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NRSA Passenger Boarding Restricted when Loads Exceed 70% Capacity

Date: May 20, 2020

Updated; May 21, 2020

This past Saturday, May 16, 2020, United announced significant changes that will impact our current Non-Revenue Space Available (NRSA) travel benefits. Given there was no mention of these capacity restrictions on the Townhall call on Friday, many were caught off guard by the announcement of the program.

Effective today, May 19 through at least June 30, 2020, this company initiative is intended to assist with social distancing on board the aircraft and will have the broader impact on Non-revenue passengers once capacity reaches 70%.  Once the 70% point is reached, NRSA passengers will not be accommodated on the aircraft.

In response, AFA advocated strongly for commuting Flight Attendants and emphasized the impact such a restriction would have on the ability to travel to work and to maintain reliability. It was in response to this advocacy, that the company opted to provide positive space (NRPS) travel for all active Flight Attendants commuting to/from a work assignment, effective now through June 30.

Note: Additionally, the 70% cap does not apply to cabin jumpseats on mainline aircraft. United Express (UAX) aircraft will continue to operate with no cabin jumpseats during this time to ensure social distancing; the 70% cap applies to cabin seats and cabin jumpseats on UAX aircraft.

Flight Attendants commuting to/from work can book positive space by selecting Business Travel, not Personal/Leisure Travel under the Travel Type tab. 

  • When time permits, book your PS travel as early as possible (greater than 48 hours) 
  • Flight Attendants and pilots will be able to book in a window or aisle seat if they are available. If the flight reaches 70% load factor, Flight Attendants and pilots will be assigned a seat by the gate agent.
  • To preserve social distancing standards, Flight Attendants and pilots may be asked to relocate to another seat.
  • If you receive a notification that your flight is at 70% capacity, disregard as the message is intended for customers only.

Additional Details:

  • When a flight is 70% booked, we’ll do our best to notify customers 24 hours in advance with the option to change their flight, if desired. We’ll also offer this option at the gate. Then, if the flight boards to 70% of the aircraft capacity with revenue customers, NRSA travelers will not be cleared. 
  • If a flight is less than 70% boarded, NRSA travelers will be seated until capacity reaches 70%, trying our best to avoid seating employees in a middle seat or other previously restricted seats depending on aircraft configuration. Gate agents will still clear standby customers as they do today, up to 70%.
  • A flight could still go out more than 70% full of revenue customers – but once the 70% point is reached, NRSAs will not be cleared and seated.
  • We’re not restricting your ability to list – you can still list for any flight, any time.
  • You’ll see communications through employee booking channels, including employeeRES and the United app.
  • We should also be aware that as flights approach or exceed the 70% point, United management has explored and, in many cases, actual up-gauged the scheduled aircraft to a larger one in order to maintain social distancing and accommodate the additional revenue and non-revenue customers. 

Note: As a final travel opportunity the company has provided us the option to purchase a myUA20 discount ticket, as a great way to ensure yourself or your pass riders a guaranteed seat. With this purchased ticket you would have the option to not be subject to the 70% load capacity restriction.

Additional information regarding this new social distancing policy and your employee travel privileges can be found on Flying Together.

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