Tired of Talk? Increased Rest Now!
Seven Flight Attendant fatigue studies commissioned by Congress: All conclude the best way to combat fatigue is to get more rest. The last thing Flight Attendants need is more studies, more talking about how to tackle fatigue. We're tired of talk. We need rest already.
AFA has been calling for an overhaul of rest and duty time regulations for years in an effort to put an end to Flight Attendant fatigue. The fatigue studies commissioned by Congress were a part of our effort to build our case for regulations that help avoid fatigue on the job. Just before the release of the new pilot FARs on rest minimums and duty time limits, we continued to call for a rulemaking committee to address Flight Attendant rest and duty FARs as well. But a lot has changed in the past three years and we can achieve immediate relief now. No more talk. Time to fix the problem:
- Equalize minimum rest with pilots (10 hours block-to-block minimum, increased from the current 8 hour minimum)
- A Fatigue Risk Management Plan that will admit Flight Attendant fatigue exists and help identify situations that lead to Flight Attendant Fatigue in order to fix them.
We Now Have Science to Back Us
In 2012 the FAA's Civil Aerospace Medical Institute (CAMI) published the final of seven studies of Flight Attendant fatigue. The results were not surprising; that fatigue is an issue of significant concern in Flight Attendant operations and providing increased opportunities for rest is the best way to combat this issue. Clinging to the legislative call for a rulemaking committee with an unspecified course of action, which also is now supported by management because it will lead to a big black hole for improving Flight Attendant rest, is simply holding up relief that's within our reach now.
The new science based regulations for pilots require airlines to provide them at least 10 hours of rest between shifts. Flight Attendants should have no less rest than our counterparts in the flight deck in order to do our physical work as aviation's first responders.
As airlines cut corners to improve efficiency, even at a time of record profits, Flight Attendants are subjected to management's continued pursuit to increase productivity. One by-product of this has been to take advantage of today's minimum rest standards of only 8 hours. At many carriers, Flight Attendants are being forced to work to the point of exhaustion because of poorly constructed work schedules, minimum staffing, delays and inexperienced schedulers who are also expected to do more with less.
Flight Attendants are entrusted with the safety, health and security of our passengers on a daily basis. Continuing to schedule reduced rest puts additional burdens on Flight Attendants as aviation's first responders.
90,000 Flight Attendants Stand to Benefit from Increased Rest
Flight Attendants from all carriers whether it be, mainline, regional, niche, charter, Low Cost Carrier or Ultra Low Cost carriers are unified in seeking immediate improvements to our rest regulations. This is something that affects all Flight Attendants and all of us will do better when the minimum standard is raised – even those few thousand Flight Attendants working under the contracts that currently provide for rest greater than 10 hours. Nearly 90,000 Flight Attendants currently have less rest required in their contracts or the company work rules imposed without a union.
Flight Attendants will also benefit from the creation of a Fatigue Risk Management Plan (FRMP). A FRMP is a methodology based on scientific principles that would allow airlines to identify fatigue-related risks. Rather than a prescriptive one size fits all regulations, FRMP provides a viable alternative for union and company representatives to mitigate fatigue and factors that contribute to fatigue with the support and oversight of the FAA.
Airline managements and their allies prefer to drag out and delay efforts to increase rest requirements and create a FMPR. Convening another industry work group to examine Flight Attendant fatigue and make recommendation on ways to improve rest is simply one more tactic to postpone immediate improvements. Flight Attendants know that requiring further studies will delay – perhaps permanently – our chance to increase the minimum rest provisions.
You and Your Friends and Family Can Make the Difference for our Rest
Continue to support Flight Attendants across the industry in our Fight for 10! Flight Attendants from every single airline have signed the petition to Congress, but now it's time to redouble our efforts. Urge Congress to take decisive action NOW on the scientific results of the existing fatigue studies and equalize rest with our flight deck counterparts - 10 hours minimum. The FAA Reauthorization Bill provides a means to fix this now by lifting the minimum rest standard to 10-hours and including a FRMP (just like pilots) designed to examine fatigue factors with real time evidence and information for crew members to help them avoid becoming fatigued.
It only takes a few short minutes to sign the petition and urge your Senators and Representatives to fight Flight Attendant fatigue on board the aircraft and help us fix this problem.
Go to: www.FightFor10.Org
Flight Attendant volunteers are hand-delivering these petitions to your Senators and Representative every single week.
We are Stronger Together, Better Together! And we will get this done together!