
- Prepaid burial or funeral policy
- Resale value of vehicles (including boats and snowmobiles)
Once you identify this, you are now ready to adjust your expenses, negotiate with creditors and use assets in the most effective way possible.
Contact AFA’s Employee Assistance Program: 1-800-424-2406.