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Flight Attendant Layover Accommodations for COVID-19 FAQ

Current as of 3/27/2020


As we continue to navigate the challenges with which we are presented as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re faced not only with issues affecting our business, but we are also affected by disruptions in the businesses with whom we interact during the course of our workday. In particular, the business at layover hotels is changing rapidly. 


For our understanding, during the month of April, on a systemwide basis almost 42% of the flying is 1-day or turn flying. That is almost a 10% increase over the same month last year.  There has been a reduction in the number of 2, 3 & 4 day pairings on a systemwide basis as well where the average length of layovers has been reduced by :13 minutes.  The statistics are important because they directly impact our work life.  These statistics tell the story about not only where we layover but if there are layovers scheduled at all.


We understand you have questions about the safety of our layover hotels and the actions these hotel vendors are taking to ensure you have a safe and comfortable stay.  Your MEC Hotel & Transportation Committee has been engaged with the Hotel Desk, Corporate Procurement and ALPA to ensure that we are best leveraging our influence to enforce the terms of our Contract and ensure our overall safety concerns are addressed.


Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, preventative actions are being implemented by federal, state and local governments resulting in an impact to some of our crew hotels. In an effort to ensure you have a safe hotel with food options, there may be changes to your layover hotel and transportation.  The following is a list of frequently asked questions. 


Q. Why has my regularly scheduled crew hotel changed?

A.United continues to use its regularly scheduled crew hotels. However, because of the current coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, hotel occupancy rates have dropped to 90% or worse. As a result, many hotels have temporarily closed their doors to overnight guests. When one of these hotels close, we use other hotels in our United inventory when available. If none of these hotels are available, we will do all possible to select hotels that maintain our expected level of service. 


Q. Will my crew hotel have its regular amenities?

A.Because of low occupancy, hotels are laying off many of their housekeepers, bellhops, valets, food service and other workers and closing concierge lounges. Further, government mandates or restrictions and enhanced hygiene requirements resulting from COVID-19 are impacting operations of hotel restaurants, bars and fitness facilities. As a result, the availability of regular amenities is likely to be affected, such as temporarily closing fitness facilities. United requires its hotel partners to still offer food options. Check with the hotel front desk for the options available at your hotel.


Q. What food options will be available at my hotel?

A.Limited staffing and government mandates or restrictions resulting from COVID-19 are impacting operations of hotel restaurants, bars and room service. United requires its hotel partners to continue offering food options. United’s preference is for hotels to continue offering standard restaurant and room service options. However, where this is not possible, food options may include limited menus, to-go, and self-service markets with items such as prepared salads and sandwiches. Check with the hotel front desk for the options available at your hotel.


In some locations we fly to, crew hotel meal accommodations or government restrictions are very specific. In these few instances, we have posted details via IFR messages. It is recommended to also read through those messages if you receive or see them posted.


Q. Will room service be available?

A.The availability of room service depends on government regulation, as well as the hotel’s operating plan. Room service may not be available. Some hotels continue to offer room service or have grab-and-go items that they will deliver to your room. Check with the hotel front desk for the options available at your hotel.


Q. Will full menus be available?

A.Due to government regulations, and potential supplier and delivery challenges, some hotels have had to modify their normal offerings. Full menus may not be available. Other limited food options such as to-go, or self-service markets are available. Check with the hotel front desk for the options available at your hotel.


Q. Will I still have tea and coffee facilities in my guest room?

A.Some hotels have removed in-room tea and coffee facilities as a result of removing items that require additional cleaning. If you do not have a machine in your room, check with the hotel front desk to see if one can be provided.


Q. What changes can I expect in my guest room?

A.Many hotels have made the decision to remove items that need to be washed from the guest room.  Items such as glassware and coffee makers may not be provided.  If you want any of these items, check with the hotel front desk to see if they can be delivered to your room.  Many non-essential amenities including magazines, decorative pillows, bed throws, flowers, pens, and paper have been removed to minimize potential areas of exposure and focus cleaning on essentials.


Q. Will my hotel room be cleaned during my stay?

A.Many hotels have made the decision to not enter guest rooms for cleaning during your stay. Please check with the front desk upon arrival to determine that specific hotel’s plan.  If you have a preference about having your room cleaned, please communicate that preference to the front desk on arrival. If your hotel does not plan to clean your room during your stay, but you need additional amenity items (e.g., towels, shampoo, etc.), simply call the front desk with your request. It is recommended that you continue to use your “do not disturb” sign, as applicable.


Q. How are hotels sanitizing public areas and hotel rooms?

A.Most hotels have increased frequency of cleaning high-traffic public spaces. They also are enforcing cleaning protocols including the use of Personal Protective Equipment as required and vigilance with personal hygiene (i.e., regular hand washing and use of hand sanitizer). There is increased attention on surface disinfecting of touch points such as light switches, remote controls, door handles, telephones, etc.  In guest rooms, many hotels have eliminated non-disposable in-room glassware, in-room coffee pots, unwrapped food snack items, and many other non-essential amenities (e.g., magazines, decorative pillows, bed throws, non-fixed desktop items, etc.).


Pay Questions and Answers

Q: What is Minimum and Guarantee?


  • Section 4.C. of the Contract provides a Flight Attendant awarded a line with less than 71 hours original flight time projection will be pay protected up to seventy-one (71) hours.
  • If a Flight Attendant’s vacation period results in her/him being projected under her/his line/minimum guarantee for the month, her/his guarantee (minimum) shall be adjusted to the new projection.  That is, when your vacation drops pairings having a value greater than your vacation, your minimum will be reduced by the difference in the values. 
  • Your minimum never increases.  Your minimum will decrease when trading for lower value trips or when you give pairings away through advertisements or otherwise. 
  • In the event an end-of-month conflict causes a Flight Attendant to lose pay and flight time credit, the Flight Attendant will be guaranteed a minimum of 71 hours.

Line Guarantee

  • Your monthly guarantee will reflect the sum of the value of the pairings in her/his original or adjusted line of flying.  Pay protection is provided for all pairings by guaranteeing the dollar value of hourly flight pay and guaranteed overrides.
  • Your monthly Guarantee will reflect your scheduled flight hours and will change during the month based on activity (i.e. trades, reassignments, restoration of days off (ROD), personal time off (PTO), Personal Drops (PDs) pairing picked-up, carry-ins from the prior month, drafting, etc.).
  • Trip drops, End of Month (EOM) conflicts, missed trips (MT), trading pairing for those of lower value would decrease your Guarantee. 

  The minimum monthly guarantee included your Purser, International Purser, and Language Qualified overrides.  

Our Contractual pay protections provide that we are paid the greater of our minimum or guarantee.

Q: How is my 1stof the month paycheck calculated?
A: The 1st of the month paycheck is referred to as a Flight Advance. You will receive 70% of your base pay which is your minimum pay protection of 71:00). 

Your Flight Advance is calculated using your flight time credit plus any hours posted in Add Pay (Base Rates) section of the Pay Register by the 20th of the month (or 1-2 business days prior if the 20th falls on a holiday). 

Your flight advance is paid on the 1st of the following month as shown on your Pay Register and will also appear on your 1st of the month Pay Advice unless the first is a weekend day at which time the company will fund the first of the month advance of the business day immediately prior to the first of the month. 

Examples of Add Pay hours displayed in your Add Pay (Base Rate) include: Drafting Pay (3:00 hours), Domestic Operational Reliability Incentive (5:00 hours), Vacation Pay Out (VCPO) or Vacation Fly Through (VFLY) etc. 

Depending on the number of projected hours you have for the month as of the 20th of the month, you will receive a Flight Advance of either 70%, 35%, or 0% of your 71-hour minimum pay guarantee. 

Your 1st of the month paycheck (Flight Advance) is calculated as shown below:


If, by the 20th of the month (or 1-2 business days prior if the 20th falls on a holiday), your projected line value (flight time credit hours for the month and the hours shown in Add Pay (Base Pay Rates) section of the Pay Register reflects: 

  • 50 hours or more– you will receive a FULL ADVANCE of 70% of the minimum pay of 71 hours at your base pay rate (equaling 49.70 hours or 49:42.) 
  • 30 hours to 49:59 hours– you will receive a ½ ADVANCE or 35% of the minimum pay  71 hours at your base pay rate (equaling 24.85 hours or 24:51.) 
  • Less than 30 hours– you will receive NO ADVANCE 

 As shown in the example below, assume you have a minimum of 47:21 and 22:45 of Vacation Fly Through (VFLY) in Add Pay (Base Pay Rates) by the 20th of the month. The combined total hours of 70:06 will be used to calculate your Flight Advance. 

In this example, your projected hours are greater than 50:00 using the additional hours displayed in the Add Pay (Base Pay Rates). As a result, you will be paid your full advance of 49:42 hours at your base pay rate:


Q: Can trip trading or dropping trips affect my 1st of the month paycheck?

A: Yes. If you take any action that reduces your minimum without increasing your guarantee over 50 hours by the 20th of the month, your 1st of the month paycheck (Flight Advance) will be reduced.  Remember we are always paid the greater of our minimum or guarantee.  For additional information, please review the Pay Guide. 



April 2020 – Schedule Development Questions


Q: How did line averages end up so low for the month of April?
A. Given the unique circumstances resulting from the COVID-19 crisis this month, the company and AFA were jointly committed to keeping as many Flight Attendants working as possible. As a result of that commitment, we reached an understanding that provided the company with a contractual accommodation that permitted management with the ability to complete the line construction process with lines having an average below the 69 hour requirement set forth in Section 7.A.3. of our Contract. At the same time, we ensure that Flight Attendants awarded lines with a value of less than 71 hours are paid 71 hours based on the requirements of Section 4.C. of the Contract.

Q: Line averages are very low this month. How much will I be paid for my flying?
A: Section 4.C. (Compensation) requires a Flight Attendant awarded any line having less than seventy-one hours(71:00) original flight time line projection will be pay protected up to seventy- one hours (71:00). The 71 hours establishes the ‘minimum’ pay to which a Flight Attendant is entitled for any schedule with a value below 71 hours. This provision of our Contract ensures a minimum level of pay protection, regardless of where you are based.


Q: How is my pay determined?
A: A Flight Attendant will always be paid the greater of guarantee (the sum total of the value of pairings and other assignments) or the 71-hour (or adjusted) minimum.


Q: How will I be paid when picking up trips?
A: In a situation where the guarantee of your bid line is 30:00 and your minimum is 71:00, if you pick up a turn having a value of five (5) hours, the impact of picking up the 5 hours will be an increase in your guarantee to 35:00. Your  71-hour minimum,  will never increase. In this example,  you  will be paid 71:00.


Q: How will I be paid when trading trips?
A: In a situation where the guarantee of your bid line is 30:00 and your minimum is 71:00, if you trade (down) a 10-hour turn for a 5-hour turn, (trading into a trip of lesser value), both your guarantee  and  minimum will  be  reduced by  the  value of  the  difference between the two pairings. In this case,  the guarantee and minimum values will be reduced by 5 hours (10-5 = 5). This results in a post trade guarantee of 25:00  and  a minimum of  66:00. You are paid the greater of these two values.  In this case, 66 hours.


Conversely, if you were to trade (up) a 10-hour turn for a 12-hour trip, your guarantee will increase by 2 hours and your minimum will remain unchanged at 71 hours. This results in a post trade guarantee of 32:00 and an unchanged minimum of 71:00. You are paid the greater of these two values.  In this case, 71 hours.


Q: How will I be paid if I advertise a trip to give away?
A: In a situation where the guarantee of your bid line is 30:00 and your minimum is 71:00, if you advertise a 10:00 hour pairing  and give it  away,  the impact of that action is a reduction to  both your guarantee and your minimum by 10 hours to 20:00 and 61:00 hours, respectively. You are paid the greater of these two values. In this case, 61 hours.

In the same way, if you were to trade away all of your original 30 hours, your guarantee will be reduced to zero and your minimum to 41:00.  You are paid the greater of these two values.  In   this case,  41hours.


Q:  Is there any action I can take that will increase the value of my minimum?
A: No. Because our pay protection this month comes largely from our 71-hour minimum pay protection, it is important to recognize once you have taken an action on your schedule that reduces your minimum, there is no action you can take that will ever increase your minimum. On the other hand, the value of your guarantee adjusts up and down based on trips picked up or traded. Remember, you are paid the greater of your minimum or guarantee at the end of the month.


Q: What should I be mindful of when making schedule adjustments when lines are low and flying is likely to be limited?
A: In a situation where the guarantee of your bid line is 30:00 and your minimum is 71:00, here’s the general rule to follow:


If you are going to adjust your schedule, trade equal or trade up in value. Keep in mind when  trading up in value you will need to pick up sufficient time to exceed the 71:00 minimum pay protection to see  an increase  in  hours paid.  You will  be paid more  only once  the guarantee exceeds the minimum and only those hours in excess of the  71:00 minimum  will generate additionalpay.


Make every effort to avoid giving pairings in your schedule away because not  trading  down or giving pairings away protects the 71-hour minimum value of your schedule. This is particularly important because it is anticipated there will be limited open time available with which to rebuild your  schedule.


Q:  How do carry over pairings from March affect the 71-hour minimum in April.
A: The value of the carry over pairings from March into April will be added to the value of the pairings in the awarded line of flying.  To the extent the sum total of the carry over and the  pairing  in the line do not exceed 71-hours,  Flight Attendants will be pay protected for 71-hours  asrequiredbySection4.C.oftheContract.


For those Flight Attendants at our International bases, because no flying has been assigned at these locations, the value of the carry over will be subsumed by the 71 hour pay protection.


Q: If I have a carry over pairing for which I place myself on sick leave, how will this affect my 71-hour minimum in April.
A: If you were to place yourself on sick leave for the overlap pairing, those hours from your sick leave bank  will not increase the value of  your line above 71 hours unless the total of  all the  credit in your April schedule exceeds 71 hours. You will be pay protected at 71 hours for the  month ofApril.


Q: If I submit for, and I’m awarded a Special COLA, am I eligible to bid for a Voluntary Furlough if one is offered?
Yes. Flight Attendants awarded a Special COLA are eligible to bid for a Voluntary Furlough. All active Flight Attendants are eligible to bid for a Voluntary Furlough.  Flight Attendants on a Special COLA are considered active whereas Flight Attendants on other types of medical leaves of absence must be cleared to return to work before bidding for any Voluntary Furlough and must be projected to be active during the months a Voluntary Furlough is offered.

Q:Can I jumpseat (CJA) while on a Special COLA.

A: Yes as long as you remain qualified.

Q: If I’m currently on a Medical Leave of Absence, can I submit a request for a Special COLA, and if awarded, will that extend the maximum leave period of 15.E.1? 
A: No. In order to be eligible for the award of a Special COLA, Flight Attendants must be projected to be active for the April bid month. That is, a Flight Attendant on any medical leave must be cleared to return to work without restriction.

Q: If I have to file for unemployment, do I file that in the state I reside in or the state where I work out of?
A: You can review information on unemployment compensation on the Department of Labor website.


Q: What happens if I am required to be quarantined or am diagnosed with COVID-19 virus?
A: Any Flight Attendant who is required to be quarantined by an authorized government or medical official; or is diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus or who has to self-quarantine because a member of their household is diagnosed with COVID-19 virus, will have their trip dropped and be pay protected. (LOA 3-17-20)

Q: Everyone is telling us to stay home if we are sick; am I subject to points and/or discipline if I am sick and follow instructions to stay home right now?

1.    Any Flight Attendant who calls in sick and is subsequently diagnosed with COVID-19 virus will have such sick leave restored.

2.    Any points associated with sick leave use during the period of time this Letter of Agreement is in effect, whether for self or care of a family member in your household, will be removed.

3.    Sick leave taken during the period of time this Letter of Agreement is in effect will not count against any Flight Attendant for purposes of dependability.

Dues Information/ Membership Services

A functioning and strong Union is comprised of two elements: Resources and strength in numbers (solidarity).  It is through these resources that your AFA leadership is able to meet management and advocate for not only immediate issues that need to be addressed, but also to make decisions that affect the long-term viability of our careers.  Your AFA leadership gives you a voice in the workplace. 

Q: Are there union dues obligations while on Special COLA or Voluntary Furlough? 
A: Yes. In accordance with the AFA-CWA Constitution & Bylaws every Flight Attendant on a leave of absence owes dues for the first 3 months of their leave of absence. Those Flight Attendants on a military leave or involuntary furlough do not owe this amount.

This is part of the AFA-CWA Constitution & Bylaws:

"Article XI A.6. Payment of dues shall be required of all members that are on active status during a month or any portion thereof. After the first ninety (90) days of removal from service and no longer receiving compensation through a carrier for disability leave, payment of dues shall not be required."

The Constitution and Bylaws is written by the AFA Board of Directors which consists of all Local Executive Council Presidents of all AFA carriers.

Example of the 90-day leave obligation:

Your COLA or voluntary furlough begins on November 1. You would owe dues for November, December and January. If dues are payroll deducted for any of these months, it will be applied to this 90-day leave obligation.

The AFA Membership Services Department receives this information from the AFA leaders at your airline. The AFA-CWA database is coded so you are only billed for these 3 months and then the billing stops.

Q: Why is it important to ensure our Union continues to function with dues dollars?
A: We must continue to be able to fight for our careers and our Contracts now more than ever. Our dues are among the lowest in the country. Your AFA Dues: Funding Our Flight Attendant Prioritiesprovides an overview of how our dues help all Flight Attendants in good times and bad.


















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