Now Reading
Alaska Airlines and Flight Attendants “Philosophically Apart” On Rolling Back Pandemic Restrictions

Alaska Airlines and Flight Attendants “Philosophically Apart” On Rolling Back Pandemic Restrictions

Alaska Airlines and the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA-CWA) which represents thousands of crew members at the Seattle-based carrier are “philosophically apart” on the airline’s decision to roll back yet more pandemic era restrictions beginning November 4, the union said in a memo sent to flight attendants on Wednesday.

The memo was sent just hours after Alaska Airlines publicly announced plans to introduce more onboard food options beginning Friday.

Onboard service was dramatically scaled back at the onset of the pandemic in a bid to reduce contact between flight attendants and passengers. Like other carriers, Alaska Airlines has slowly been adding back elements of its onboard service but has sometimes faced opposition from employees.

The flight attendants union told members that it had spent “hours upon hours in meetings with management” trying to persuade the airline to halt its rollback of pandemic restrictions by raising “numerous issues” with the plans.

Alaska Airlines did agree to postpone the introduction of some of its planned service elements but in the main cabin, the changes will exceed pre-pandemic service levels.

During meetings with management, the union says “it became clear that management and AFA are philosophically apart on the potential risks that Flight Attendants face as a result of expanding onboard service in the current environment.”

“The health and safety risks posed by additional interaction time with passengers and increased challenges with enforcing the federal mask mandate are likely only to be amplified with more food and beverage items being offered on the aircraft.”

Alaska Airlines last set out improvements to its onboard service in July, although many of the changes were limited to longer-range flights. The airline said it had worked closely with epidemiologists and internal safety experts before implementing the changes.

A spokesperson says the airline is maintaining its mask themed mantra: “After you sip or snack, please put your mask back.” 

Flight attendants are being encouraged to report safety concerns to “strengthen” the union’s argument.

View Comments (2)
  • Why are the FA against this. Any of them who are not vaccinated can choose to leave. Their decision not to do so should not affect the comfort of those of us who are vaccinated. I believe they have been accustomed to providing little to no service and don’t want the increased work load. I often see the FA chatting it up in the galleys and spending very little time on customer service even in FC. it’s time for the customers to say enough already!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.