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7.13.06 – (LAA) – NASA Research on FA Fatigue Released by the FAA, Pension Reform Bill, Wright Amendment, HMO Changes

This is Leslie Mayo, National Communications Coordinator, with the APFA Hotline for Thursday, July 13, 2006.

As APFA President Hutto-Blake announced Tuesday, the results of the NASA research on Flight Attendant Fatigue was finally released by the FAA. These initial findings are available on APFA’s Web site in the form of a 77-page report. APFA is working diligently this week to encourage the Transportation Appropriations Committee to allocate more money to finish the research validating what each of us already knows – that F/A Fatigue is very real and should be reevaluated, particularly in light of our increased duties following 9/11. The bill is due to come up for a vote in Congress next week and we will keep you posted on any news.

Please continue to contact your Representative and Senators in Washington, D.C., regarding the pension reform bill. Encourage Congress to support the Senate’s version of the bill, which includes protection for the future of our defined benefit plans. Please go to and click on Contact Congress Today re: Pension Reform to generate an automatic message via Capwiz to your elected officials.

Despite agreements reached between the mayors of Dallas and Ft. Worth, the Wright Amendment is still not a done deal. The House Aviation Subcommittee will hold a hearing today in Washington and CEO Gerard Arpey will be among those addressing the subcommittee. JetBlue, Northwest and several other carriers are against the proposed changes to the amendment and will also be in attendance at the hearing.

APFA News: The APFA Health Department would like to make the membership aware that we have been noticed by American Airlines that there are changes taking place in some of the HMO plans across the country. Specifically, that some HMOs will no longer be available for 2007 due to low enrollment in that plan. It is our understanding that if you are enrolled in one of these HMOs, you have already been notified that the Plan will no longer be an option in 2007. This will allow you to change plans during the annual medical enrollment in October.

The following HMO plans are affected:
Oxford, NJ
Aetna, MO
Cigna, VA
Group Health, WA
Health Plan, NV
Kaiser, CO
Kaiser, OR
Pacificare, CA

For those of you who are enrolled in Pacificare, as you may be aware, Pacificare was bought by United Health Care and the changes in your plan will take effect July 22, 2006. We advise you to check with your healthcare provider to see if they have signed on with United Healthcare. If they have not they will be considered an out of network provider after July 22, 2006. We do understand that these changes come at great inconvience to those in the plans mentioned. While APFA cannot control low enrollemnt and buyouts, we are in talks with the Company to find out what the repercussions these changes will have on our membership. To this end, we need the help of the membership. If you have been adversely affected specifically by the change in the Pacificare plan and would like to give us more information as to how this has affected you and your family, please contact us at extension 8301 or 8290.

Last month, we announced that APFA and AA reached agreement on enhancements for Reserve Flight Attendants. The Scheduling department has provided the following Q&A’s regarding trip trading while on Reserve.

Q: Why is Reserve trip trading (RTT) important?

A: Due to the fact that Reserve trips are awarded in GTD order, Crew Schedule cannot award flying out of order. As a result, some Reserve F/As desire flying for which they are not eligible based on their GTD. In order to honor the Contractual language governing the assignments, RTT allows F/As an opportunity to find a more desirable trip.

Q: May a Reserve trade their trip for an OE?

A: No. Unlike regularly scheduled Flight Attendants who may trade Optional Exchange trips, Reserves may not trade their Reserve-assigned sequences for OE’s. OE’s are paid at straight rates; therefore, allowing Reserves to trade for an OE trip with another F/A would create problems with paying the 75-hour Reserve guarantee correctly. Because this is a test, AA and APFA agreed to prohibit Reserve trading with OE trips.

Q: Reserves may only trade for sequences of the same duration. How many days is a single-duty-period trip considered that arrives after midnight (all-night turns for example)?

A: The trades are based on calendar days. Because an all-night turn requires a two-day Reserve, it must be traded for a two-day trip. Also, a two-day trip that arrives on the morning of the third can only be traded with a three-day sequence.

Q: Which HISEND form do I use to request a trip trade?

A: Use the generic HISEND form for your base.

Q: How will RTT affect my guarantee?

A: It will not affect a Reserve F/A’s guarantee.

Q: Will RTT change my Projection?

A: Yes, your PROJ will reflect the actual value of the sequence you fly.

Q: Why do I care if the “buffer” is expanded?

A: When the buffer is expanded from the original +/- 3 hours to +/- 25 hours for 10 days from July 6th to July 16th, it is more than likely that the majority of Reserves will fall into the range eligible for preference consideration. Note, the computer programming experienced a “glitch” and the buffer was not increased until July 6th. Therefore, the test has been extended through July 16th.

Q: Why must we test increasing the buffer to +/- 25 hours?

A: Although AA is reasonably sure that the computer programming is smart enough to balance the flying among Reserves, even while considering preferences, no one is sure. AA and APFA have agreed to evaluate the impact of the expanded buffers before determining if this test will continue.

Please remember to input your Reserve preferences if you are interested in the quality of your Reserve trips. You can email any comments regarding this subject to

From the Hotel Department – Hotel contracts have been renewed for the following cities: PSP, MSP, EZE and LIH. AA has decided to remain at the current RIO layover hotel and the hotel has agreed to increase the number of vans departing the Copa and Ipanema areas. Vans for crewmembers will depart at 11:00 p.m., 1:00 a.m., 2:00 a.m., 3:00 am and 4:00 a.m.

Recently, our new long layover in ORD experienced a change in management. The new property managers agreed to honor the recently executed contract with AA, with the exception of a reduced room cap. This change forced APFA/APA and AA to secure a second long layover hotel in ORD. All efforts were made to ensure that the crews were kept downtown. AA has been forced to relocate approximately ten crew rooms to a second hotel in downtown ORD. Please check the APFA Web site for details on this new layover hotel. Also, a hotel review team will be traveling to LHR this week for a short LHR layover hotel. Stay tuned to for updates on this change. AA will be moving IOR MAN crews to the same hotel at which IMA and BOS-I crews layover due to a rate increase imposed by the hotel.

The Summer 2006 edition of Skyword has recently been mailed to your homes. This current issue can also be downloaded from APFA’s Web site as can previous issues dating back to 2000.

Rumor Control: A few APFA members have heard a rumor that APFA is/was attempting to affiliate or merge with AFA-CWA or PFAA. This is simply not true. Several unions were offering advice and moral support to PFAA, the union that was representing the NW F/As until last week, throughout their negotiations in bankruptcy. PFAA and TWU were in discussions about affiliating and had the support of the PFAA Board of Directors, but AFA-CWA initiated representation of the Northwest Flight Attendants and caused an election by the DOL. On July 6th, the NW F/As voted to accept representation by AFA-CWA. Absolutely no discussions are taking place between APFA and any other union to affiliate. APFA is now the last independent flight attendant union in the nation and celebrates its 30th anniversary beginning next year.

Bankruptcy Watch: Speaking of the Northwest Flight Attendants, AFA-CWA has begun negotiations on their behalf in a final effort to reach an agreement before July 17th, the date a bankruptcy judge ruled that NW can abrogate their Contract. The Flight Attendants have threatened to strike if NW moves forward with the abrogation.

And over at bankrupt Delta, the company has yet to reach an agreement with Comair Flight Attendants and according to Comair’s President this is threatening the future of the airline. Pilots and mechanics have reached a deal, however, the restructured contracts cannot go into effect until all three workgroups have agreements. Further, the two contracts with the pilots and mechanics may have to be renegotiated due to the fact that they were reached contingent upon an October ’05 deadline for all three groups. Comair has imposed $7.9 million in concessions pending a deal. A strike by the members has been authorized in the event their contract is voided in bankruptcy court.

Fuel Watch: As of Wednesday, July 11th, a barrel of crude oil cost $74.16, down $1.03 from last Wednesday’s price. The crack spread price was $13.27, down .32 cents from last week’s price. This brings the cost of one barrel of jet fuel to $88.78 – down $1.35 from the price of jet fuel a week ago.

One year ago July, the price of a barrel of crude was $59.03, and the crack-spread price was $10.73. The total for one barrel of jet fuel a year ago was $69.76, nearly $20 less than the price of a barrel of jet fuel today.

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Please remember we have 3,895 APFA members on furlough and ten members serving the military full time. The reduced number of furloughs is a result of attrition. That’s it for this week. Thank you for calling the APFA Hotline.

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