In this edition (April 6, 2020):

  • Thank You to Compass Air Flight Attendants
  • Update on Our Payroll Grants
  • CDC Change on Transporting Passengers from Cruise Lines
  • AFA Opposes Any Efforts to Reduce Flight Attendant Staffing Minimums
  • Request to FAA for Social Distancing Waiver on Jumpseats and Safety Demo
  • Flight Attendant Volunteer Medical Assistance Force
  • AFA in the News

Thank You to Compass Air Flight Attendants

Compass Air’s last flight is today. Thank you to every Compass Flight Attendant and crew past and present! We’re fighting hard to save our industry so we can see you in the skies soon. We especially want to thank the work of AFA Leaders Mike Nelson, Shannon Kelly, Mary ‘Terry’ Kiernan, Heather Harris, and Dorothy Traxler. These leaders have been strong advocates for Compass Flight Attendants and all of us as aviation’s first responders. Watch this video tribute >

Update on Our Payroll Grants

Our airlines submitted applications for the CARES Act Aviation Payroll Grants with U.S. Treasury on Friday. Our action made these applications possible, and we are getting word that there is reason to be optimistic about the process.  

The New York Times released a story over the weekend: Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Peter DeFazio and Senate Banking Committee Ranking Member Sherrod Brown sent a letter to Secretary Mnuchin pressing him to implement the CARES Act as intended and without interference or delay. This reflects our work as well and we thank these leaders for their continued oversight and strong defense of our jobs.

If you have not yet added your name to the letter to Secretary Mnuchin you can do so now: Take action >

CDC Change on Transporting Passengers from Cruise Lines

On Friday, passengers from the cruise liner Holland America cruise ship departed Florida to destinations across the country and world. 

AFA Alaska MEC was made aware that passengers from the ship were due to transfer from a charter in SFO to more than five Alaska Airlines flights. Our AFA leadership raised concerns with management about commingling these passengers with regularly scheduled passengers and our crews.  Thanks to AFA Alaska’s quick notice — AFA International Health and Safety was able to alert other safety chairs. At United, more than 130 passengers from the ship were scheduled to fly from SFO to Australia and a few other destinations within mainland U.S.

The solution that AFA achieved at both carriers was to schedule management-staffed charters for the cruise line passengers only, with specific health protocols. A similar situation happened on Sunday at American and APFA leaders were able to achieve the same results with their management. Working together and sharing information is effective and paramount as we address the issues created by this crisis.

After weeks of allowing cruise ship asymptomatic passengers who were exposed to the coronavirus to travel home on commercial passenger flights with nothing more than a temperature check, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reversed course and issued new guidance. This is an example of the importance of our Flight Attendant unions voice in aviation safety, health, and security. We are helping to identify issues that need to be resolved and in doing so, achieving better conditions for the public. There are many other issues to resolve, but it’s important that we recognize the role we play in creating a more healthy aviation system.

Cruise companies will now have to charter flights to return passengers to their home cities, the agency said. This is an example of the important work our Union does to advocate for the health and safety of crew and the passengers in our care. 

AFA Opposes Any Efforts to Reduce Flight Attendant Staffing Minimums 

“Any proposed flight attendant staffing reductions based on load factors would set a dangerous precedent, are not in the public interest, and must be denied. Flights should stay on the ground or be designated as cargo only if we aren’t carrying passengers. That is, in fact, the best way to reduce exposure to the COVID-19 virus.” Read the letter to the FAA >

Request to FAA for Social Distancing Waiver on Jumpseats and Safety Demo

The FAA is reviewing a request from several airlines for a waiver through August 2020 to allow for social distancing on our planes. This would allow seating in passenger seats near doors where two Flight Attendants are normally sharing a jumpseat, as well as a waiver of donning oxygen masks and life vests during safety demonstrations. We have supported this waiver request and we believe FAA will communicate on soon.

Flight Attendant Volunteer Medical Assistance Force

We have heard from many Flight Attendants that you would like to do more to support our medical community. As flights are pulled down, it may be that aviation’s first responders have time to help. We are discussing with government and medical support services the critical need for extra hands – either through virtual on-line assistance or hands on at hospitals and medical centers.

We’ve already had a tremendous response of Flight Attendants signing up to help. Later this week we will be communicating to those who have expressed interest. If you missed the chance to sign up for this information before, you can sign up now.

Please let us know if you are willing to consider volunteering whether from home or on site, and advise us if you have medical training of any kind that exceeds our Flight Attendant qualifications. The medical community needs all the help we are willing to offer. Fill out this form if you would consider volunteering. AFA will not share your information with any outside organization without your permission, but we need to know who would like to help in order to proceed. 

Sign up for the Flight Attendant Volunteer Healthcare Force >

AFA in the News

NYT: Top Democrats Press Treasury to Accelerate Airline Bailout

TIME: “We’re Definitely Spreading It”: Flight Attendants Fear They Are Losing The Fight Against The Coronavirus WATCH on MSNBC’s Alex Witt: COVID-19 Impact on Aviation Workers