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AFA DEBRIEF: October 08, 2021

Date: October 8, 2021

AFA DEBRIEF – October 8, 2021

  • Review Annual Vacation Bidding Process
  • 2022 Benefits Enrollment Period
  • Special COLA for November 2021
  • FLT LINE New Menu Options
  • Uniform Orders
  • 2021 International Purser Recurrent Training
  • Next Regular MEC Meeting Planned for Winter 2022
  • Benefits Committee Training and Wellness Health Benefits Available

Review Annual Vacation Bidding Process
The annual Vacation Bidding process begins by September 25 each calendar year with a 20-day period by which Flight Attendants have the opportunity to make personal decisions on:

  • Vacation Buy Back with incentive, this year, 0.1%.  If utilized, no Flex Vacation.
  • Vacation Deferral into 401(k) – maximum 14 days
  • Optional Flex Vacation

Decisions on the above must be made before October 15, 2021.  Take a few minutes to look at the overview of the vacation process, broken down by dates and specific activities tied to vacation bidding, which is available from our Vacation microsite.  

2022 Benefits Enrollment Period

It’s that time of the year again.  With the advent of Fall brings about our Annual Benefits Open Enrollment.  Soon, we will have an opportunity to change or update our contractually negotiated Healthcare Benefits.

While, in the past, annual open enrollment for employees occurred in October and open enrollment for retirees followed that, this year the company has made a change to this sequence.  Retirees start the open enrollment process with a separate enrollment period that opens on October 11, 2021 and will run through October 29, 2021.  Following that and beginning on November 1, 2021, the Annual Benefits Enrollment period for active employees starts and will remain open until November 19, 2021.   We have been advised that this change to the timing of the enrollment process will continue beyond 2021.

Both active and retired Flight Attendants will be receiving a printed United Benefits Enrollment guide which highlights the changes to non-core 2022 Health Benefits.  The enrollment period this year is shorter than in the past, so be sure to check your guide and begin the enrollment process within the new shortened timeline.  

It is critical that each of us understands the benefit options available to make informed decisions about your 2022 coverage.  Visit United’s new educational website at www.nowboardingbenefits.com to help you understand your 2022 benefits.  As a reminder, there will not be in-person Annual Enrollment fairs in the bases.

Enrollment is completed through United’s “Your Benefits Resource (YBR) website, which may be accessed through the “Useful Websites Link” on our website; or you may call the United Airlines Benefits Center with questions regarding enrolling or using the “Your Benefits Resource” website at (800) 651-1007.

In addition, if you have not already done so, you may want to consider setting up, in advance, access to the Alight Mobile app.  This will allow you to access your United benefits from the convenience of your smartphone using your Flying Together credentials.  Also, consider electing to receive text messages from the United Airlines Benefits Center to ensure you receive timely reminders about important topics during annual enrollment.

Special COLA for November 2021

Crew Schedule Planning has announced the offering of a Special COLA for the November 2021 bid month.   The Special COLA awards will be published before the November 2021 bidding window opens. 

The company has updated the November Special COLA packet to include the requirement that Flight Attendants must be qualified to be awarded a November schedule in order to be awarded a Special COLA.  The company will continue to include this requirement in their Special COLA document.

As always, when requesting time off, we encourage you to fully review all available information and ask questions about anything that is unclear.  As a reminder, once the Special COLA is awarded, it cannot be rescinded. Should you have additional questions, please contact your Local Council Office.

FLT LINE New Menu Options

The company announced they have changed some of the main menu options for FLTLINE.   

Based on our continuing advocacy, the company has reinstated access to the COVID information line (CCC) from the main FLTLINE menu.  When calling 1-800-FLT-LINE, be sure to listen carefully to the prompts before making your selection.

Changes to the main menu include:

  • Option 0 will continue to be available (with no sub menu options) if you are reporting an emergency.
  • Option 9 is now available if you are calling about or have questions related to Covid-19

For questions or if you experience any technical issues, please contact your supervisor at your base.

Uniform Orders

October is the month in which we bid annual vacations and signals our approach to the end of the year.   A reminder that orders for uniform pieces using your available uniform point allocation is timely and these orders need to be placed before the end of the calendar year.  

We recommend that you consider placing orders for uniform items before the hustle and bustle of the busy holiday season where ordering uniform pieces can become lost in other commitments. Annual point allotments for 2021 were credited to each Flight Attendant and can be viewed from the Cintas Uniform website.   Information on how to order uniform pieces can be found from the Useful Website link on our MEC website.

2021 International Purser Recurrent Training

As we approach mid-October, we are approaching the end of the 2021 International Purser Recurrent Training (IPRT21) program.  If you are qualified as an International Purser (active or on a waitlist) and have not yet been scheduled or assigned to attend, we encourage you to make every effort to schedule yourself to participate in this annual event which is required in order to maintain your qualifications.    

You are encouraged to review the IPRT21 information in the monthly Bid Package Cover Letter for training dates to ensure you accomplish it before the end of the year.

Next Regular MEC Meeting Planned for Winter 2022

Given the Roadshow activity that will be conducted and ongoing through November 11, 2021, the United Master Executive Council (MEC) acted to delay scheduling of our next in-person regular meeting to occur in January 2022 at the Winter 2022 Regular MEC Meeting.  There will be no Fall 2021 Regular MEC Meeting.

Benefits Committee Training and Wellness Health Benefits Available

This week, our MEC Benefits Committee conducted their annual committee training for AFA volunteers throughout our system. 

The MEC Benefits Committee hosted representatives from LHR, ORD, DEN, SFO, LAX, HNL, IAD, LAS, BOS, CLE, and GUM at this years’ annual training event.  These trained professionals will now be working hard for each of us in our Local Councils.  We congratulate them on completion of the training and thank them for their dedication to supporting and educating our fellow flying partners in understanding the full cadre of our insurance and retirement benefits.

Our MEC Benefits Committee reminds all of us that our Contractual Health Plans offer wellness checkups, screenings, and routine vaccinations at 100% coverage, which means no out-of-pocket cost to you.

Examples of covered services include an annual physical, mammogram, prostate check, and wellness exams for children, which include all routine childhood immunizations.  We have negotiated these benefits to not only encourage ourselves to stay healthy.  Using the preventative benefits that have been negotiated by our Union is a fantastic way to stay in peak physical condition, especially during this period where an active pandemic is presenting challenges for all of us.

For a full list of preventative services covered, please refer to page 262 in our Contract (Section 29>Benefits>Appendix C>Preventive Services).

If you have additional questions, please reach out to your Local Council Benefits Committee for guidance and direction.


October – Breast Cancer Awareness Month
October & November – AFA Opening Proposal Roadshows
OCT 12 – Primary Bidding for November Schedules Opens
OCT 15 – 20 Day Annual Election Period for Vacations Ends
OCT 17 – Primary Bidding for November Schedules Closes at 0800 HDT
OCT 23 – First Round Vacation Bidding Opens
OCT 29 - Open Enrollment for Retirees Ends
OCT 30 – November Flying Month Begins
OCT 30 – Third Trimester CBT DUE
OCT 30 – Daylight Savings Time 2021 Begins in the U.K.
OCT 31 – First Round Vacation Bidding Closes
NOV 07 – Daylight Savings Time 2021 Begins in the United States




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