US to require more rest between shifts for flight attendants

Airlines will be required to give flight attendants at least 10 hours off between shifts, an hour more than currently, under a rule announced Tuesday by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Acting FAA Administrator Billy Nolen said the extra hour of rest would help with safety.

Congress ordered the FAA in 2018 to increase the rest requirement for flight attendants and eliminate a provision that allowed crews to work with less rest under certain circumstances.

“It’s taken us way too long, but we’re finally here,” Nolen told a news conference at Washington’s Reagan National Airport, where he was accompanied by more than a dozen security guards. edge.

Current federal rules allow flight attendants to work up to 14 hours a day and get nine hours off between shifts.

The Association of Flight Attendants has fought for years for a longer break between shifts. The union thought it had prevailed four years ago, when Congress voted with large majorities to demand more rest. Union President Sara Nelson appeared with Nolen at the press conference and accused the Trump administration of trying to kill expansion by dragging its feet on regulation.

Union officials pointed to an increase in 2020-21 in incidents involving unruly passengers as demonstrating the need to give cabin crew more rest between shifts. Airlines have reported fewer incidents since the federal requirement to wear face masks on flights ended in April.

“It’s a small handful of people who are making it hell for frontline flight attendants,” Nelson said.

The FAA collected public comment on the supplemental rest requirement in 2019 and 2021 and received more than 1,000 comments from airlines, flight attendants and the public.

Airlines for America, a trade group representing America’s largest airlines, said safety is always the industry’s top priority, and “having rested and alert flight attendants who are ready to take on their responsibilities, including cabin safety and other tasks, is essential to this objective.” The group said it supports “scientifically validated and data-based countermeasures to prevent fatigue”.

ABC News

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