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The Challenge of Obtaining Crew Meals during Irregular Operations

Date: January 5, 2023

Given the longer length of the duty day in many pairings, our MEC Central Schedule Committee (CSC) has highlighted to management the increasing number of pairings scheduled with sits having a length are being impacted by irregular operations sometimes making it challenging to obtain a Crew Meal. Increased taxi times and/or increased flight time per segment are extending the operation of the flights such that the time between segments is reduced in the operation.  As a result, Flight Attendants no longer have an opportunity to secure food.

While some of the pairings, as scheduled, are technically “legal,” if things don’t go perfectly, they may not provide Flight Attendants with the opportunity to secure nourishment to support them during the lengthy duty day.

We’ve previously received direction on this: Flight Attendants should/can contact Base management to arrange for a crew meal to be delivered planeside. In this specific example, Flight Attendants would contact Base Management who should arrange for a crew meal to be boarded.

If the Flight Attendant is at a location where they are unable to contact base/domicile management, then they should contact the station operation center and if need be, by requesting the pilots for assistance in contacting the operations center on their radio.

At the end of the day, everyone should work together to take care of our basic need for nourishment.  Often our pilots are gracious and offer to get something from the terminal when regular channels aren’t available. But in those circumstances where we are faced with supporting the operation or caring for ourselves, and crew meals are not readily available, at a minimum, it is reasonable for local management to offer to obtain food from the terminal and bring it to the Flight Attendants. Eating is a necessity, not a privilege, that ensures the continued safe operation of the flights to which we are assigned.

As a reminder, Section 5.A.3 of the Joint Collective Bargaining Agreement (JCBA) governs crew meals.  A previous article on the application can be found on our website.

If you have additional questions, please contact your Local Council office.

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