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Short Crew Pay

Date: July 27, 2021

The summer months are frequently plagued with weather and irregular operations. This may lead to a higher number of White and Purple Flag days in addition to flights operating at minimum crew levels. Short crew staffing could occur at the beginning of a trip or in the event a working crew member becomes unavailable mid-trip and cannot be replaced or becomes incapacitated during the flight is unable to work.

When working a flight with short crew, Flight Attendants are protected by the provisions of our Contract and will be compensated for performing their job and safety duties while understaffed not meeting the company’s established staffing guidelines.

Section 4.Q.1.

a. The Company’s established staffing guidelines (“ESG”) shall be published in the Flight Attendant’s Policy and Procedures Manual. When the actual number of Flight Attendants performing safety and service duties on a flight is fewer than provided for in the ESG, regardless of the reason(s) for the shortage, Flight Attendants shall be paid Short Crew Pay.

b. For the purposes of Short Crew Pay, in order to determine whether staffing levels on a flight are less than provided for in the ESG, load factor will constitute the number of persons in customer seats that are available for sale, including seats occupied by non-revenue passengers and deadheading personnel. For purposes of Short Crew Pay, load factor will be established as of the time when a flight is dispatched. A flight is dispatched when the aircraft leaves the gate.

c. The number of Flight Attendants performing duties on a flight is assumed to be the same as the number of Flight Attendants performing duties at the time of dispatch, unless the company is notified otherwise. 

Section 4.Q.2.

Whenever a flight meets the requirements of this section for Short Crew Pay, each Flight attendant working the flight will be compensated at the rate of $7.50 dollars per hour, or fraction thereof, for each Flight Attendant absent, block to block and for holding time when a meal is served.

The [Established] Staffing Guidelines Charts are available every bid month and can be found in the Bid Packet Cover Letter for your base. Established Staffing Guidelines (ESG) for the same aircraft type will likely be different for the domestic and international operations where the service levels on the flights vary.

The chart includes the Aircraft type and code, the maximum passenger capacity per cabin where J=Polaris, Y= Economy and TTL= Total Passenger Capacity of the aircraft. To determine if Short Crew Pay is necessary you will look at the FAs and FAA compared to the staffing.

For example, when working the 787-10 aircraft domestically, staffing is set to seven (7), the FAA minimum, regardless of the number of passengers on the flight.  While the company may staff the flight with additional Flight Attendants above the FAA minimum, they are not required under the FARs to staff beyond seven and short pay is not payable.  Keep in mind, the aircraft cannot be dispatched with less than FAA minimum on the aircraft.

However, when the 787-10 is flying in the international operation, while the FAA minimum is still seven (7), the company may elect to staff the flight above the minimum for service and is required to staff the aircraft above the minimum for augmentation staffing when duty periods exceed 14, 16 or 18 hours.   We should be clear; the company may not dispatch the aircraft with less than the number of Flight Attendants required by FAA minimum plus any staffing required based on the length of the duty period.   

For those shorter length international flights where the duty period is less than 14 hours, the company may dispatch those flights with FAA minimum, in this case 7, and short staffing pay will be due the crew for each crew member below the ESG.

Variable Staffing occurs when staffing for the flight is predicated based on the number of passengers on the aircraft.  For the 787-10 the variable passenger count would apply for any number of passengers above 219. When the flight is booked with 219 or more passengers, variable staffing is added and the company should assign an additional Flight Attendant, in this instance 8 +1 for a total of 9 working crew members to the flight. This, of course, assumes the availability of the additional Flight Attendant.  The flight, however, cannot be dispatched with less than the required FAA minimum (as described above for augmentation, when applicable.)

In the case where a flight has been dispatched with FAA minimum and one of the crew members becomes incapacitated during the flight, eligibility for short crew pay would apply.  As a reminder, in this situation, working Flight Attendants should be equally distributed throughout the aircraft and FAA minimum positions must be covered.

You can review the Established Staffing Guidelines (ESG) on Flying Together.   If you have additional questions, please contact your Local Council of your Local Safety Committee.

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