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E-Lines: May 22, 2020

Date: May 22, 2020

MEC Officer Letter - We Have a Contract

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Earlier this week, United employees welcomed Scott Kirby to his new position as CEO of United Airlines. Scott stepped into his CEO position via a CNBC interviewHis message, however, left many United employees confused when he suggested that a reduction in hours was a solution to avoid October furloughs. While he referenced voluntary programs, what was most noticeably absent was any discussion about improving or enhancing these voluntary programs to encourage additional participation. 

"We are hopeful at United that we can work with our unions to variabilize our pay structure and frankly, not lay anyone off, not furlough any of our frontline employees," Kirby said. "Instead, using voluntary programs, and in particular, asking people to work fewer hours until we get through the crisis."

When Scott made these remarks he should have been well aware of the sacrifices Flight Attendants, collectively have made in the service of the company. Beyond the additional work in the cabin of the aircraft to reassure passengers and deal with heightened levels of anxiety from passengers, Flight Attendants have engaged in solving the problems to which the company and the traveling public have been faced. For two months in a row, more than 12,500 Flight Attendants have volunteered to take themselves away from the jobs they love and off the payroll via the negotiated Special Company Offered Leaves of Absence (COLA) programs, more than 50% of all voluntary COLAs company-wide.


Many Flight Attendants regularly fly more than the 71-hour lineholder or 78-hour Reserve guarantee. Our contract provides these pay protections as well as opportunities to increase our wages. It cannot go unnoticed that we have these pay protections, not increasing the hours we work is a significant reduction for many of us. And while we have these income protections in place for times of economic difficulty through our negotiated agreement, Flight Attendants must be recognized for their contributions in reducing the cash burn during this COVID-19 crisis.


Mr. Kirby’s message, while acknowledging our Contractual minimum pay protections, failed to recognize the multiple voluntary programs that are available to the company through our joint Collective Bargaining Agreement to reduce personnel during a period of an economic downturn. Instead we believe his message was intended to appeal to individual employees and persuade Flight Attendants to accept less than that for which we have bargained. Right now, we need to speak with one voice and enforce our Contract.  Scott must come to understand that, for each of us, “My Union speaks for me.”


Let’s be clear, protecting jobs is at the top of the list of priorities for all Labor Unions and this is most certainly the case for AFA. All of our actions from the very beginning of this crisis have been tailored to save jobs while, at the same time, creating and improving options for time off.  We have staunchly recognized that our collective cooperation is necessary in order to have not only a job, but a quality profession to which we can all return as travel rebounds and the economy improves. And, Flight Attendants have stepped up to the challenge.  


As we continue to navigate through some of the most difficult times in our airline’s history, we hear you loud and clear. No concessions. To accomplish this, we must all recognize that our strength comes from our collective. No bargaining with any one Flight Attendant. We must speak with one voice because, regardless of your seniority, your base or your status as a lineholder or Reserve, this fight is about your future.

Together, all of us, speaking with one voice through our elected AFA representatives will make it through this storm and come out on the other side with our hard-fought, contractually protected full-time jobs that are not only careers that support families for so many but also a profession of which all of us can be proud to be associated in the future.


In Solidarity, 

United Master Executive Council Officers


Ken Diaz

Adam Novish

Jeffrey Heisey


Vice President

Secretary Treasurer


July COLA Offerings 

In response to the continuing capacity reductions into the July bid month, Special COLAs will be available starting the first day of the July schedule month as follows:

July 2020 One Month Special COLA

July – One Month

July 2020 Two Month Special COLA

July – August – Two Month

July 2020 Three Month Special COLA

July – September – Three Month

Timeline for submitting bids and publication of Awards:

Flight Attendants interested in these Special COLAs should submit their request via CCS under the "Leaves" drop down menu. Select - Special COLA.

Bids Close

Tuesday June 2, 2020 at 8:00 AM Central Time


All Flight Attendants including those currently on a Special COLA

Awards Posted

Before July Bids Open and Prior to any Job Share Announcements


If you are willing to accept a Special COLA of more than one duration, please indicate the one you prefer as they will be awarded at the same time. Flight Attendants currently on a May Special COLA or June Special COLA overlapping into July can elect to extend their Special COLA by bidding for the two, and three-month options starting in July.

Additional information can be found in the May 19, 2020 Edition of Elines.

United Includes Face Covering/Masks as Required Duty Item
MEC safety Health and Security Committee 

Wearing a face mask or covering while on duty onboard the aircraft is not an option, but is now identified as part of our safety-related duty items required in accordance with United’s Policy and Procedure manual and is now included as part of general Flight Attendant responsibilities. 

The following instances identifies when a face covering/mask must be worn: 

  • On board the aircraft, including any situation (boarding, during service, etc.) where either social distancing cannot be maintained and/or in view of customers
  • In terminals and other airport public spaces where required by local mandate (e.g., EWR)
  • When traveling on board as a passenger (e.g., deadhead, positive space or space-available)
  • Any other situations while in uniform when social distancing cannot be maintained (e.g., in the base)

Exceptions to Face Mask Requirement:

  • When wearing a face covering/mask significantly impedes the ability to perform other job functions (e.g., making an onboard announcement)
  • In decompression scenarios when the flight attendant needs to don an oxygen mask or in situations where PBEs are required
  • During crew rest, when effective social distancing can be maintained and not in view of customers
  • While in the base and effective social distancing can be maintained
  • When eating or drinking, assuming effective social distancing can be maintained

Important note: 
Flight attendants who have medical restrictions that limit or prevent the performance of essential job functions while wearing the mask will have the option of engaging in the Reasonable Accommodation Process (RAP), where the medical team will work with other parties to review documentation and determine if or how the flight attendant can be accommodated. Flight attendants may use Sick Leave while their RAP is being processed. Those who do not wear a face covering/mask on board and are not engaged in RAP will receive a missed trip. Potential accommodation, if approved, may include a leave of absence option.

Additional information regarding the face covering / mask requirement can be found in the following Mask User Guide. Questions can be directed to your Local Council Safety, Health, and Security Committee. 


In addition, face coverings are now required at ORD in all public areas of the airport based on a requirement of the Chicago Department of Aviation.  This include all terminal concourse areas, TSA checkpoint and baggage claim.

CQ Training Resumes in June

In March, United was granted a 15-month CQ exemption from the FAA for Flight Attendants with a February thru May CQ training month, however their second petition requesting an additional 90-day extension was denied.  

The following plan has been developed to return Flight Attendants to qualification status over the next several months. The training center is scheduled to re-open in mid-June with the months of June, July and August used to train active Flight Attendants who had a February thru May CQ training due month. 

Flight Attendants required to attend training will receive a CCS Priority message regarding their due month. With those who need training first prioritized according to the following schedule:

  • Flight Attendants with a February CQ Due Month will go non-qualified on June 1 and will attend RQ1 in June
  • Flight Attendants with a March CQ Due Month will go non-qualified on July 1 and will attend RQ1 in July
  • Flight Attendants with an April CQ Due Month will go non-qualified on August 1 and will attend RQ1 in August
  • Flight Attendants with a May CQ Due Month will go non-qualified on September 1 and will attend RQ1 in September.Flight attendants with a September CQ month will attend CQ in October. Flight attendants with October and November CQ month will attend CQ in November.

FAST team members will contact Flight Attendants to schedule Regulatory Training (RQ) training. No RQ training pairings will be placed in open time for Flight Attendants to pick up.

Full details of what you can expect when returning for RQ training, refer to Flying Together

Note: As part of this plan, Flight Attendants on a COLA will not be required to attend regulatory training during their leave period. 

Additional information can be found in the restart plan questions and answers. Questions can be directed to inflightservicetraining@united.com

NRSA Temporary Passenger Boarding Restriction Effective May 19 

Flight Attendants are reminded about the temporary NRSA 70% capacity cap, jumpseats and positive space commuter guidance that went into effect on May 19. Anyone needing additional information are encouraged to review NRSA Passenger Boarding Restricted when Loads Exceed 70% Capacity publication on unitedafa.org and can review some of the following  frequently asked questions.

Vacation Fly Through Election for July Bid Month due by June 5th, 2020 at 10:00 HDT

Elections for Advance Vacation Fly Through for the month of July are available until 10:00AM HDT, Friday, June 5th, 2020.  Now, more than ever, it is important to understand the opportunity to increase our income this program provides each of us during this period of adversity. If you have vacation in July and are not completely familiar with the Vacation Fly Through provisions of our Contract, please review the following publications from our MEC website:

April Schedules and Advanced Vacation Fly Through
Vacation Fly Through and Reserve Guarantee

Additional CCS Enhancements Effective May 27, 2020
One United

Several new enhancements have been made to thePairing Display, Market and Reservesections of CCS, which will be effective on May 27, 2020 at 2300 CDT. A detailed description of these enhancements can be found on Flying Together. 

Reserve Restoration Requests Available Now through May 28th 

The window for Reserves to request restoration of days to their June schedule is open now through May 28, 2020, 2359 (HDT). 

To request restoration of your days of availability, go to Help Hub on FT or helphub.ual.com and search Restoration to locate the Reserve Restoration form. Restored days will also come with a corresponding increase to the minimum guarantee, up to a maximum of 78:00.  Restoration requests are being processed as soon as possible and in the order requests are received in Help Hub. 

All legal requests received by Crew Scheduling as of the close of business today (4:00 PM CT) have been processed.  Additional requests will be processed throughout the weekend.

Memorial Day – Honoring Those Who Gave So Much  

Many states are now starting to reopen, after more than nine weeks with shelter in place orders, due to the worldwide coronavirus pandemic. Memorial Day, celebrated on the last Monday of May each year in honor of the men and women who lost their lives while serving in the United States military. 

This year Memorial Day falls on Monday May 25th. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic not everywhere will be open for business as usual. And, although many states have started lifting their stay-at-home order, we encourage you to continue to protect yourself and your family members from exposure by practicing social distancing and wearing a mask any time you are in public areas. 

This Memorial Day, despite the fact that we may not be able to spend time together with family and friends, nothing can alter our plans to spend time thinking of and remembering the heroes who lost their lives for the freedoms we all have today. 

Reminders and Quick Links

May 17 – May 28        Reserve Restoration of 16 Day Off Lines 
May 25                        Memorial Day
May 27                        CCS Enhancements Available
June 2                         July Special COLA Submission Deadline





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