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Special E-Lines, March 29, 2020

Date: March 29, 2020

Ladies and Gentlemen:

We are all facing extraordinary industry challenges. These extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. 

In the face of these challenges, we recognize that we are all continually being asked to understand the challenges we are facing. Thank you for the understanding and patience you have shown on the issues affecting not only our Flight Attendant community but also every employee of United Airlines. This is important for our understanding as to why it seems it is taking longer for us to receive responses to issues and questions. You are not imagining that it is taking longer to get these answers, it actually is.  


Because there are fewer people at work in some departments and because some areas of the company have been hit harder than others, management is needing to make decisions to prioritize the work that must be done. For example, payroll and scheduling are focusing on completing the work necessary to ensure that our March Pay Registers are updated prior to pay close on April 6th in order to ensure we receive our pay checks on Thursday, April 16th. 

Having said this, we want you to understand that we are aware there are a number of questions about our April schedules that require a response. These questions are related to the topics of minimums, line trades, end of month conflicts, etc. We want to be very clear – you are entitled to answers to these questions. At the same time, given our current corporate circumstances, we must realistically remind ourselves that there is sufficient time to address these issues to ensure our April pay advances are issued correctly and on time. Your MEC Officers are fully engaged with the respective departments to address these issues and place the appropriate focus where it is needed as we work to get answers to all of your questions.

We are asking that you work with us to get accomplished all of these items, in the order of priority necessary to ensure business processes are completed timely for our direct benefit. To this end, and understanding your concerns on these issues, we are requesting that you direct your inquiries or concerns through your Local Council. Writing directly to the MEC President is only serving to increase your frustration as it is not possible for the MEC President to respond to the literally thousands of questions that are being presented by e-mail. With the assistance of your Local Council President, we are able to effectively gather these issues, prioritize them and get them addressed more so, than we can by addressing individual issues.  


On the issue of Advance Vacation Fly Through, we understand that there are many questions and, based on the fact that all of us, regardless of where we are based, are being protected by the 71-hour minimum provisions delineated in Section 4.C. of our Contract, there is an appearance that something “has changed.”  Advance and Operational Fly Through are both being applied as they have been since October 2018, consistent with the mutual understanding of the company and the Union. What is different, unlike other months, our pay is normally derived from our guarantee and not our 71-hour minimum. 


When electing Advance Vacation Fly Through, your vacation hours are moved prior to your line award, to the Add Pay (Base Rates) bucket on the Pay Register. On the other hand, Operational Fly Through, which is completed after lines have been awarded, becomes part of your line projections. When Operational Fly Through is elected, the value of the vacation period(s) is removed from the awarded line, reducing both the guarantee and minimum, and is placed into your Add Pay (Base Rates) bucket. While the process appears to be the same for both advance and operational fly through because vacation ends up in the add pay bucket, the type of Fly Through you elect makes a difference. Please keep this in mind as we approach the typical deadline for planning any May Fly Through election.


We understand that much is being asked of us during this period.  We want to respond to each of your concerns individually but realistically, we must tell you that we cannot. Please use the structure of our Union starting with your Local Council to initiate your questions. Also, don’t hesitate to submit discrepancies you may see in your pay register through Help Hub with the understanding it may take some time for you to receive a response to your questions or to see changes to your pay register.

In Solidarity,

The Officers of the United Master Executive Council

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