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Continue to Report Early Boarding

Date: January 12, 2023

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.

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