Thursday, July 1, 2021
Tracey, Dan, and I had an opportunity to meet with Frank Morales, Managing Director of Base Operations, and Sam Maher, Regional Director for PHL, yesterday during their visit to PHL. I did have a long agenda of issues to discuss. I realize this is lengthy, but I feel it is imperative to provide you with an update from this meeting.
Unruly and Disruptive Passengers
We were told AA Government Affairs is pushing legislation to ensure the government follows through on these issues. Frank advised us that corporate security does receive the CERS report and addresses them behind the scenes. He reminded us of how important it is to have clear and concise information on the CERS reports and send them promptly.
We discussed passengers purchasing alcohol to go at the airports. We asked if AA is doing anything to put pressure on the vendors to stop. The state of PA just reinstated their law to discontinue the sale of alcoholic beverages to go, but apparently, there are different requirements for airports than with state and city. As of right now, we do not know where this will go.
We made it very clear that our Flight Attendants are mentally and physically tapped out. It has been challenging working through the pandemic and now dealing with the aftermath. Both Frank and Sam acknowledge the contributions the Flight Attendants have made to get AA to where we are today, and they understand the struggles we currently face. They assured us they are taking the CERS reports very seriously, and the well-being of our crews are a top priority.
Return of Alcohol Sales
We brought up the issue of AA bringing back alcohol sales in the main cabin once the federal mask mandate is lifted in September. Frank indicated that AA is hearing from their corporate clients that we need to be competitive with other airlines. We certainly do not want to lose our business travelers.
Commuting Flight Attendants
I asked if they knew that Delta just announced they would be providing positive space travel for their commuting employees until 2022. They had no idea. They did take notes on that, and I will be following up to see if AA will be competitive in this area. I also addressed that we have more commuters now than ever before because of the displacements and the difficulties our commuters have getting to work. We are seeing weight restrictions on flights coming from the west due to the extreme heat. They are also being denied jumpseats due to weight restrictions. I did ask if there is any way they can review this policy, even if it’s temporary, so our commuters can get to work. This is an issue that they will have to discuss. They understood the situation and at least were open to the suggestion.
MCO and LAS Cancellations
I expressed concern that the APFA in PHL was not notified of these cancellations before removing them from schedules. We took many calls, emails, and texts from our members who happen to see the loss of time in their portal, and we had no answer for them. While we were in the meeting, we were advised that these cancellations will be added to the COVID cancellation list and will be pay protected. If you had any of these sequences, you should see a pay adjustment. Flight Service did send out a mobile CCI about these cancellations.
Catering and Trash
Frank indicated that they had some challenging issues, specifically in DFW, and they believe they have a good handle on it and asked if it was still an issue. We all said yes, it is still an issue. We told him we are hearing from our Flight Attendants that DFW and CLT still seem to struggle. He said to make sure our Flight Attendants are filing reports via their tablets. We told him they are tired of filing the reports when there is no follow-up.
He did tell us that the people responsible for the reports are overwhelmed, and they know this is an area that needs attention. He reiterated how vital those reports are and to please continue to file them.
We asked if they considered adjusting the onboard service on short-haul flights to a request only to conserve stock and trash issues. Flights such as LAS to LAX, DFW to AUS, PIT to PHL, etc., can easily be a request only. This will help conserve the stock for the longer flights. Dan suggested that when they are out of Coke, replace it with another soda because putting five water bottles in its place makes no sense. If someone wants a Coke and we do not have it, they will choose another soda, not water. They will take both suggestions back and follow up with us.
SEA to LHR Flying
This route does not have a home. It can move from base to base. Of course, every base wants to operate it, and we are no exception. We have asked that PHL be considered for this six-day trip when it returns. The route was suspended for July.
PHL was scheduled to see the return of several IPD destinations in August. It was recently announced that they have been pushed back to later this year and some to spring 2022. We expect to start ATH mid-August and FCO four days a week in September, subject to change. We would appreciate the opportunity to fly the SEA LHR trip for a month. If they are moving it around, we should all have a chance to fly the route.
They understood and said they know that sequence is being placed where it makes the most sense and in the base that needs block hours for that month. They hear us and know we want to be considered when the flight returns.
We were advised that this is an issue across the system and is worse at some bases than others. It is an issue being discussed at very high levels, and Flight Service in several bases is addressing it. Sam stated that they are investigating credible reports sent to management, and they are being addressed.
777 and 787 Training
We were told that Flight Attendants would be required to be qualified on all equipment that operates in the base. This is not new, as we have always been required to be qualified on all equipment that operates out of our base. We still have many Flight Attendants that need 777 and 787 training. You will still have an opportunity to ballot each month using the RBEST ballot, and at some point, they will once again start the assigning process.
We addressed the hot mess that this department has become, and they agreed. They know it’s an issue, and they are working on trying to fix it. I said that is great; how about communicating this to our Flight Attendants? Acknowledge that you know there are issues, and you are working on a solution. Should you experience long wait times either on the phone or at a hotel, please file a FA report, fill out a Hotel and Transportation Feedback Form on the APFA website, and send a detailed email to your manager and copy in your PHL APFA base reps.
CLE Commuter Parking
Tracey has been dealing with this issue for several months, and there still is not a process in place for our commuters in CLE. CLE does offer commuter parking, but they will not bill the crew members, so they basically cannot park in the designated employee parking lot. CLE parking authority wants to do a direct bill to AA; however, the issue is administrative, which is the company’s problem. We have been assured we should hear something by mid-August. We were also advised this is an issue in several other cities.
All in all, we were happy to have the opportunity to sit down with Frank and Sam to address some hot-button issues with which we are currently dealing. We know there are many more, but we did only have about an hour and fifteen minutes scheduled with them.
APFA PHL Base President
APFA PHL Base Vice President
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