FAA proposes giving flight attendants 1 more hour of rest

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Federal regulators are proposing to give flight attendants an extra hour of rest between shifts, a change that Congress approved in 2018 but was not put into effect by the Trump administration.

The Federal Aviation Administration proposed Thursday that flight attendants get 10 consecutive hours of rest between shifts. The proposal does not change the current 14-hour limit on a flight attendant’s work day.

Current rules require flight attendants to have nine straight hours of rest between shifts, which can be shortened to eight hours under some circumstances. Congress passed a law in 2018 that directed FAA to increase the mandatory rest period, but FAA missed a deadline for publishing the regulation.

The airline industry opposed the change. Airlines for America, a trade group for the largest U.S. carriers, estimated that it would add $786 million in costs over 10 years at its carriers, which employ about two-thirds of all U.S. flight attendants.

Flight-attendant unions had lobbied for the change.

“Flight attendant fatigue is real,” said Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants. “COVID has only exacerbated the safety gap with long duty days, short nights and combative conditions on planes.”

The FAA said it will provide 60 days for public comment, and airlines will have until 30 days after the final rule is published to comply.

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3 thoughts on “FAA proposes giving flight attendants 1 more hour of rest

  1. Again, the industry statement is that employees (and their rest) do not matter in light of company profits. This attitude by management is indicative of why so many have left the work force to seek other employment.

    Given the unfriendly skies of increasing irrational and violent behaviour by some travelers, providing an extra one hour of rest for flight attendants is not unreasonable.

    Airlines cite the cost increase due to this one hour but have not monetized the loss of productivity by flight attendants who may call in sick due to long-term lack or recovery time. Nor have airlines cited how cost due to the the extra hour of rest could be mitigated by efficiency changes.

    Airlines can seek to achieve savings or greater productivity by other means including higher fares, elimination of free beverages and snacks (particularly on short flights), better and more reasonable scheduling, elimination of non-productive competitive routes, and careful analysis or profits generated by first and business class seat given that that the level or pre-Covid business travel (read: profits) may never again be realized.

    1. Great comments

      In addition, 10 hour break should be mandatory if you want them to sleep 8 hours. That gives them an hour before and after to get settled in whatever city they are in. I think in-flight refreshments is unnecessary for flights shorter than 2 hours. Bring your own drinks and snacks. What a waste of time for staff and the amount of waste produced is insane.