Home > News > AFA DEBRIEF: September 14, 2021

AFA DEBRIEF: September 14, 2021

Date: September 14, 2021

  • The Connection Between Vaccine Pass and Vaccination Incentive Vacation
  • United Responds to Requests for Reasonable Accommodation
  • Updated Appearance Standards Effective Tomorrow - September 15, 2021
  • Speaking of Uniforms, CINTAS Uniform Points Balance do not Roll over
  • Get the Word Out – Annual Enrollment for Active Employees Takes Place in November!
  • The International Override Applies to Flying Outside the Continental U.S. and Canada
  • Third (3rd) Trimester CBT Due by October 30
  • Apple issues urgent iPhone software update to address critical spyware vulnerability


The Connection Between Vaccine Pass and Vaccination Incentive Vacation

Over the past several editions of Debrief you have likely seen our continuing reference to the Vaccine Pass link available from the home page of the Flying Together website.  We understand the repetitive nature of this information but also realize there are several people who have not taken advantage of this notice to confirm their vaccination status is properly recorded in company records.  It is imperative that each of us does so.

As of today, there remains several hundred Flight Attendant who have been vaccinated and who started the vaccination documentation upload process but who have not properly uploaded their vaccination information into company systems.  If not completely uploaded, you must understand you will become ineligible for the vaccination vacation incentive.  Here is the rest of the story.

If you received the J & J vaccine, a single dose vaccine, you needed to upload your vaccination card one time.

If you received either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines, both two dose regimes, you absolutely must upload the vaccination card twice.  The automation is looking for the second upload – even if it is the same vaccination card – in order to record and update your vaccination status.

While repetitive, once again we strongly recommend that you access Apps from the upper right-hand corner of the Flying Together website.  Select the Vaccine Pass link.  If you have properly uploaded the vaccination card for the vaccine you received, your status will be reflected with a green check mark in a green band indicating “You are fully vaccinated.”

It should also be made clear at this point; the vaccination vacation incentive is the result of a specific Letter of Agreement between AFA and the company.  This Vaccination Letter of Agreement can be accessed from the non-public area of the MEC website and stipulates several items:

  • The date by which the vaccination was to have been administered
  • The date by which the vaccination documents were to have been uploaded.

For those who were vaccinated earlier this year and who made no attempt to upload vaccination documentation before the deadline established in the LOA because they were reluctant to do so. If you did not enter the supporting vaccination documentation into United’s systems until after United announced the vaccination mandate in August (and after the stated deadline in the LOA), regrettably there is no eligibility for the vaccination vacation incentive.

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

United Responds to Requests for Reasonable Accommodation

AFA has been made aware that United has begun the initial phase of advising those requesting a Reasonable Accommodation exemption from the COVID-19 vaccination mandate across all business units of the company.  The company continues to review these requests on an individual basis.  Contrary to some assertions in social media, the company has neither “blanket” approved or denied these requests.

Flight Attendants who have submitted requests are receiving e-mails directing them to their individual Help Hub case for additional information.  In general, we are learning, if your submission for a religious reasonable accommodation has been approved and if you do not acknowledge the accommodation or do not respond within five (5) calendar days after the date of notification, in our operational, customer facing role, you will be placed on a personal leave of absence effective October 2, 2021.  

This is a contractual personal leave of absence as defined in Section 15.D. of our Contract.  Key points to note:

  • This is an unpaid Leave of Absence.
  • Online pass travel benefits are available for ninety (90) days.
  • Pay and vacation longevity steps are affected after 180 days.
  • You will bid for your 2022 vacation bid periods and will receive pay for that vacation in the month which follows your awarded vacation.
  • Flight Attendants are responsible for the full cost of medical benefits during the leave.  Direct billing will begin effective for November 2021 premiums. (You will likely receive a bill mid-October detailing payment due for November.)
  • The duration of the leave is determined by the company based on requirements of service and the reason for the leave.

If you are currently on a leave of any type, you will be placed on a personal leave status once cleared to return to work from your current leave.

This accommodation will be re-evaluated on an on-going basis, within the context of the pandemic conditions, for appropriateness. Once the pandemic “meaningfully recedes” you will be welcomed back on an active basis.  (Meaningfully recedes has not been defined by management.)

If, on the other hand, you withdraw your accommodation request, you are required to get fully vaccinated within five (5) weeks from your withdraw date and you must get your first shot no later than September 27, 2021.

If you withdraw on or after September 27, 2021, you must receive your first vaccination within one week of the withdraw date and complete vaccination within five (5) weeks.   All documents must be uploaded via MyInfo on the Flying Together website.

Direct all questions to the United Employee Service Center at 1-877- 825 3729.

Updated Appearance Standards Effective Tomorrow - September 15, 2021

As a reminder, United’s updated appearance standards for Flight Attendants go into effect tomorrow, September 15, 2021.

The Inflight Uniform and Appearances standards will be removed from the Inflight Policies and Procedures Manual and Flight Attendants should refer to the Flight Attendant Uniforms and Appearance Standards Guidebook September 15, 2021, and beyond.

Flight Attendants can learn more about these standards by visiting the Employee Uniforms and Appearance Standards page on Flying Together.  If you have questions about these new Appearance Standards, please direct those to uniforms@unitedafa.org.

Speaking of Uniforms, CINTAS Uniform Points Balance do not Roll over
As a reminder, uniform point balances do not roll over to the next calendar year. For Flight Attendants to get full use of your annual uniform points allocation, any remaining uniform points must be used before the end of the calendar year.

Questions? Contact Cintas Customer Service Team by telephone at: 1- 800-889-0331 or access the
Cintas website.

Get the Word Out – Annual Enrollment for Active Employees Takes Place in November!

We want to get the word out that our Annual Benefits Open Enrollment for active employees will open on November 1, 2021, while Annual Benefits Enrollment for retirees will take place in October.  We have been advised that this is a change to the process that will continue beyond 2021.

Annual Enrollment Period for Active Employees:


November 1, 2021


November 19, 2021

The schedule for active employee enrollment has been adjusted to provide opportunities to allow employees to compare the plans of your spouse/domestic partner who may have benefit enrollment periods that begin later in the year at their companies.

Annual Open Enrollment Period for Retirees


October 11, 2021


October 29, 2021

In the coming weeks we can expect that United will share details on our 2022 benefits which will include educational materials and other support resources to assist us in not only making selections but to increase our understanding of the benefit program changes that will be implemented this year.

What’s New this year?

  • New easier to compare plan options
  • New quality-based networks
  • New programs and tools to support employees in the benefits selection process.
  • Continued emphasis on improving overall health as a means to decrease overall costs.

It is critical that each of us understands the benefit options available in order to make informed decisions about your 2022 coverage.  To facilitate understanding, we will also be seeing the following in the weeks ahead:

  • Printed Materials will be sent to our homes with an overview of 2022 benefits designed to support selection of the plan that is right for our individual circumstance as well as a checklist of the items we need to complete during annual enrollment. 
  • Website dedicated to 2022 benefits education that has been designed to be easy to navigate.
  • “Lunch and Learn” sessions that will focus on specific topics to increase understanding of our 2022 plan options. The plan is for there to be many times as well as recorded sessions to be made available for viewing.
  • Virtual interactive presentations where experts will share their views on what to expect for 2022 with opportunities for us to ask questions. 

What is different this year is that there will not be in-person Annual Enrollment fairs in the bases which will make it possible for additional support in other ways to supplement and improve our understanding.

In addition, if you haven’t already done so, you may want to consider setting up in advance access to the Alight Mobile app.  This will allow you to access your United benefits from the convenience of your smartphone using your Flying Together credentials. 

Also, consider electing to receive text messages from the United Airlines Benefits Center to ensure you receive timely reminders about important topics during annual enrollment.

The International Override Applies to Flying Outside the Continental U.S. and Canada

Section 4.J. of our Contract stipulates eligibility for the International Override and how it applies; that is to pairings flown to/from destinations outside the continental United States and Canada.   Examples of flying to which this override applies includes the destinations of Alaska, Hawaii, and Mexico.  The hourly override for this flying is $2.00/hour, prorated for each block hour flown and all credited time except sick/occupation leave and vacation.

Payment of the International override does not compel the application of the International duty and rest legalities on these segments, nor does it change the definition of Domestic flying as set forth in Section 2.G. of our Contract.  

In a circumstance where a pairing with mixed flying contains a Domestic segment on one or both ends of an International segment, that is considered an International pairing for the application of International override and per diem.   This is a specific exception to where the international override is applied.

Please contact your Local Council for further information.

Third (3rd) Trimester CBT Due by October 30


The Third Trimester CBT is now available and is required for completion by October 30, 2021.  

This CBT session can be accessed by logging into TakeOff Learning and select Continuing Qualifications (CQ) 2021 Trimester 3.

The required CBT sessions can be completed all at once or broken up into smaller portions to accommodate each Flight Attendant’s unique learning style or scheduling constraints and can be accessed from a variety of devices including your Link, laptop, or desktop computer. 

Regardless of the method you chose to complete the assigned modules, we recommend you keep a record of the work you have completed by taking a photo or a screen shot of your completed training or modules.

In the event you experience a technical difficulty that consequently causes a loss of completed work, a screen shot of your completion level can be used to assist the Help Desk in resolving any issues.

Also, as provided for in Section 11.B.2. of our Contract, Flight Attendants will be compensated at one (1:00) hour flight 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.

Reference the Frequently Asked Questions brochure for more information regarding CQ 2021 and the third trimester CBT.

Apple issues urgent iPhone software update to address critical spyware vulnerability

Apple has updated its software for iPhones to address a critical vulnerability that independent researchers say has been exploited by notorious surveillance software.  This vulnerability has the potential to allow hackers to infiltrate a user's phone without the user clicking on any links.

Urgent Update was released on September 14, 2021, and we are encouraging everyone using a personal iPhone to consider downloading the system update to protect your personal information on your personal phone.

Be advised, as with any software update, United must first ensure that any update will not adversely impact the operation of our Link devices before we are able to install the update. We are advised that Inflight management is working with United’s Cyber Security team on this item and will advise Flight Attendants as soon as possible of next steps.


Reminders and Dates:
Sep 17 – Bidding Closes
Sep 27 – Last Day to Receive the J & J Vaccine
Sep 27 – Vaccination Record Becomes Required Duty Item for All Flight Attendants




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