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Obtaining Crew Meals During Irregular Operations

Date: August 20, 2021

Given the increasing length of the duty day in pairings, our MEC Central Schedule Committee (CSC) highlighted to company management the increasing number of pairings scheduled with sits having a length just barely sufficient to obtain a Crew Meal (just over 2 hours).  These pairings are being impacted by increased taxi times and/or increased flight time per segment such that the time between segments is reduced in the operation where the result is Flight Attendants no longer having an opportunity to secure food.

In reviewing the flying assigned to each base/domicile and as part of addressing quality of life issues for Flight Attendants, CSC stresses the importance of building opportunities for crew to obtain food, especially on longer duty days and in multi-day pairings, into the schedule. While some of the pairings, as scheduled, are technically “legal”, they don’t provide Flight Attendants with the opportunity to secure nourishment to support them during the lengthy duty day.  In response to recent irregular operations, we inquired if United management was aware of a procedure by which affected Flight Attendants actually secure nourishment.

CSC cited, as an example, a pairing having an almost 12-hour duty day which operated with a segment before an all-night flight, having a 2:19 sit before working an all-night segment across the country to the opposite coast.  In a circumstance where, due to the delayed arrival of the flight segment before the all-night flight, Flight Attendants working the pairing lose the opportunity to secure nourishment before taking the all-night flight. Their next opportunity to secure food is on arrival at their destination the next morning. Without crew meals and closed airport concessions on arrival after the all-night segment, this presents a challenge for Flight Attendants in taking care of themselves.

United management explained that there is a procedure in place when Flight Attendants are unable to obtain food at a station under these or similar circumstances: Flight Attendants should/can contact Base management to arrange for a crew meal to be delivered planeside. In this specific example, Flight Attendants would contact Base Management who should arrange for a crew meal to be boarded on the all-night flight segment.

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