Flight attendants at United Airlines are planning a ‘Day of Action’ on September 27 in protest at what the crew union has described as the “unsustainable working conditions” facing flight attendants at the airline.
The protest will be an informational picketing event in which slogan-shouting and placard-waving United flight attendants could descend on airports across the country, as well as other key United locations.
The Association of Flight Attendants (AFA-CWA) says Flight Attendants have been “subjected to unsustainable working conditions driven by mismanagement at the hands of United management” and that “efforts to resolve these challenges have been ignored and rejected”.
One of the key issues at the heart of the dispute between the flight attendant union and United are the “unacceptable” call hold times crew face when they try to contact the scheduling department.
Hold times of four or more hours for flight attendants to speak to an airline representative aren’t, allegedly, uncommon, and crew members are required to make regular contact with the airline for even basic schedule changes.
United’s SVP of inflight services John Slater has previously blasted the union for using the problems for “political opportunism” while failing to point out the efforts United was making to resolve the problems and outright rejecting solutions to save flight attendants from needing to constantly call the scheduling department.
On Thursday, the union insisted that “no actionable solution” had been presented by the airline to resolve the problems and that thousands of letters sent by flight attendants to express their frustration at the situation had been ignored.
“Your reports show a continued trend of unacceptable wait times, some surpassing the four-hour mark,” the union told flight attendants in a memo calling for the Day of Action.
“Our voices, the voices of Flight Attendants, have made it clear that we feel unsupported and undervalued by management,” the memo continued.
Further details about the informational picketing events are expected to be released in the coming days. United Airlines has been contacted for comment.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.