Home > News > AFA DEBRIEF: September 17, 2021

AFA DEBRIEF: September 17, 2021

Date: September 17, 2021

  • Documenting Incidents as Safety Professionals
  • October Special COLA Awards
  • Apple iPhone Software to Address Critical Vulnerability and United’s Link Updates
  • AFA Celebrates Hispanic-Latinx Heritage Month - September 15 – October 15
  • Hispanic-Latinx Heritage Month – Featuring Justice Sonia Sotomayor

Documenting Incidents as Safety Professionals

As safety professionals Flight Attendants act daily to uphold and support the safety of both passengers and crew. An important aspect of our role as safety professionals is officially reporting any unusual or unsafe instances on board the aircraft which we accomplish by completing Irregular Operations Reports (IOR) and/or Inflight Safety Action Program (ISAP) reports.

When writing an IOR/ISAP, your comments are more powerful when you clearly identify the “who, what, where when and why” in a concise and professional manner. There is a difference between writing a report intended to vent frustrations and writing one to effectively communicate the problem(s) encountered.  Effective communication is essential in driving the changes we may collectively seek in our workplace.

For your reporting to be effective and reflect well on you as a professional, it is equally important that you not provide extraneous detail and/or irrelevant information. The simple facts make the best reports. There is no reason to add lengthy descriptions or background information. In fact, too many asides can cloud the issue and get in the way of finding solutions. You need only clearly identify “who, what, where, when, and why.”  When writing reports, less really is more.

We recommend that you file your report(s) after the situation is resolved and only once you have had the opportunity to step back from any situation that might be emotionally charged. Give yourself the time to collect your thoughts and let the adrenalin levels in your body subside. Compose your report with clear facts from a non-emotional perspective in order to capture the detailed, essential facts, and nothing more. While we are all aware of the time frames in which reporting must be accomplished, there is plenty of time to compose a thoughtful and complete record of the events that could help drive safety improvements.

Finally, once you have compiled your report, take the time to review what you’ve put together before you hit the submit button.  You may also reach out to your local AFA Safety Committee for guidance before clicking send if you wish. These steps will ensure the report you submit contains enough information to keep others safe in the future but not too much passion or detail to confound the issue.

October Special COLA Awards

In preparation for the award of system schedules for October 2021, management announced the award of a very limited number of 1-month Special COLAS. Those awarded the 1-month October Special COLA should have received a CCS message advising of the award. Keep in mind these one-month awards are in addition to the multi-month awards that included October 2021 that have previously been awarded. As a result, there may be Flight Attendants who were junior to you awarded an October Special COLA because of having taken a multi-month award that included the October schedule month.

Given the company’s need to start the schedule award process based on the timeline outlined in the contract, Special COLA requests on file were reviewed and used as the basis for this most recent award which was accomplished in seniority order until they encountered the first Flight Attendant at the location not having vaccination documentation on file. At that point in the award, the company stopped so a1s to avoid any seniority violations in these awards. After the effective date, September 27, 2021, the company will again review Special COLA requests on file using the original request list. Additional requests will be awarded, subject to the needs of service, in seniority order among those Flight Attendants qualified for the Special COLA. Anyone who added their name to the Special COLA request list after the bid closing, will be added to the bottom of the list and awarded in first-come, first-served order.

To be clear, those who have not uploaded their vaccine documentation into United systems by September 27, 2021, will be considered non-qualified and will be ineligible to be awarded a Special COLA. Information on the initial Special COLA awards is as follows:


System Seniority


Seniority Date of Most

Junior Award








None Awarded





None Awarded











None Awarded




















None Awarded










Apple iPhone Software to Address Critical Vulnerability and United’s Link Updates

As mentioned earlier this week in our Debrief newsletter, 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.

The 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.

Also, the company has announced that we can now update our Link’s operating system to iOS 14.8.   As always, before updating, ensure you have the latest compatible apps. If you do not have the current version of the apps, simply download them from the United App Store as this is a crucial step to ensure a successful update.

For questions, please contact the Link Support Team at (800) 255-5801, option 1, option 2, or see the Link staff at your base.

AFA Celebrates Hispanic-Latinx Heritage Month - September 15 – October 15

The AFA-CWA Executive Board unanimously adopted a resolution recognizing September 15 – October 15 as Hispanic-Latinx Heritage Month. This is an annual observance recognizing the contributions and influence of Hispanic-Latinx Americans to the history, culture, and achievements of the United States and now, more specifically, to AFA.

We encourage all Flight Attendants to participate in activities in support of Hispanic-Latinx Heritage Month and to support Hispanic-Latinx Flight Attendants wherever possible. Some scheduled events and activities can be found at the Hispanic Heritage Month website https://www.hispanicheritagemonth.gov/

The AFA-CWA intends to design a pin to recognize Hispanic-Latinx Heritage Month and expects this pin to be available in 2022.

All members are encouraged to join our union’s celebration of Hispanic-Latinx History.

Hispanic-Latinx Heritage Month – Featuring Justice Sonia Sotomayor

When President Obama nominated federal judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court in 2009, many Americans welcomed the appointment as a historic milestone; she is the first Hispanic American to serve on the high court. Her colleagues on the federal bench praised her as “a role model of aspiration, discipline… and integrity.”

Born to Puerto Rican parents in New York City, Sonia Sotomayor grew up in a housing project in the Bronx. At age eight, she was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, requiring daily insulin injections. Her father died the following year, leaving her mother to raise her and her brother alone. Young Sonia found solace in reading, and at age ten, decided that she would be an attorney. Sotomayor graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University and earned her law degree at Yale Law School.

As an assistant district attorney in New York City, she earned a reputation as a fearless prosecutor of violent crimes. She was still in her thirties when President George H.W. Bush appointed her to the federal bench for the Southern District of New York. Of the 450 cases she heard, one of her most famous rulings ended the major league baseball strike, just in time for opening day. Appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals by President Clinton, she heard more than 3,00 cases and wrote roughly 380 opinions.  Today, she is the only sitting Justice with experience as a trial judge and brought more federal judicial experience to the Supreme Court than any appointee in one hundred years.

For more information about Justice Sotomayor visit the Academy of Achievement Sonia Sotomayor | Academy of Achievement or read one of the books she has published https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/authors/130766/sonia-sotomayor/

Reminders and Dates:

Sep 15 – October 15 Hispanic-Latinx Heritage Month

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

October – Breast Cancer Awareness Month


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