FAA Mandates Longer Rest Period for Flight Attendants

FAA Mandates Longer Rest Period for Flight Attendants

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has finalized new rest time requirements for flight attendants, mandating a rest period of at least 10 consecutive hours between shifts.

The agency announced the new rule on Tuesday.

Last fall, the FAA proposed to increase the rest period from nine to 10 consecutive hours when flight attendants are scheduled for a duty period of 14 hours or less, with then FAA Administrator Steve Dickson stating that “flight attendants play a critical safety role in keeping passengers safe on every flight and especially in emergencies. This proposal helps reduce fatigue so they can perform this critical role.”

While the majority of flight attendants already receive at least 10 hours of rest time, flight attendant unions are in support of the safety regulation.

“President Biden delivered today. Five years ago after decades of action by AFA members, science to back up our alarm on flight attendant fatigue, and relentless efforts with lawmakers, we achieved an overwhelming bipartisan vote to equalize minimum rest with commercial airline pilots. The law could not have been more clear, but instead of taking definitive direction from Congress, the Trump administration put our rest on a regulatory road to kill it. President Biden promised to make this a top priority to correct this and today under the leadership of Secretary Buttigieg and Acting FAA Administrator Nolen the rule for 10 hours of irreducible rest for flight attendants is final,” Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, said in a statement issued Tuesday.

Airlines for America (A4A), a trade group representing major carriers including American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines, among others, estimates that the rule change could cost carriers $786 million over 10 years for the two-thirds of U.S. flight attendants A4A members employ due to circumstances such as unpaid idle time away from home and schedule disruptions.

Nonetheless, the move should be a welcome one among the flying public as the FAA has noted the “potential for fatigue to be associated with poor performance of safety and security related tasks.”

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