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System Board Decision MEC 5-18 – United Premium Plus (UPP) Seating

Date: April 1, 2022

MEC 5-18 was filed when, after the company introduced a premium economy product, they failed to book deadheading Flight Attendants, as required in Section 3.I.8. of our Contract, in “premium economy." The question presented before the System Board of Adjustment was “Whether the Company’s action of first booking deadheading Flight Attendants in Economy Plus versus United Premium Plus (UPP) violates Section 3.I. and 3.I.8.”

While Section 3.I.8 of our Contract does state, in part, “…flight attendants will be booked in premium economy,” the Arbitrator ruled that UPP was an entirely new class of service that came into place after the language in the Contract had been negotiated.  In the Arbitrator’s view, neither side was aware that a new class of service was going to be introduced and this created a “gap” in the Contract language. 

Despite the fact that the Union attempted to secure language that would have guaranteed the “highest level” or “best” seat available for Flight Attendants, there was no understanding that any seat higher than Economy Plus would be provided.  The System Board cannot impose obligation or responsibilities on either party that is over or beyond what was agreed to in the Contract.

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