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AFA Debrief: January 12, 2023

Date: January 12, 2023

AFA Debrief – January 12, 2023

  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – January 16 US Federal Holiday
  • Base Transfers for March 2023 Awarded - Effective 3/2/2023
  • Continue to Report Early Boarding
  • Vacation Buy Back & 401(k) Deferral Payments - First Quarter of 2023
  • AFA Welcomes Class 2245!
  • Join United Pilots at Informational Picketing January 18!

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – January 16 US Federal Holiday

January 16, 2023 is a United States Federal holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., as a leader, a pioneer for diversity, and an advocate for labor. Dr. King not only promoted workers’ rights as human rights but also insisted that equality must include an equal voice. 

In our country, many have struggled to be included in the promise of our nation during these unjust times where many were excluded. Recent events in communities across our nation have unveiled how discrimination, inequality, and lack of justice are still prevalent.

Dr. King’s legacy is a model for overcoming great challenges by building a movement for change through the power of the collective. In addition to being a heroic champion for civil rights, Dr. King fought diligently for decent wages, fair working conditions, health and welfare measures, and respect for the individual. By recognizing social and economic justice as one and the same, Dr. King understood the immense power working people have when they come together. He saw union representation as the clearest path out of poverty and into the middle class and fought for the rights of all people to have good jobs and a voice at work.

On this anniversary of Dr. King’s death, we carry forward his legacy and continue working toward his dream of a fairer and more just society.  AFA continues seeking to honor Dr. King every day by promoting collective bargaining and remaining resolute in demanding equality for all. 

Base Transfers for March 2023 Awarded - Effective 3/2/2023

Transfers have been processed for the March 2023 bid month and will be effective 3/2/2023.

Flight attendants can now see awarded transfer requests in CCS under the Transfer tab. This may not be the final list of transfers awarded. Flight Attendants must accept the transfer award in CCS before the acceptance deadline in order for the transfer to be effective.

Continue to Report Early Boarding

When passenger boarding begins earlier than the established passenger boarding time, the result is a reduction in the time between our contractual check-in and passenger boarding which has been designed to provide Flight Attendants with the ability to complete pre-flight safety checks and other safety duties required by Federal Regulations. The unanticipated early boarding of passengers has the potential to distract or interrupt Flight Attendants in the performance of their safety duties and pre-flight checks. This may also unintentionally create an adverse perception for passengers when we are not in position at the boarding door of the aircraft as boarding begins.

Having the ability to complete safety checks and a crew safety briefing, without passengers actively boarding, reduces the potential for mistakes that might otherwise be made while rushing or being distracted when called upon to assist in meeting a customer’s needs.

Our Contract provides for the mutually agreed upon Commencement of Duty or Flight Attendant check-in times based on each aircraft type (Section 6.R.2.) Customer boarding times have also been established based upon an allowance of time for Flight Attendants to complete their safety checks after boarding the aircraft.

As a reminder, our check-in times are published in the bid packet for each schedule month and are met by reporting to the designated location, generally the departure gate, assigned for the flight. Check-in does not involve scanning in at the gate with the CSR. Scanning in of your company ID should only be done immediately prior to actively boarding the plane as a way to ensure FAA minimum crew is onboard the aircraft prior to customer boarding. This Standard Operating Procedure was put into place to avoid any confusion over any missing crew. Guidance on passenger boarding is provided in Policies and Procedures and is affected by the availability of the aircraft.

Passenger Boarding:

As Flight Attendants, our primary role is to ensure passenger safety. 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 is 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.

Vacation Buy Back & 401(k) Deferral Payments - First Quarter of 2023

Flight Attendants who elected to participate in the Annual Vacation Buy Back option during the 2023 election window can expect the payout for the buyback hours in the first quarter of the affected year, typically in the month of February. This also applies for those vacation hours deferred to the 401(k). Specifically, payment(s) will appear on the first pay check in February.

As set forth in the language of Section 12.D. of our Contract, Vacation Buy Back requires the company to offer an option for Flight Attendants to take pay in lieu of accrued vacation that would otherwise be used in the next Scheduled Vacation year. In this process, the Flight Attendant must opt to “sell” at least six (6) days of accrued vacation. Flight Attendants will be paid the value of the days sold back plus an incentive payment provide the proper notification during the Election period that occurs prior to annual Vacation Bidding.

As a reminder, the Buy Back earnings are subject to all applicable income tax withholding. Additional information, including a previous news article on how to calculate the amount of vacation payment can be found on unitedafa.org.

AFA Welcomes Class 2245!

Last week, AFA welcomed class 2245! 

Class 2245 will begin their careers at our Chicago, Denver, Houston, Newark and Washington D.C. Domiciles. We look forward to welcoming our flying partners to the line as they begin their new careers!

As a reminder, when a probationary Flight Attendant has questions about our Contract and work rules, please direct them to their Local Council for assistance. We want to ensure they are receiving the most accurate and vetted information as we work in supporting them for our collective future success.

Join United Pilots at Informational Picketing January 18 in SFO!

Wednesday, January 18, United Pilots, represented by ALPA, will be conducting Informational Picketing to raise awareness on the need to complete bargaining for a long overdue contract.

This Informational Picketing will take place at SFO from 0930-1315 PST.

United Flight Attendants stand shoulder to shoulder with United Pilots. When we support each other, we raise the bar for everyone.

We are unified in our resolve for all workers at United Airlines to reach new contracts! All in, We Win! Show management that Labor supports Labor at United Airlines!

Click here for more details and to register for this event!

If you are in SFO and are able to attend this event, we encourage your participation.


JAN 16 – Martin Luther King Jr. Day – U.S. Federal Holiday
JAN 17 – United MEC Regular Meeting, Hyatt Rosemont, IL
JAN 18 – United MEC Regular Meeting, Hyatt Rosemont, IL
JAN 18 – United Pilots Informational Picketing Event - SFO
JAN 22 – Lunar New Year
JAN 29 – CQ 2022p1 Winter Trimester CBT DUE by 2359 Central Standard Time
JAN 31 – Union Plus Scholarship Application Deadline


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