This is Leslie Mayo, National Communications Coordinator, with the APFA Hotline for Friday, December 9, 2005. Please keep our 13 members serving full time in the armed forces and our 4,094 furloughed flight attendants in your thoughts.
As most of you are aware, a passenger was fatally wounded on AA flight 924 after attempting to leave the aircraft and exclaiming he had a bomb. The Federal Air Marshals seated in the cabin witnessed the incident and pursued the passenger as he exited the aircraft to the jetbridge. The FAMs identified themselves and instructed the passenger to stop – however, after several requests the passenger moved aggressively toward the FAMs. The passenger was shot and died of his injuries. The IMA-based Flight Attendants performed their duties expertly and all four are safe.
Southwest Airlines flight 1248 from Baltimore slid off the runway, through a barrier fence and onto the street at Midway Int’l Airport in Chicago last night. It struck one vehicle and was hit by another. All 98 passengers, and five crewmembers on the 737 evacuated safely with only two minor injuries. However, five people were injured on the ground, including a 6-year old boy who died later at the hospital. The nose of the plane was crushed and the forward landing gear collapsed. Also, one of the engines was badly damaged.
As was announced last week, the TSA plans to lift the ban on 4″ scissors and 7″ tools in just a few weeks. The TSA believes that by lifting the ban on these items, it will help them detect explosives more effectively in carry-ons. There is a bill in the House right now called “Leave All Blades Behind” (H.R. 4452) that, if successful, would be the first step in the process of freezing the current list of banned weapons on board the aircraft. Please go to www.apfa.org and click on the link entitled: “Contact Your Congressperson About Weapons In The Cabin.” Ask your Congressperson to sponsor H.R. 4452 today. This Bill could come to the floor as early as next week.
Joint News Watch : APFA, APA, TWU, ALPA, PFAA along with AA, Delta, Continental and Northwest Airlines and Gate Gourmet appealed jointly to Congress this week in support of H.R. 2830 – the Pension Reform Bill. These communications can be found on the Pension Reform page at www.apfa.org. The Pension Reform Bill did not come up for discussion on the Hill this week as we’d hoped. Please continue to forward your CapWiz letters to Congress via the APFA Web site. Click on the link entitled: “Contact Your Congressperson About Pension Reform.” And as we anticipated, there is no news this week on any movement in Congress on the Wright Amendment. Please continue to let Congress know you are opposed to the repeal of the Wright Amendment. It is imperative that your Representatives hear from their constituents.
Bankruptcy Watch : The judge overseeing the Delta bankruptcy proceedings has said she believes Delta’s top executives are competent and should be able to guide Delta out of bankruptcy; however, she has yet to see the plan that will get them there. She is also encouraging Delta and its pilots, represented by ALPA, to come to an agreement on a new contract rather than having to make the decision on whether to abrogate the contract between the parties. Meanwhile, the chairman of Delta’s pilot’s union has received authorization to call for a strike vote from its members.
Fuel Watch : As of December 8th, the price for a barrel of crude was up almost $2 to $59.21 a barrel from last week’s price. The crack spread was also up a bit at $13.35, $3 more than last week. Total cost of a barrel of jet fuel as of December 8th is $72.56. This price is 56 percent higher than the price of a barrel of jet fuel one year ago today. APFA News: WINGS has opened a store in the new JFK Terminal. It is manned by Flight Attendants and is open when voluntary manning permits. It has been very successful in the past few weeks. Remember to stop by if you are in the new JFK Terminal, and spend your money in support of WINGS.
Each year several Flight Attendants fail to earn vacation or sick accrual due to the fact they missed their eligibility hour threshold by just a few hours. In some cases this causes a Flight Attendant to be in an overpayment situation due to PVD usage. Flying one trip would make the difference in full accrual versus no accrual. If you are a low-time flyer, please review your HISK to determine whether you should consider flying an extra trip or two before the end of the year. A review of vacation and sick accrual is in the Fall Skyword .
And from the Scheduling Department, a quick clarification on the EWR Reserve Test. Those Flight Attendants opting to add EWR as their preferred airport while serving Reserve are not the only ones who can fly EWR trips. Remember that this test does not deem those Flight Attendants who didn’t indicate EWR and may prefer to fly JFK and LGA exempt from EWR trips. Crew Schedule will attempt to honor the EWR preferences, but there will be times that flight attendants who do not have a EWR preference will be called to fly out of that airport.
And a final reminder to those Flight Attendants on furlough regarding your Supplemental Medical Retiree Insurance Bill for 2006. If you threw away your bill by mistake or did not receive a bill, please contact Beatrice Geissal at 800-711-7083, ext. 85748. The letter must be returned to “Healthfirst” no later than January 31, 2006 or your coverage will be terminated.
Industry Watch : Continental and its Flight Attendants, represented by the IAM were in Washington, D.C., this week for its final round of negotiations with the NMB. The company reports that progress is being made at the table to negotiate a new agreement, which, no doubt, includes concessions.
And at US Airways, the pilots for former America West may request an arbitrator to decide their seniority issues with the pilots at US Airways, and America West’s mechanics and rampers fear pay cuts and want to keep their current contract with America West Airlines.
That’s it for this week. Thanks for calling the APFA Hotline.