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AFA Debrief: January 18, 2022

Date: January 18, 2022

Flight Disruptions Due to 5G Safety Concerns

You’ve likely heard about the potential of disruptions to air travel in late December as AT&T and Verizon were cleared by FCC to turn on their 5G spectrum networks on January 5th. The problem is the potential interference with aircraft instrumentation that is used for navigation, especially in low visibility situations. Some of these instruments may be tied to other safety systems as well. 


AFA worked with ALPA,Transportation and Infrastructure Chair DeFazio, FAA, DOT, manufacturers, and our airline to put in place a temporary solution of 2 weeks delayed implementation. This would then be followed by a six month full review of safetyat50 airports,while a review of aircraft and their unique systems also continue to be evaluated.


Today, we hit the end of that two week period and telecoms have only so far addressed about 45% of the concerns identified by the FAA. Throughout the course of the day, our Union has worked diligently to prevent the disruptions. This afternoon, AT&T and Verizon agreed to delay 5G implementation near some airports. This is helpful, but the late-breaking agreement means operational disruptions, especially in low visibility situations, over the next few days are still likely. We continue to advocate for a permanent solution that supports both industries but unequivocally remains focused on the safety of flight, Flight Attendants and the passengers in our care.


U.S. telecommunication companies are not regulated here as they are in other countries. As Chairman DeFazio has stated repeatedly, "nearly every other country that has deployed 5G has imposed some level of restrictions on its use to protect against harmful interference with aircraft.  These include reducing the power levels of 5G transmissions, requiring more extensive exclusion zones at airports, ensuring 5G operates at a farther distance from the aviation frequency band or limiting the directional tilt of certain 5G broadband antennas, among other things."


We will be working through the night and will update you as additional information becomes available.


Advance Vacation Fly Through involving January Vacations Overlapping into February

As a reminder, Advance Vacation Fly Through Requests must be received by the fifth (5th day of the calendar month prior to the month in which vacation is scheduled. For vacation periods that started in January (and overlapped into February), those vacation fly through requests were to have been submitted no later than December 5th. In other words, if you have a vacation that started in January that overlaps into February, unless you advised the company by December 5th of your intent to fly through your vacation, you may now only elect an operational fly through.


There are two types of Vacation Fly Through. For purposes of this publication,we will refer to the two types as Advance Notice Fly Through & Operational Fly Through.


Advance Notice Fly Through requires notice to the company of your intent to fly through a vacation period in a future month. In order to avail yourself of this opportunity, you must advise the company no later than 10:00AM (HDT) on the fifth (5th) day of the calendar month prior to the month in which the vacation is scheduled. For example, to fly through a July vacation, you must notify the company no later than 10:00AM (HDT) on June 5th.


Lineholders choosing to fly through a vacation period and who notify the company prior to the fifth (5th) day of the month are obligated to fly any and all pairings that fall within the designated vacation period unless their schedule is altered through the process of trading or dropping the scheduled pairings within the vacation period. Flight Attendants opting in advance to fly though their vacation currently has no restrictions when picking-up trips; the trips may be picked up from Open Time, from other Flight Attendants (advertisements) or mutually traded.


Operational Fly Through occurs when a Flight Attendant elects to fly through her/his vacation after schedules for a given month have been awarded and even during the current schedule month. When utilizing the “Operational” Fly Through option, picking-up trips within the vacation period  is limited to pick-up from other Flight Attendants, not open time, unless otherwise permitted by the company.


A Reserve who chooses to fly during her/his scheduled vacation period shall be paid the value of each vacation day (3:15) in addition to the greater value of either their Reserve guarantee or hours flown. Reserve Flight Attendants considering electing a vacation fly through option should review the following AFA article on Reserve vacation fly through.


Additional information on Vacation Fly Through, including step-by-step instruction on how to submit a request, may reference the 2022Vacation Guide which is available on our website, unitedafa.org.

Making up PTO and Picking up from Open Time during Operational Vacation Fly Through

During periods when coverage is tight, Crew Scheduling has at its disposal a number of Contractual alternatives to increase availability of Flight Attendants that they can use at their discretion.


Section 7.AA.3. provides Flight time lost due to Personal Time Off may be made up during the month taken if authorized by Inflight Scheduling.


Section12.I.4. provides the Company with the discretion to permit Flight Attendants on an operational vacation fly through to pick up flying from open time.


Both of these provisions are at the discretion of crew scheduling during periods where coverage is a challenge.  Most recently they  were used by crew scheduling, on an exceptional basis, through the period ending January 14, 2022. At the current time these provisions are not available, unless otherwise declared by the company.

$1,000 Special Award Payment Checks for those Active on 12/31/2021

As we reported in our November 16, 2021 edition of Debrief, Flight Attendants who were not active as of November 10, 2021 were not eligible to receive the Special Award Payment on November 19, 2021.  However, if they returned to active service and were active as of December 31, 2021, they did become eligible for the Special Award payment that will be made in January 2022.  


We are told work is underway to identify all individuals eligible to receive this payment which is expected to be made as soon as possible but no later than January 31, 2022.  In the event there are any individuals based in LHR, the Special Award payment will be included as part of the 2/1/2022 regular on-cycle pay check.

Regular Meeting of the United Master Executive Council – January25-27, 2022

The Winter 2022 Regular Meeting of the United Master Executive Council (MEC) is scheduled to take place Tuesday, January25-27, 2022, at the Hyatt Rosemont, 6350 N. River Rd, Rosemont, IL 60018. 

Your Local Council President, joined by the other Local Council Presidents from around our system, will address the business of our Union and the issues that are important to the Membership.

We encourage each Member to witness our democratic process by attending your Local Council Meetings and joining us for the MEC Winter Regular Meeting if you are in the Chicago area while we are in session. As a reminder, Covid-19 safety protocols will be enforced.

For additional information and the Meeting Agenda visit unitedafa.org.

Base Transfers Awarded Effective March 1, 2022

Base transfers effective for the March 2022 schedule month were awarded to six bases:


















Flight Attendants must accept these transfers in CCS which become effective as of March 2, 2022.

First Trimester CBT Completion - Due January 29, 2022

As a reminder, the first Trimester CQ CBT is due no later than January 29, 2022,at 2359 CT. This CBT session is anticipated to take at least three (3) hours to complete. Once completed, we suggest that you take a screen shot of your completed CBT.

Reserve Timeline for the February 2022 Bidding Month

If awarded or assigned a Reserve line for the February bid month, there are various scheduling request deadlines and processes that occur during the period between bid awards and through the first week of the new month.


While some of these events occur on the same calendar days each month, there are a few that are based on when the new Flight Attendant bid month begins, which may vary from month to month.


For your convenience, we have compiled a Reserve bid month timeline detailing these items in both calendar and list formats.

For more information, please contact your Local Council office.


Flight Attendant W-2s Available no Later than January 31, 2022

As we indicated in our December 10, 2021 edition of Debrief, December 31, 2021 was the last day to elect to receive 2021 W-2 forms electronically.  The forms will be released no later than January 31, 2022,as required by law. 


Flight Attendants who signed up to receive electronic W-2s will receive an email notification from ADP or HR Communications when your tax forms are available. Flight Attendants electing to receive paper statements will receive their W-2 at your home mailing address as indicated in FlyingTogether > Employee Services > My Info > Personal Details tile.



JAN 25 – Winter 2022 Regular MEC Meeting
JAN 26 – Winter 2022 Regular MEC Meeting
JAN 27 – Winter 2022 Regular MEC Meeting
JAN 29 – Winter Trimester CQ CBT Due
JAN 31 – Union Plus Scholarship Application Due


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