Pick up begins in some localities beginning tomorrow, March 9th
Our new Inflight Mobile Device (IMD) the iPhone 6+ will be ready for pick up in some localities beginning tomorrow, March 9th. Distribution will continue through the system over the next six weeks or so. This is a very exciting development, as the iPhone 6+ will eventually replace our Flight Attendant Manual and it will also contain our contract. (Yes, a printed version of the contract will also be available and so far we’re looking on track for publication in middle to late spring.) Keep in mind that nobody is required to carry the IMD until Wednesday, May 6th. “Early Adopters” of the IPhone 6+ IMD are converted to the general policy starting tomorrow, which means many of the special protections of that program will no longer apply.
The IMD is a tool of convenience but exposes a flight attendant to many potential liabilities
The Inflight Mobile Device is an extremely adaptable tool of convenience. However by nature of its functionality, the IMD exposes a flight attendant to many potential personal liabilities. AFA was hoping to have ample opportunity to thoroughly vet all implications of the Company policy surrounding the IMD. Unfortunately, the policy itself and related materials were going through changes right up to the publication of Inflight bulletin 2015-0057 “Your iPhone 6+ Pick Up!” on Thursday, March 5th. Additionally, Management announced to AFA the official start of full distribution only very recently.
AFA cannot overstate the importance of exercising caution with the IMD
AFA cannot overstate the importance of exercising caution with how you use the Inflight Mobile Device. In our opinion, simply adhering to Company policy does not provide adequate protections. Just because the iPhone 6+ can be used in a more expansive manner does not mean you should use it that way.
Location, location, location
Although the location services can be manually turned off, by default the iPhone 6+ IMD is configured with the location function on. Between the required app “Airwatch” that comes pre-installed and the device’s pre-existing location features, the IMD could be used as a Global Positioning System (GPS) tracker by Alaska Airlines management. So far AFA has not become aware of any intent by management to use it in such a manner. However, we believe management might go there if a flight attendant were under investigation for pending discipline and management thought the IMD would provide additional information in any way.
Utilize the IMD as a work tool only
AFA urges you to utilize the iPhone 6+ Inflight Mobile Device only as a work tool. Turn it on to ensure you’ve synced your IMD within 24 hours of check-in and to verify the battery’s charge level. Otherwise it should remain off until shortly before scheduled check-in. If you are coming off of a layover then turn on the IMD shortly before boarding. If you use the device in any capacity while at work then assume a supervisor is looking over your shoulder each and every time. Turn the IMD off after the last passenger steps off the aircraft at the conclusion of your sequence (or after you check your email if you’re on Reserve).
Maintain a clear separation between anything personal and the IMD
Do not sync the Inflight Mobile Device to any personal devices. Do not attach any personal accounts to the IMD (email, social media, etc.). Do not download personal media (e.g. photos, music, etc.) to the IMD. Do not purchase or access any apps for personal use. Essentially, you must maintain a clear separation between anything personal and the IMD or else you are exposed to unnecessary liability.
Summary of Initial Recommendation
In summary: use the Inflight Mobile Device at work (or minimally while off-duty) only for work-related purposes and adhere to Company policy. Then you will receive all the benefits of an extremely flexible work tool with none of the drawbacks of personal liability. Finally, the IMD should never leave the five “safe zones” while on duty: in the approved carrying pouch attached to the cart, in beverage cart drawers, in galley compartments (although be aware the device could be easily forgotten here), in a crew bag or on your person. While off duty, the IMD ideally should never leave your crew bag except briefly to charge and to sync the device at the appropriate time in preparation for duty.
More information will be forthcoming
More information will be forthcoming in regards to the iPhone 6+ Inflight Mobile Device.
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Your MEC—Jeffrey Peterson, Brian Palmer, Yvette Gesch, Becky Strachan, Laura Masserant, Cathy Gwynn, Sandra Morrow and Stephen Couckuyt; and MEC Grievance chairperson Jennifer Wise MacColl