This is Leslie Mayo, National Communications Coordinator, with the APFA Hotline for Friday, August 5.
Please remember our 4,185 members who remain on furlough and our 12 co-workers who are serving full time in the military.
On Tuesday, an Air France Airbus 340 from Paris to Toronto skidded off the runway upon landing in severe weather, split in half, and burst into flames. What could have been a horrible tragedy was averted due to the professionalism of the Flight Attendants on board. These Flight Attendants heroically evacuated all 309 people from the burning aircraft. Passengers reported that at least one of the slides failed to inflate and another became tangled and unusable. Despite these difficulties, the Toronto airport fire chief reported that the flight crew had safely evacuated all of the passengers before the plane became completely engulfed in flames, about three minutes after landing. He went on to say that by the time fire crews arrived, within 52 seconds of being alerted, 3/4 of the passengers had already been evacuated. Regardless of carrier or country borders, the safety and security of our passengers is our highest priority as we look after each other and those in our care. Events such as these shed a sober light on our critical contribution to air travel as the first responders, and we can be grateful that it did not take a tragedy of lost lives to remind the public of that fact. APFA honors our Air France colleagues who courageously and successfully performed their duties as safety professionals and who serve as shining examples of those in our industry.
From the APFA Scheduling Department: earlier this year the FAA changed their interpretation on the calculation of FAR 121.467 (b) (13), the 24-in-7 rest requirement as it relates to reserve flight attendants. The first day of a reserve period, even if you are not assigned a trip, will trigger the start of the 7-day period for purposes of the calculation. Flight attendants are currently working under the new interpretation, although the necessary programming changes in DECS are not complete. Next month DECS will correctly calculate 24-in-7 using the current FAA interpretation. Meanwhile, if a flight attendant becomes aware that s/he is illegal based on the new language and notifies Crew Schedule, or if AA becomes aware that the illegality applies, the new language will be honored. If you have any questions about this new legality please contact the APFA Scheduling Department at extension 8161.
Almost 3,000 APFA members participated in the recent Scheduling Survey online at www.apfa.org. We had a good response across the seniority spectrum and Flight Attendants from every base participated. Fewer than 10% of the respondents think our bid lines are satisfactory. Obviously, there’s some room for improvement! Here are a few statistics:
63% do not consider themselves commuters and live within 1-2 hours of their base
36% do not serve reserve and of the 64% who do, 10% do not serve a regular rotation
The most important bidding priorities are the length of the trips and the total days worked
Sign-in and return times and their consistency were next, followed by layover preferences and pure lines
APFA Flight Attendants also told us they want Crew Allocations to consider longer layovers and decreased sit-times above all else when building sequences. Two- and three-day trips were most desirable across the system, followed by turns. Most Flight Attendants want to work the hardest the first day of the sequence or balance the time across the trip. Most of us also think three legs a day is reasonable and that two hours is the longest we should have to sit.
As in many other forums, Flight Attendants said that layover rest is extremely important to them. Over 2/3 of the respondents stated that they would rather have increased rest, even if they had to work more days in a month. Each base weighed-in regarding how they would like the lines built and those preferences will be shared base-by-base. Representatives from the APFA Scheduling Department met with Crew Resources this week and asked them to look into building our bid sheets based on this input. We hope to have an impact beginning with the October bid sheets.
We appreciate the input from those of you who participated. Several Flight Attendants wrote after completing the survey asking why we didn’t include space for written comments. Unfortunately, manpower just did not allow for processing of comments on this survey. We realize, however, that more questions need to be asked, so please watch for future surveys, including the confidential Membership Opinion Survey Phase III set to begin next week at www.apfa.org.
From the Contract Department: On Aug 1, the company purged the domestic transfer list and the international proffer list as well as all buddy transfer and proffer requests. You must re-enter your transfer or proffer request in order to be eligible for a future transfer or proffer. APFA strongly suggests that you enter your transfer request ONLY if you plan to accept the transfer. This allows more of your fellow Flight Attendants to receive transfers at a time when transfer activity is limited. Keep in mind that International proffers cannot be rescinded.
From the Hotel Department: Effective August 1, the layover hotel in Maui became 100% non-smoking. All rooms have a private lanai and smoking is allowed on the lanai. Hotel management has notified AA that if it determines there was smoking in a room, they intend to assess a $75.00 cleaning fine paid by the guest.
We now have a new layover hotel in Las Vegas. This property provides transportation to the strip every half hour between 0700 and 2300. If you take a cab back to the hotel for any reason, please be sure to give the driver the name and street address of the layover hotel as there is another property in Vegas with the same name. You can find the new hotel information in the secure section of the APFA website.
From the Safety Department: As a reminder, FAR 121.391 states, “During taxi, Flight Attendants must remain at their duty stations with their safety belt and shoulder harness fastened except to perform duties related to the safety of the airplane and its occupants.” Upon completing the safety demo and compliance check, you should immediately be seated and strapped into your jumpseat.
In industry news this week, United has announced that it will delay the release of its reorganization plan. This will also delay the company’s emergence from bankruptcy until late this year or early in 2006.
Leaders of AMFA (representing the mechanics, cleaners and custodians at Northwest Airlines) announced that the union has withdrawn from negotiations with management citing “Northwest’s continued refusal to engage in meaningful negotiations…” The 30-day cooling off period began last month, and ends on Aug 20. After that Northwest’s mechanics can legally strike, and Northwest can legally lockout workers. Northwest continues to insist that the airline says it will keep flying even if its mechanics strike.
That’s it for this week. Thanks for calling the APFA hotline.
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