In This Edition
- Ongoing Conversations With Management
- FAA & CDC Recommendations for Layovers
- Crew-Only Layover Hotel Transportation
- Tell Congress: Put Aviation Workers First
- KCM Access Point Staffing
- Challenges with Onboard Trash Stowage
- Taking Control of Your Finances During a Loss of Flying
- Telephone Support Group For Flight Attendants Under Self-Quarantine
- COVID-19 Resources
Ongoing Conversations With Management
AFA and management are continuing to have active, ongoing discussions regarding a number of issues of importance to our Flight Attendants.
Inflight Service Changes
Yesterday, Executive Vice President and COO Gary Beck sent out an email outlining a series of reductions and changes to inflight service intended as mitigations to COVID-19. Our AFA officers have received resounding feedback that these mitigations do not take enough action to protect our Flight Attendants from possible risks. Discussions between AFA representatives and management to advocate for more drastic service reductions are continuing today.
Members of the AFA Air Safety, Health, & Security Committee (ASHSC), Inflight Training Committee, and the MEC have been engaging in conversation with management over the past week to advocate for protective measures related to recurrent training (RT) and the RT facilities. Based on those discussions, management has taken steps to implement measures such as a pre-class briefing on COVID-19 precautions being taken, increased the frequency of training equipment sanitization, provided hand sanitizer to be used before and after touching equipment or door trainers, and provided disposable gloves to be used when conducting door and equipment drills.
AFA representatives have also asked management to take immediate and necessary action to discontinue PBE and CPR drills due to the high potential of exposure to respiratory droplets that are known to spread COVID-19. Management has taken steps to request an exemption from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for the requirement to complete PBE and CPR drills based on the ongoing spread of the disease. AFA is calling upon management to immediately discontinue these drills as continuing to ask Flight Attendants to perform them is a serious safety and health risk.
Food Availability on Layovers
As a preventive measure to curb the spread of COVID-19, many restaurants in our layover cities are being ordered closed by local and state authorities. Those that remain open are usually limited to take out or delivery only and are operating under limited hours. The AFA Hotel Committee and the MEC are working with management to ensure that food options continue to remain available to Flight Attendants, ideally within the health guidance outlined by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) (see “FAA & CDC Recommendations for Layovers” below). Management has been asked to compile a list of food options that remain open and available near each layover hotel and to post the list in a place easily accessible to Flight Attendants.
FAA & CDC Recommendations for Layovers
Air Safety, Health, & Security Committee (ASHSC)
Last week, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued updated COVID-19 health guidance for crew members in conjunction with Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). This guidance includes recommendations to protect Flight Attendants from exposure and reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19. AFA recommends that Flight Attendants follow this FAA & CDC guidance to the extent that you are able to do so.
While On a Layover In The United States or Internationally
- Travel as a group in private transport provided
by the air carrier when traveling between the airport and hotel (note:
management has started implementing this provision already; see “Crew-Only
Layover Hotel Transportation” below).
- Minimize contact with ground personnel and time in public areas while moving between the aircraft and the private transport.
- Do not use public transportation, including when traveling between the airport and hotel.
- Stay in your hotel room to the extent possible.
- Minimize going out into the general population and use social distancing (maintain a distance of approximately 6 feet, if possible) whenever out in public. Avoid crowds, stores, sporting or mass entertainment events, and other situations likely to attract large numbers of people.
- Eat in your hotel room with either room service or delivery service. If in-room dining options are not available, eat at a restaurant located in the hotel. If not available at the hotel, eat at a restaurant located close to the hotel.
- Avoid contact with sick people.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use at least a 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Use soap and water when your hands are visibly soiled.
- Avoid touching your face.
Crew-Only Layover Hotel Transportation
In response to guidance from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), management will be temporarily implementing private, crew-only vans in cities where transportation had been previously provided by the hotel and the van was shared with other passengers.
Management has instructed all transportation providers to adhere to the following criteria:
- Vehicles must be sanitized and wiped down as much as possible prior to each pick up (seat belts and buckles, armrests, door handles, any touch points)
- If possible, provide wipes and sanitizer in their vehicles
- Gloves should be used if handling crew bags
- Tipping may be limited due to risk of transfer on cash
This change means that in cities where the hotel provides transportation directly, the hotel will either now be providing “crew only” vans or, if the hotel is unable to provide a vehicle exclusively for crew, management will be arranging for contracted transportation providers to provide this service. Please note that with this change, company provided layover hotel transportation will be limited to crewmembers only for the foreseeable future. Crewmembers who are planning to travel with family or other guests will need to make other arrangements for them to get to the hotel.
Management will be sending emails to those crews where transportation is being switched from hotel-provided to contracted transportation. Pairings are also being updated in Crew Access if the transportation provider has changed. Please be mindful of any emails or Crew Access notifications regarding transportation changes.
If you have any questions, please contact your Local Hotel Committee.
Tell Congress: Put Aviation Workers First
Government Affairs Committee
The coronavirus pandemic is decimating our aviation industry. It is a public health crisis and it is creating a financial catastrophe that dwarfs the economic cost of the Great Recession and September 11th combined.
We’ve seen catastrophe before. We know what didn’t work before and we won’t let those things happen again. We need relief that focuses on real people. And we have a plan for that.
Flight Attendants and other aviation workers have been on the frontlines of the coronavirus emergency from day one. Before most Americans knew what COVID-19 meant, we were calling for government action to keep it from disrupting our lives and our economy.
Our plan is focused on keeping people on the payroll and stopping furloughs. Airlines are burning cash so quickly they will not be able to meet payroll within a few months, if not a few weeks. You will see furlough announcements that reflect this, but know this: we are working with airlines to get relief that keeps the paychecks going without furloughs.
Washington is gearing up to save aviation. But we cannot accept another “no strings attached” government bailout for corporations and their executives that leaves Flight Attendants and aviation workers behind. This time it will be a RELIEF package focused on workers first with no stock buybacks or dividends and no executive bonuses.
Send a letter to your members of Congress to demand that any public relief plan be a People First plan with legally-binding rules, including (but not limited to):
- Paycheck continuation without furloughs/layoffs
- No stock buybacks
- No executive bonuses
- No dividends
- No breaking contract
Amplify Your Message with a Call
Call your Member of Congress and Senators now and tell them to support our position on a People First relief package for aviation.
KCM Access Point Staffing
Air Safety, Health, & Security Committee (ASHSC)
Due to the rapid changes caused by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is directing Federal Security Directors to implement measures to maintain continuity of business. These measures could include some changes to the operation of Known Crewmember Program (KCM) access point locations. Crewmembers should expect periodic closures of KCM access points without notice. If KCM access points are closed, the TSA will accommodate crewmembers at TSA PreCheck™ locations where available or at standard passenger screening lanes. The TSA is taking measured steps and following CDC recommended guidance to preserve the health and safety of Transportation Security Officers
Please check the Known Crewmember website for more information and updates.
Challenges with Onboard Trash Stowage
Inflight Service Committee
Our AFA Inflight Service Committee and Air Safety, Health, & Security Committee (ASHSC) have been working to advance AFA’s request to discontinue any onboard sorting of trash in the wake of COVID-19. Many Flight Attendants have attempted to collect trash without employing the usual sorting process that would be used for onboard recycling and have come up against numerous challenges based on the lack of adequate trash space. This has become especially challenging on double catered flights, flights in the Florida and Hawaii markets, and flights on A319 and certain A320 aircraft.
These concerns have been brought forward to the onboard food and beverage department, which is part of marketing. Management is reviewing possible solutions to mitigate the lack of appropriate trash space. AFA is continuing to stress the importance of providing adequate space for trash over discretionary provisions such as inflight entertaining tablets. This comes down to safety—the company’s catering procedures should never be prioritized over providing adequate space for Flight Attendants to contain trash in a regulatory-complaint manner.
Have You Experienced Inadequate Trash Stowage Space?
If you are on a flight where you have inadequate trash stowage space, AFA highly encourages every Flight Attendant on the crew to file an Aviation Safety Action (ASAP) report using ReportIt!. More information about ASAP, including a link to file a report, can be found here.
Taking Control of Your Finances During a Loss of Flying
Employee Assistance Program (EAP)/Professional Standards Committee
It is prudent for all Flight Attendants to assess their personal financial positions in anticipation of income reductions. While every Flight Attendant’s situation will vary, below are some general considerations that can help you begin strategizing how best to weather the financial impact of flying cutbacks on your household.
Assess Your Financial Status
- Prepare a household budget and cut any non-essential items.
- Prepare a list of all creditors and a contact person. Make minimum payments.
- Place your money in a bank in which you have no debt.
- Attempt to secure a loan early, so you will have a cash flow.
- Assess your tax situation. You may be owed a refund or need to file an extension.
- Be proactive. Assess your credit card debt. Look into a temporary reduction or abatement in payments.
Contact Your Creditors
You must communicate with your creditors before any payments become delinquent, and the sooner the better. You can negotiate a lower repayment schedule before you run out of money. Be professional, but assertive. Creditors are easier to work with if they know ahead of time that there’s a problem. Also, it shows ‘good faith’ that you are concerned about your debts and intend to pay.
The goal is to make the amount of money you’ve saved last as long as possible. Pay what you can on a regular basis, even if it is less than expected. Partial payments may keep collection agents away. Follow-up all telephone conversations with a letter and keep documentation. Even in the worst-case scenario, it takes a long time for collections, repossessions and evictions to occur. Contact credit counselors who can help you sort out your financial affairs. Be sure to remember to contact the creditors that are automatically payroll deducted.
Even if you can’t pay creditors the amount they want, make your best effort to pay something regularly. This holds arrears as low as possible and lets the creditor know that you are doing all you can. Partial payment may keep your account from being turned over to a collection agency.
Put your payments in order of importance: this will help you pay first things first when money is short. Generally, your most important payment will be the mortgage or rent payment, followed by utilities, health insurance and car payments.
And after the initial contact, it’s important that you keep in contact with creditors – every two weeks or so. This reassures the creditor, shows a responsible attitude toward your obligation and may keep the creditor from ‘hounding’ you.
Prepare a Household Budget
A budget helps you see where you spend your money and where you can save. Your budgeted expenses should include:
- Fixed expenses, including: mortgage, rent, taxes, insurance, loans, installment payments, credit card payments and any other monthly payments.
- Monthly expenses, including: food, gas, repairs, dues, recreation, prescriptions.
- Future expenses, including: income/property tax and any other outstanding debts.
Your budgeted income should include:
- Any remaining income
- State disability insurance benefits
- Workers’ compensation checks
- Social Security
- Unemployment compensation
- Other pension funds
Your assets may include:
- Cash value of insurance policies
- Equity in your home
- Prepaid burial or funeral policy
- Resale value of vehicles (including boats and snowmobiles)
Now you are ready to adjust your expenses, negotiate with creditors and use assets in the most effective way possible.
Contact your Local Employee Assistance Program (EAP)/Professional Standards Committee or call (949) 470-0493.
Telephone Support Group For Flight Attendants Under Self-Quarantine
Employee Assistance Program (EAP)/Professional Standards Committee
In order to provide additional support to those Flight Attendants who are under self-quarantine, AFA International EAP is sponsoring a bi-weekly telephonic support group meeting. The meetings are facilitated by a confidential mental health professional.
Calls started on Tuesday, March 17 and are scheduled Tuesdays at 12 PM PDT (March 17, 24, 31, April 7, 14) and Sundays at 5 PM PDT (March 22, 29, April 5, 12). Each call will last one hour and can support up to 100 Flight Attendant participants.
(855) 544-2320 or (401) 648-9218
If outside the U.S., follow the directions here.