Air Safety, Health, & Security Committee (ASHSC)
- Our AFA Air Safety, Health, & Security Committee (ASHSC) Chairpersons met on Thursday, April 5 to discuss their ongoing program of work to represent Flight Attendants interests related to safety, health, and security in our workplace.
- The Committee also met with management to receive updates and discuss issues and problems that Flight Attendants are facing onboard the aircraft.
- Reporting safety concerns is more important than ever given the challenges we are currently facing as a workgroup. Flight Attendant Irregularity Reports (FAIR), Aviation Safety Action Reports (ASAP), and fatigue reports can all be filed through Report It! Please contact a member of your Local ASHSC if you need assistance.
On Thursday, April 5, our AFA Local Air Safety, Health, & Security Committee (ASHSC) Chairpersons met to discuss their ongoing work to represent our Flight Attendants and push for improvements in our workplace. Representing you at the meeting were Debi Wallstrom (ANC), David Lake (SEA), KalinLackey (PDX), Brad Young (SFO), Carin Meritt (LAX), and Eva Gatus (SAN). Also present was MEC ASHSC Chairperson Seth Heiple.
The committee met with Cabin Safety Manager Cari Smith-Allen, Managing Director of Inflight Services Gloria Chow-Vanderwell, Director of Inflight Training & Standards Thomas Kaminski, Infight Policy & Procedure Specialist Kevin Weatherbie, Director of Inflight Safety & Compliance Corey Chestnut, Manager of Inflight Safety & Compliance Johanna Giese, Manager of Inflight Policy & Procedure Kaliko Howell, and Inflight Experience Program Manager Matthew Coder.
The next scheduled Air Safety, Health, & Security Committee meeting is Thursday, July 20, 2023.
Topics of Discussion
The committee reviewed several items during internal AFA-only conversations and when meeting with management. Some items discussed include:
- Potentially adding “keep seatbelts visible” to announcements. This may make it easier to perform seatbelt compliance checks, especially during night flying. The Company agreed to see if other carriers are making similar announcements.
- Fleet supply bags placed by girt bars. If catering opens a door while a Fleet supply bag or other item is in front of the door the girt bar could be dislodged from the door clips. This concern will be communicated to Fleet.
- Single Door Catering. The Company is monitoring reports about single door catering. Flight Attendants should be notified when single door catering is going to take place and CSAs should be asking if forward galley catering has been completed with the boarding questions on all flights where the forward galley is catered from the aft. Single door catering may not occur with passengers onboard.
- Bringing strollers on board. Strollers can be “baggage” in the cabin if there is space for them. However, passengers are pushing their infants in the strollers inside the plane. The ASHSC asked the company to update the policy to indicate that strollers should be configured for stowage prior to being brought on the A/C.
- Flight Attendant CRM. The ASHSC shared a recommendation to have another program like the D-Check to foster understanding and teamwork in our diverse work group.
- Equipment check verification. Ideally, we would like to see equipment checks completed prior to boarding. Until that policy change can be implemented, we need a process for verifying equipment checks have been completed prior to door closure. It may also be helpful to have verifications for this and for passenger briefings integrated into B2B.
- Hearing Conservation Base Sits. Being exposed to high decibels for an extended period of time is a threat to unprotected ears. In order to proactively prevent hearing loss we asked that the Company provided opportunities for Flight Attendants to be fitted for hearing protection at all bases. We’ve also asked that the information about procuring hearing protection be maintained on the Inflight website.
- Cleaners using A/C flashlights. Flight Attendants have found flashlights not completely secured into their holders and have witnessed cleaners using flashlights during A/C cleaning when the cabin is dark. The Company is aware of this issue and working with Fleet to ensure they have other means of seeing in the cabin when there is no power to the cabin lights.
- Preferred seats for passengers who use aisle chairs. For safety, seats with fixed armrests should not be designated as preferred seats for passengers with mobility-related disabilities. The Company is reviewing this policy.
- Attached keyboards. Some tablet keyboards are very thin and built into the tablet cover. The ASHSC asked the Company whether these need to be restricted.
- Phone clips that attach to the upper seat pocket area. The ASHSC asked the company whether these need to be restricted during cruise.
- Infants/children lying on the floor during flight. The ASHSC requested that the FAM be updated to state that lying, sitting or kneeling on the floor, with a few exceptions, is not permitted. The Company is reluctant to implement this change.
- Riding to layover hotels alone. This concern comes up frequently. Unfortunately, we have not been able to come up with a solution the Company will agree to outside of the contractual requirements related to international layovers. However, the Company has recently started to look at some other possible solutions to this long standing problem.
- Door viewport warning strap MEL. The MEL permites the strap to be missing or taped in place if damaged/inoperative. We do not have a safe procedure for operating without a functioning warning strap so we recommend that Maintenance keep the straps widely available for rapid replacement. It would also be helpful to have alternate procedures in place for A/C operating with warning straps on MEL.
- Child Restraint Systems in seats with airbelts. It can be difficult or impossible to safely install a CRS in a seat with an air belt. The company will test CRSs in these seats to determine whether a change in policy is needed.
What The Committee Is Working On
- Lighting. We continue to work with a company on developing simpler and safer cabin lighting standards.
- Personal Conduct and Work Performance Section of the FAM. Encouraging the Company to simplify this section so it makes better sense in the current environment, including the implementation of the new break LOA.
- Contents review of both the F/A Kit and the Stationary Kit. The ASHSC is working with the Inflight Service Committee to provide feedback to the Company about the contents of the kits. We want to ensure they contain necessary items but do not have items taking up space which are not used.
- Coordinating Base Safety Meetings. The ASHSC is working with Inflight and Safety Management to continue the practice of holding safety meetings at all bases twice a year. Please consider signing up to attend or submitting a safety concern for discussion when you see the invite from Base Leadership and your Local ASHSC.
We Want to Hear From You!
If you’ve experienced a safety-related issue, please help the committee to advocate for improvement and change by filing a report. Flight Attendant Irregularity Reports (FAIR), Aviation Safety Action Program (ASAP) reports, and fatigue reports can all be submitted using ReportIt! If you’re not sure what type of report to file for a particular situation or need help, please don’t hesitate to contact a member of your Local ASHSC.Do you have other feedback for the committee or items that you’d like brought up with management? Please let us know! Your Local ASHSC is your voice to management. You can find our contact information on the ASHSC page of the AFA Alaska website.