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Crew Meals

Date: August 20, 2021

Flight Attendants continue to have questions as to when Crew Meals are contractually required and ask what can be done when Crew Meals, when contractually required, are not appropriately boarded.

Section 5.A.3 of the Joint Collective Bargaining Agreement (JCBA) governs crew meals.  Crew Meals boarded at company expense should be:

  • Appropriate to the time of day.
  • Provided whenever the scheduled duty day is more than seven hours and fifty-nine minutes (7:59) and all sit time is scheduled less than two (2) hours.
  • Provided on charter flights when meals are provided for passengers.
  • Provided for pairings in the bid packages as well as in pairings built in the operation.
  • Provided for whenever a Reserve is assigned/scheduled to any sequence that meets the criteria.
  • Provided whenever a flight originates or terminates in an international city *, scheduled for three (3) hours or more and passengers are provided a meal. In this circumstance, meals are provided without regard to whether the trip is a partial pickup (JCBA Section 7.I.8) when the segment involves travel to an international city.

Meals will usually be boarded on the longest flight departing in the first six (6) hours of duty.  If the longest duty period is a deadhead on a UAX flight, the meal will be boarded on the first mainline flight.  In circumstances where a duty period has a combination of domestic and international flying, and the international flight is longer than three (3) hours, the meal will only be provided on the international flight(s) regardless of where they fall in the duty period sequence

*Note: For purposes of this provision, Alaska, Hawaii, Saint Thomas, Saint Croix, and San Juan are not considered international cities. 

Crew Meals will not be boarded:

  • When a Flight Attendant executes a partial pickup that creates a duty day more than 8 hours with less than a two (2) hour sit.
  • When operational delays shorten a sit or lengthen a duty day.
  • When a reassignment/draft occurs that creates a duty day greater than eight (8) hours with less than a two (2) hour sit.
  • When the combined duty time of a pairing and Standby Reserve (OSB) creates a duty day greater than eight (8) hours with less than a two (2) hour sit. 

As well as the contractual requirements governing when crew meals must be provided, our Contract establishes that crew meal food components must be business class quality or better and includes deadheading Crew Members on international flights. In those instances where storage space is at a premium, it is acceptable for Crew Members deadheading in economy to receive the food components in an economy setup; the meals are boarded with the passenger special meals, and are indicated as ZDML in the My Flight App.

*Note:
 Crew Meals need not be identical to those served to passengers on the same flight nor are there different crew meals based on the length of the duty day. All food components of crew meals shall be business class quality or better.

In the limited circumstance where a meal is not boarded when contractually required, a Flight Attendant may purchase a meal and submit a receipt through the company’s CONCUR expense reporting system for actual/reasonable expense reimbursement. In this context, “reasonable” is based on what food options are available, time permitting.

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

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