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Early Boarding, Your Reports Matter

Date: October 4, 2022

Early boarding is not only a contractual violation it is also a safety risk. When boarding begins ahead of the contractually agreed upon time Flight Attendants may be interrupted while performing their safety duties and pre-flight checks or not be present at the boarding door when passengers cross the threshold.

Having the ability to complete safety checks and a crew briefing, without passengers actively boarding, reduces the potential for mistakes made while rushing or being distracted when addressing a customer’s needs.

Our Contract provides mutually agreed upon boarding times deemed adequate by AFA and management. Section 6.R.2 of our Contract outlines agreed upon Flight Attendants check-in times, based on each aircraft type. As a reminder- Check-in is not scanning in at the gate. Scanning in of your company ID should only be done when actively boarding the plane not while waiting in advance of boarding. This ensures the FAA minimum crew is on the aircraft prior to customer boarding and avoids any last minute confusion over any missing crew.

Passenger Boarding:

B737-700 & A319/320

International and Domestic

B737 800-900 Max

International and Domestic


Including B757-200-300

:35 Before Departure

:40 Before Departure

:50 Before Departure


Our role as Flight Attendants is passenger safety and service. We are obligated to comply with all Federal Air Regulations to ensure the safety of passengers in our care. By regulation, we have an obligation to ensure the FAA Minimum Flight Attendant crew complement in on the aircraft for customer boarding. Ours is a commitment to safety – in all things, at all times.

There should be no circumstances where Flight Attendants are ever pressured into boarding a flight early or in the absence of the FAA minimum crew complement.  

While there may be unusual and very limited circumstances where additional time may be required for boarding (i.e. large number of customers with disabilities requiring wheelchair assistance, etc.), you are not required to board (nor should you) without the full FAA complement. In an unusual instance where additional time is needed to board in order to accommodate the special needs of customers, you should not be pressured to board nor should we unreasonably withhold our concurrence to do so provided we have met all of our safety responsibilities.

  • If you find yourself in a situation where you are being pressured to board early, consider first trying to resolve the issue with the employee(s) from whom you are feeling the pressure. 


  • If you are unable to do so, as we always do, reach out to Employee Assistance/Professional Standards in order to avoid involving management in the situation. 

  • If you find yourself in situations where you are repeatedly asked to board early, we ask that you provide information to your Local Council to ensure AFA is aware and that steps can be taken to address the issue.

Your reports help your Local Council to monitor early boarding instances and advocate for Contractual boarding time compliance. Click here to file a LEC Worksheet or contact your Local Council for more information.


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