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Pre-Departure COVID-19 Testing – Pay & Duty Time

Date: December 28, 2021

As a reminder, last March, AFA entered into a Letter of Agreement with management to ensure United Flight Attendants are compensated when reporting early to support the need for pre-departure COVID-19 testing for flights to certain destinations outside the United States.

Flight Attendants who are required to submit to pre-departure COVID-19 testing may be required to report up to sixty (60) minutes earlier than provided for in Section 6.R.2. of our Contract.  The total report time, including any extension, may not exceed two hours and fifteen minutes (2:15) prior to scheduled departure.

Because of the additional time added, there is a pay component associated with this:

  • Flight Attendants will be paid at a rate of $5.00 for every five minutes (0:05) increase over the time listed in Section 6.R.2. up to a maximum of fifteen minutes (0:15).
  • Flight Attendants will be paid at a rate of $15.00 for each additional five minute (0:05) increase beyond the original 15 minutes (0:15) up to a maximum of $135.00 for forty-five (0:45)
  • This additional “early report” compensation does not offset any other pay factors


A Flight Attendant reporting two hours and fifteen minutes (2:15) prior to flight departure, that is one hour early,

  • Flight Attendant will be paid a total of $150.00 ($15.00 for 0:15 + $135 for 0:45)


A Flight Attendant reporting one hour and forty-five minutes prior to scheduled departure, that is :45 minutes early

  • Flight Attendant will be paid a total of $105.00 ($15 for 0:15 + $90 for 0:30)


A Flight Attendant reporting two hours prior to scheduled departure

  • Flight Attendant will be paid a total of $60 ($15 for 0:15 + $45 for 0:15)


Standby Reserves who are required to take a pre-departure COVID-19 test, while on duty, will be paid $25 per test, but not entitled to any of the pay associated above.

It should also be understood that this early check-in necessary to conduct the pre-departure test is included as part of the total maximum duty day, including any extension of duty that might occur in the actual operation as provided for under Section 6.T. of our Contract.  For example, in a situation involving a non-stop flight of 12:01 or more, the maximum actual on duty can exceed the total of our contractual check-in, flight time, customs and debrief by 3:30. 

In the circumstance where a pre-departure COVID test is required, the additional one hour of check-in time needed for testing shortens the 3:30 extension by one-hour with the end resulting being the shortening of the extension to 2:30 in the event of any irregularity.

If you have additional questions, please contact your Local Council.

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