Home > News > E-Lines: February 05, 2021

E-Lines: February 05, 2021

Date: February 5, 2021

SEA Satellite Base Closure

On Thursday, February 4, 2021, United announced their intention to close the SEA satellite base effective with the May 2021 schedule month.

While we all live with the understanding that any geographic location is always under scrutiny for viability, it’s devastating for those who are based there to face this news. It was welcome news when United originally announced the SEA base, and provided us to return to an area we’ve traditionally known as a “United home.” There is no good outlook on this announcement and we offer our support and compassion and that of our flying partners to those in SEA who will be adversely impacted.

Our SEA based flying partners will return to the geographic base from which they transferred and all provisions of United’s Satellite Base Transfer and Moving packet will apply. 

It is important that our solidarity and support remain focused on our Union brothers and sisters who will be directly impacted by the Seattle satellite base closure. Please join the entire United Master Executive Council as we stand together in offering support and assistance to our friends and flying partners directly impacted by today’s announcement.

Group Universal Life Insurance from Securian

When returning from a leave or voluntary furlough, Securian will send a letter to the address of record to the Flight Attendant alerting her/him to the fact that they have been enrolled in coverage. Flight Attendants who do not want to be enrolled in this coverage, that is who wish to decline coverage, must take affirmative action by contacting Securian at (866) 887-1043 during the hours of 7:00 AM – 6:00 PM CT to decline coverage within forty-five (45) days of their return to service. 

AFA Voluntary Benefits (CAIC or Allstate) – Coverage Continuation with VSL

For those of us who are considering the Voluntary Separation Leave (VSL), we understand you have questions regarding your ability to continue some of the AFA Voluntary Supplemental Benefits either during your pre-separation leave or once you’ve actually separated from the company.

If you have questions on the portability of these products, please call the vendor through which your coverage is provided at one of the following numbers:

  • Design Benefits (Allstate Products)    877 706 9110
  • National Group Protection – NGP (CAIC)      800 344 9016

 #ExtendPSP Is on Track - Call Congress

AFA President Sara Nelson testified yesterday in front of the House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee during a hearing titled "Protecting Transportation Workers and Passengers from COVID: Gaps in Safety, Lessons Learned, and Next Steps."  You can watch the entire hearing here—Sara’s opening remarks are at the 1 hour mark. She testified on the need to extend the Payroll Support Program (PSP), vaccine prioritization for aviation workers, and said:

“Aviation is critical for vaccine distribution, and the people on the frontlines of aviation need priority vaccination. We encourage the federal government to set up vaccination clinics at major airports to make it easy for airline crewmembers to access both their first and second doses. This will maximize the efficacy of the vaccine and prevent wasted doses.”

“Until we can contain the virus and fully open our economy, the airline industry will continue to operate at massive losses. The good news is that with the support of this committee and Chairman DeFazio leading the way, we created the first federal relief program that is truly Workers First...We need an extension of the PSP through September 30, 2021, with $15 billion in payroll support – and we thank this committee for promoting this as part of the COVID relief package Congress is working to secure in the coming weeks for the American people.”

Two key lawmakers, Chairman Peter DeFazio and Chairwoman Maria Cantwell spoke on the record about the need to #ExtendPSP and that they will include it in the current COVID Relief bill process that the Senate is advancing right now. Additionally, several Members of Congress, both Democrats and Republicans, spoke up during the hearing about the critical need to Extend PSP and their support for it.

"Congress has twice acted to provide critical relief to airline workers, pilots, mechanics, flight attendants, and will continue to do so as part of this budget reconciliation," said Senator Maria Cantwell. This is extremely important as Senator Cantwell is now the Chairwoman of the Senate Commerce Committee which has jurisdiction over aviation.

House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Peter DeFazio also made clear that he supports extending PSP after some confusing remarks from White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki. “Congress is an independent entity, we are going to accomplish [Biden’s] goals and some of our own...we need an extension of PSP, as well as aid to transit, bus, airports, contracts,” said Rep. DeFazio

We are on a very solid path to #ExtendPSP through September 30, 2021. But as we learned too many times last year, it’s not over until it’s law. We have to keep up our calls and letters to Congress! 

TAKE ACTION: Call, Write Congress
SENATE: 888-848-4824
HOUSE: 888-907-9365

"Hello, I am a constituent calling to ask [Representative] /[Senator] to help save my job as an essential worker. Pass COVID Relief and extend the Payroll Support Program for essential aviation workers through September 2021. Keep us connected to our jobs, our paychecks, and our healthcare. Thank you for your urgent attention to this."

Write Congress to #ExtendPSP >

P.S. Aviation is critical for vaccine distribution, and the people on the frontlines of aviation should be prioritized for the vaccine to assist in public health efforts. Write a letter to your governor and ask that Flight Attendants be included in Tier 1b >

Updated United Furlough Timeline  

Yesterday, United updated their timeline for Voluntary Furlough and Furlough-Mitigation Partnerships.  

Please review the updated list below. To bid for a Voluntary Furlough and/or Furlough-Mitigation Partnership, log into CCS and select from the options under the “Leaves” menu.

 Please contact your Local Council with any questions.




January 29

Voluntary Furlough and Partnership flying bids open

1500 Central Time

February 16

March SPCOLA bid closes

(SPCOLA Award will occur after the VSL closes)

0800 Central Time

February 16

Voluntary Separation Leave (VSL) programs close

2359 Central Time

February 22

Voluntary Furlough bids close

0800 Central Time

February 23

Voluntary Furloughs awarded

1700 Central Time

February 24

Partnership flying bids close

1200 (noon) Central Time

February 24

Partnership Flying Awards Posted

By 1700 CT

February 26

Notification of involuntary furloughs distributed


April 1

All furloughs and (FM) partnerships effective



 AFA Celebrates Black History Month

Bessie Coleman (1892-1926) - The history of aviation is paved with firsts, great men and woman who carved the way for the industry we know today. One of its pioneers was Bessie Coleman. Born in Atlanta, Texas on January 26, 1892 to Susan and George Coleman she was one of twelve siblings. Bessie grew up helping her mother to pick cotton and took in laundry to earn extra money. When she was eighteen, she had saved enough money to attend the Colored Agriculture and Normal University. She left the university after one semester because she couldn’t afford to attend.

Bessie first learned about female pilots flying in France when she was twenty-three. She applied to flight schools across the country, but none would accept her because she was African American and a woman. Despite the obstacles she remained undeterred and pursued flight school in France. Yet another hurdle presented itself when applications were required to be submitted in French. Bessie took night classes to prepare and finally she was accepted at the Caudron Brothers’ School of Aviation. On June 15, 1921 she received her international pilots license and then in 1922 she performed the first public flight by an African American woman.

Having succeeded in her dream, she wanted to share her gift with others. She performed for crowds and became popular in Europe and America and toured the country giving lessons and encouraging more African American women to become pilots. Bessie stood against racism and segregation refusing to perform anywhere that discriminated against African Americans and she was famous for standing up for her beliefs.   

Her incredible career was short lived. On April 30, 1926 Bessie Coleman died while on a test flight with William Wills when she was flying as a passenger. Wills lost control of the aircraft when a wrench came loose during flight. The airplane flipped and Coleman was not wearing a seatbelt. Planes at this point did not have a roof or any kind of protection. Coleman was found near the plane crash. Her loss was devastating to the community of followers she built, but her success and spirit live on as an inspiration.  She is proudly remembered as a pioneer for African Americans and women everywhere.

PSP Pay While on SPCOLA

We’ve received some questions from those who elected to take the two-month February – March Special COLA (SPCOLA), regarding eligibility for PSP pay.  For any month a Flight Attendant is in SPCOLA, they are not eligible for this pay. 

Because the bidding and awarding of those SPCOLA’s occurred after the announcement of the PSP extension, Flight Attendants have elected to take unpaid time away from work vs being available to work (if qualified) and receiving the PSP pay.

Please reach out to your Local Council if you have any questions.

Travel Requirement Update: Hawaii

On February 2 United Safety Alert announced changes to crewmember protocol when traveling to Hawaii. 

Crewmembers will now be required to submit an online health declaration form AND obtain a QR code. The form can be access at Travel Hawaii website. As of now this is only required from crews laying over in Hawaii. Crews performing turns and not exiting the terminal are exempt at this time. Health screening requirements are subject to change and should be reviewed prior to each trip.

As a reminder Non-residents of Hawaii who are crewmembers are still subject to self-quarantine when arriving to Hawaii. However, they are allowed to leave their hotel for work, outdoor exercise (excluding ocean activities) and to get food to be consumed at their designated quarantine location. In order to avoid this quarantine, a crewmember may choose to participate in pre-arrival testing process outlined on the Hawaii COVID-19 website. If a crewmember chooses to participate, all cost is at the individual’s personal expense.

You can review the required health declaration and the optional pre clearance here. For the latest information on quarantine, please refer to Flying Together > COVID-19 updates > Domestic Destinations > Hawaii.

United Voluntary Separation Leave (VSL) Program

United has announced two additional town-hall meeting to provide information about their VSL program. If you are interested in the program, we encourage you to attend and get answers to any questions you may have.

The two additional dates are:

  • Tuesday, February 9, 10am – 11am
  • Thursday, February 11, 3pm-4pm

Reminder and Quick Links

February 16 – VSL Program Closes
February 16 – March SPCOLA Closes
February 22 – Voluntary Furlough Bids Close
February 23 – Voluntary Furlough Awarded
February 24 – Partner Flying Bids Close and Awarded
February 26 – Notification of Involuntary Furloughs

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