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“Checking-in” Reference Continues to Cause Confusion

Date: May 17, 2022

Over the course of the past few weeks, based on conversations with Members, we’ve come to recognize that various references to the term “checking-in” have created confusion as it pertains to our responsibilities. 

This is particularly the case as the term “checking-in” has been applied to different activities occurring at the gate at the start of a duty period or prior to departure of a flight. In a point of fact, “check-in” has become confused with three distinctly different activities that occur at the departure gate:

Check-in is the contractual process that applies when we report for duty.

Consistent with the terms of our Contract, Flight Attendants are required to be at the departure gate at the designated check-in time for a given flight. At that time, the Flight Attendant filling the purser position on the flight should confirm that all Members of the crew are present. In the event any Member of the crew is missing, the purser is obligated to notify Crew Scheduling that a member of the crew is not present at check-in. If, in fact, the purser is missing, it is the obligation of the most senior Member of the crew to advise Crew Scheduling that the Purser is not present. This communication allows Crew Scheduling to prepare to timely provide a replacement crew member in the event any Member of the crew is unavailable. In fact, this is the exclusive method by which Crew Scheduling receives information that a member of the crew is missing at the designated check-in time and provides the lead time to position a replacement.

Letting the agent at the gate know we are available to board the aircraft is the professional courtesy we extend to our colleagues in Airport Operations to support our overall corporate on-time initiatives. It’s the way we establish rapport with ground staff and set the overall working together tone by which we will work during the customer boarding process.  Airport Operations personnel have no role in the Flight Attendant check-in process or reporting missing crew members at check-in time.

Scanning on (and off) the aircraft is the process whereby badges are verified at the departure gate and “scanned” into the system for the exclusive purpose of verifying that the FAA minimum crew complement is onboard the aircraft prior to the start of passenger boarding. It is for this reason that Flight Attendants should only scan their badges immediately prior to boarding the aircraft, not before. This system is the established safeguard to avoid an inadvertent violation of a FAR – boarding without the FAA minimum present on the aircraft.

The process of scanning on and off is not connected to our reporting for work. These systems are not connected to Crew Scheduling and are used only for the purpose of ensuring the required complement of Flight Attendants are on the aircraft for passenger boarding.

As a further clarification, in those instances where a crew works the inbound segment of a flight on the aircraft that will be used for their next outbound flight segment, Airport Operations personnel will come to the aircraft to verify the required crew is on the aircraft prior to passenger boarding and will check badges during that process.

If you have additional questions on the processes occurring at the gate, please contact your Local Council office for assistance.

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