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AFA E-Lines: April 16, 2021

Date: April 16, 2021

Flight Attendant Fatigue Risk Management Program

In a joint statement today by United AFA President Ken Diaz, and United SVP Inflight Service, John Slater, a Flight Attendant Fatigue Risk Management Program (FA-FRMP) was announced.

This enhanced program is a result of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018, which contained the requirement for the FA-FRMP. The inclusion of this requirement was championed by AFA and was a legislative priority for us.  We are proud of the tireless work of our AFA volunteers to achieve this success and applaud the collaboration and commitment of United management to make it a reality.

The FA-FRMP will launch on April 26 and encourages Flight Attendants to proactively identify and report instances of fatigue before they occur. Development of the program is still being finalized but will contain training as part of upcoming CQ curriculum. There will be a Fatigue Review Committee (FRC) group comprised of one committee member from each of the following areas: 

  • AFA’s Safety, Health and Security Committee
  • AFA’s Scheduling Committee
  • United’s Inflight Safety
  • United’s Inflight Scheduling teams

Additional details will be coming, and we encourage you to take the time to learn how to use the system and responsibly report issues for the purpose of creating a safer work environment. 

Airlines Say “No” to CDC Guidance in Blocking Middle Seats

A newly published report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that mask-less flyers could spread COVID-19 at a higher rate when middle seats were not blocked. Passengers on opposite ends of a three-seat row, with the middle seat open, reduced their risk of exposure by 57%, reported the study.

The top U.S. Airlines rejected the study, saying it didn’t consider the new safety procedures that have been put in place.  United didn’t comment directly, and instead deferred to Airlines for America (A4A) for a statement, which was published on Flying Together.

In contention is that the study, which was conducted in 2017 well before the COVID-19 pandemic, is modeled on a different virus and, of particular note, that the mannequins used in the study did not wear masks.  The A4A also cites the advanced air filtration systems used on our aircraft today which, in combination with mask adherence, provide for a safer environment than in many other situations.

What we learn from this is that not wearing a mask with one virus creates a much higher risk of transmission, compared to wearing a mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and decreasing the risk for infection. The take away: the more everyone wears a mask throughout an entire flight, the safer everyone is.

EAP/Professional Standards and Additional Stress

For some, this pandemic may result in added responsibilities, stress, personal or work-related problems.  

Please, contact us if you are struggling with:

  • Emotional/psychological issues such as depression, anxiety, eating disorder, loss/grief
  • Job Stress
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Family issue(s), divorce, or concern for a family member
  • Co-worker conflict – www.unitedafa.org/ps
  • Trauma, physical assault 
  • Aircraft emergencies
  • Recovery and relapse issues
  • Chemical dependency

Sometimes these problems can overwhelm our normal coping strategies and support from a trained peer or a referral to a mental health professional may prove helpful.  

AFA's Employee Assistance Program/Professional Standards (EAP/PS) program helps our Members, their families and partners deal with concerns on and off the job that affect them.  

Our website has AFA Resources for EAP and Support, including direct phone numbers for international locations and our AFA EAP International Help Line: 800-424-2406.

 Potential Weekend of Civil Protests – Remain Aware

This week, a confluence of events may be setting the stage for potential civil unrest. The Derek Chauvin trial is expected to conclude early next week, with yesterday marking the 5th-straight day of protests in Minnesota. Kim Potter appears in court as Daunte Wright's family demands accountability, also in Minnesota, and video footage of 13-year-old Adam Toledo’s shooting is made public in Chicago.  While these events do not have a direct impact on our profession, they do pose the potential for both peaceful demonstrations and possibly more violent protests.

Last week we discussed the importance of layover safety, and today we’d like to remind Flight Attendants of the need for situational awareness both while at work and on our own time. We encourage you to make responsible decisions about your whereabouts as events unfold that could lead to situations that may be disruptive. Protests are planned for both Minnesota and Chicago, as well as dozens of other cities around the country; and while supposedly peaceful, things do change.  

If you are flying this weekend, be sure to remain informed about any local protests that may impact your travel or layover.  Our AFA Safety, Health and Security Committee has been in daily briefings with United Corporate Security to monitor potential situations and both the Union and company are prepared to take preventative action if necessary.  Be safe and be aware, please.

Spring 2021 Regular Master Executive Council (MEC) Meeting

The Spring 2021 Regular Meeting of the United Master Executive Council will take place April 20 – 22nd. Due to the continued precautions to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in the State of Illinois the meeting will take place remotely via Zoom™. Members are welcome and encouraged to attend and are asked to register in advance to ensure they are permitted into the sessions.

All participants MUST register in advance. Failure to register may result in not being able to access the meeting.  The links to register for each day of the meeting are as follows:

The following is the registration link for Day 1 of the Spring 2021 Regular MEC Meeting.

When: Tuesday, Apr 20, 2021 09:00 AM Central Time (US and Canada) 

Register in advance for the day 1 meeting.

The following is the registration link for Day 2 of the Spring 2021 Regular MEC Meeting.  

When: Wednesday, Apr 21, 2021 09:00 AM Central Time (US and Canada) 

Register in advance for the day 2 meeting.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

All members across the system are invited to participate in our democratic process.

April is World Autism Month

April is World Autism Month, dedicated to increasing awareness about Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of children living with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is now 1 in 54 and impacts families across all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups.

Autism is a complex, lifelong developmental disability that typically appears during early childhood and can impact a person’s social skills, communication, relationships, and self-regulation. Autism is defined by a certain set of behaviors and is a “spectrum condition” that affects people differently and to varying degrees.  

While there is currently no known single cause of autism, early diagnosis helps a person receive the support and services that they need, which can lead to a quality life filled with opportunity.

On April 2, the nation-wide autism awareness campaign, Light It Up Blue, kicked off in recognition of April as Autism Awareness Month. Light It Up Blue encourages learning about ASD, which helps to establish an environment where one is accepted for their abilities and not their disabilities.

According to Autism Speaks, a leading national organization on advocacy, ASD now affects about 1.8 percent of Americans. Over the years, the number of individuals diagnosed with ASD has increased.

This is not because ASD is a new condition, but because it is being diagnosed more frequently as medical providers are able to recognize the signs and symptoms at an earlier age and in the milder form.

ASD is a wide framework of different indicators and impairments that can readily be impacted by early intervention. People with ASD do not have any physical markers that identify them as having ASD, nor is there a lab test, X-ray, or scan to confirm a diagnosis.

Diagnosis is based on a series of symptoms, behaviors, and a combination of responses on supported assessments. It is an individual’s behavior and how they interact or perceive their environment that sets them apart in general society.

Although it is widely known that people with ASD have above average intelligence, some have said their world is concrete while trying to exist in a conceptual world, like a game where no one shared the rules or gave instructions on how to use the equipment.

Others think of ASD as a puzzle, where a person is trying to figure out how all the pieces fit. For many, things like social norms, understanding nuances and reacting appropriately to vague statements or requests become exceedingly difficult and almost prohibit the person from readily participating in the world.

We need to realize that when we meet one person with autism, that is it — we have met that one individual person with autism. Each individual is unique and has different indicators that add up to determine the level of severity.

The earlier the diagnosis, and the more engaged families are with comprehensive supports, therapies, and strategies, the more readily the person and family can decrease the negative impact.

Genetics may be a contributing factor. If one family member has been diagnosed, the possibility of another family member having ASD increases. In addition, ASD appears to affect boys more frequently than girls. It does not appear to be affected by financial or environmental factors, or by the configuration of a family unit. ASD does not discriminate, and it impacts both the individual and family members.

As with many things in life — a situation or condition can either be viewed in a dark, dim light or in a bright, positive light — Light It Up Blue suggests placing ASD in a positive and unique light. Some use AUTISM as an acronym: Always Unique, Totally Interesting and Sometimes Mysterious.

As Flight Attendants, most of us at one time or another have likely encountered a passenger on our Flight with autism. Whether it is the proactive mother who hands you a lollipop and a card explaining what may happen and looking to you for compassion or when we may unexpectedly find ourselves aware of it mid-flight, one of our specialties as professionals is to understand, support and offer kindness.To further learn more about autism, or for the latest updates on autism and developmental disorders, visit the CDC website or Autism Speaks.

Vacation Fly Through Options and Pay

Flight Attendants interested in electing to Fly Through their vacations are encouraged to review the Vacation Fly Through options, Advance Notice Fly Through, Partial Fly Through & Operational Fly Through prior to selecting the request.

Advance Vacation Fly Through:
A Flight Attendant who chooses to fly during her/his scheduled vacation period shall be paid for all trips flown during the vacation period in addition to Vacation Pay. Vacation Fly Through hours shall be included in line projections. The Company may offer an incentive for Flight Attendants to Fly Through their vacations. 

Prior to the monthly Line Award, A Flight Attendant must provide notice to the Company of her/his intent to Fly Through a vacation period no later than the 5th day of the calendar month (at 1000 local time) before the Bid month in which the vacation is scheduled.  (For example: to fly through a September vacation, you must notify the company no later than 10:00AM (HDT) on August 5th)

Partial Fly Through:
Length of vacation must be greater than 6 days. A Flight Attendant will be allowed to Fly Through consecutive vacation days within a block of vacation days, if they leave behind a block of at least 6 consecutive vacation days at the beginning, the end or both. 

A Flight Attendant will not be allowed to Fly Through multiple sets of non-consecutive days from within a block of vacation days, even if she/he leaves behind a block of at least 6 consecutive vacation days (i.e., Flight Attendant has ten (10) vacation days and wishes to Fly Through the first and last 2). 

A Flight Attendant cannot submit any Vacation Modification request (Fly Through/Instant Trade/Flight Attendant to Flight Attendant trade) for remaining days of the Fly Through period unless she/he withdraws the partial Fly Through request. 

Upon withdrawing the Fly Through, the original vacation period will be restored allowing a Flight Attendant to participate in any type of trade if trading window is open for that vacation period.

Fly Through will be considered a separate vacation period for the maximum of 5 periods. 

Flying Through (After Monthly Line – Operational Vacation Fly Through): 
A Flight Attendant also may elect vacation Fly Through after the award of monthly schedules, which is considered an Operational Fly Through. For both lineholders and Reserves, you may do so by calling Crew Scheduling after monthly line awards and before the vacation period.

For lineholders: the VAC days will be removed from your schedule and you will be able to pick up time on those days.  The value of your vacation will be included as “Add Pay.”

Partial operational Vacation Fly Through are not permitted. 

Flight Attendants may only pick up trip pairings within the vacation period from another Flight Attendant (unless otherwise permitted by the Company). No other trading restrictions apply during the month. 

For Reserves: Operational Fly Through requests are made by contacting Crew Scheduling any time before the Vacation period begins after lines have been awarded. When a Flight Attendant elects for operational Fly Through after having been awarded a Reserve line, the Vacation days will be removed and will become days free from availability, appearing as “OFF” in the line. (In other words, Reserve days of availability that were part of the originally awarded line are not restored.) The value of the Vacation days will appear in Add Pay, however in this case the Reserve minimum will be reduced by the value of the number of Reserve days of availability that were part of the awarded line and were encompassed by the vacation.  Please review our article for additional information and examples.

Verify Pay for Vacation Fly Through:
When exercising your contractual right to Fly Through an awarded vacation period, take a minute to confirm that the pay you are expecting in lieu of vacation has been properly included in your Pay Register.  

Once the Vacation Fly Through has been processed, Crew Scheduling will send the information to Crew Pay to ensure the Vacation hours are placed into Add Pay. 

To ensure your vacation Fly Though hours have been properly applied to your total monthly pay, in CCS > Pay Register > Total Month’s Pay > Add Pay (Base Rates) > VCPO (vacation pay out) should equal the number of days of vacation flown through multiplied by 3.25 hours. 

That value will ultimately be multiplied by your hourly rate of pay and converted into the dollar value of your vacation Fly Through. Report discrepancies or research any questions with the Crew Pay team or via Help Hub.

For more information about Vacation Fly Through options and Pay, please go to our website at www.unitedafa.org.

Second Trimester CQ CBT Due April 29 2359CT

The CBT for the second trimester is now available for completion and is required to be completed by Wednesday, April 29th 2359 Central Standard Time. To be clear, for those based on the east coast or London, the deadline will show as April 30, 2021, because 2359CT on April 29 is already April 30 in these locations.  Nevertheless, the due date is April 29, 2359 Central Time.

This CBT session is anticipated to take approximately three (3) hours to complete. As required under our Contract Section 11.B.2, Flight Attendants will be compensated at one (1:00) hour flight time credit for every three (3:00) hours, prorated. In no case shall a Flight Attendant receive less than one-hour (1:00) flight time pay and credit.


Reminders and Quick Links

April 17 – May Bids Close
April 18 – Gina Rose Montalto Memorial Foundation Scholarships
April 20/21/22 – Spring MEC Meeting
April 23 – Two Hour Trade Windows, by base, Open
April 29 - CQ 2021 Trimester CBT 2 Due by 2359CT
April 30 – Joe Beirne Scholarship Closes






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