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E-Lines: September 20, 2019

Date: September 20, 2019

UChat – On September 30, 2019, it’s coming!

In July, United management announced the testing of UChat, an app developed to facility Flight Attendant to Flight Attendant “chat” communication. The app, integrated with CCS, provides chat functionality from within the app, but also directly from specific CCS screens. Testing was conducted in DEN, LAX and LHR and the company will implement the full functionality for all Flight Attendants at 2:00PM on September 30, 2019.

You will also be able to download the app to your personal devices. Stay tuned for additional communication in the week ahead. 

Situational Awareness – Especially at the ATM Machine 

A recent “find” by a group of Chicago Flight Attendants on layover in Sau Paulo included a “skimmer” that was placed on the ATM machine near the layover hotel. The skimmer was removed from the machine and reported to police.

When using ATM machines, especially those that are stand-alone machines outside the hotel or bank itself, it’s a good idea to look at the machine for any external devices that may have been placed on the machine by those intending to compromise your financial information.

We owe a debt of gratitude to the Flight Attendants who located the device (picture attached) and ensured it was removed to protect all of our Members using the machine closest to the layover facility.

Vacation Election Options – Vacation Buy Back, FLEX and Deferral to 401(k)
MEC Central Schedule Committee

The Vacation Election period opens by 0800 Home Domicile Time (HDT) on September 25, 2019 and closes at 0800 HDT on October 15, 2019 in order to provide the full twenty (20) day period to make elections required under the Contract. 

Once you know the number of days that you have accrued, if you choose to participate in the optional Vacation Election process, select the “Proceed to Vacation Election” button located in the bottom right corner of the accrual letter page. You may also choose not to make any selections in the Vacation Election process and skip this step. 

The vacation election screen will appear and you will be able to make the following selections: 

1. Buy Back Vacation Days. Partially accrued vacation days are not eligible. 

2. Defer vacation days to your 401(k) or UK Stakeholder Plan 

3. Elect Flex Vacation Days (paid or unpaid) 

Vacation Buy Back – Two Possible Programs 

Vacation days are “sold” back at a rate of three hours and fifteen minutes (3:15) of pay per day plus an incentive payment, which shall be determined and announced prior to the annual vacation bid. 

1. Annual Vacation Buy Back: The Company offers a vacation buy back option, which allows a Flight Attendant to take pay in lieu of accrued vacation. Flight Attendants must opt to “sell” at least six (6) full days of accrued vacation and partial days are not eligible. Those participating in the Buy Back program may not participate in the Flex program. 

Vacation days are “sold” back at a rate of three hours and fifteen minutes (3:15) of pay per day plus an incentive payment, which shall be determined and announced prior to the annual vacation bid. 

NOTE:  The rate of pay applied for Vacation buy back is based on your individual rate of pay as of 12/31/19. International Purser and Purser pay overrides are not included in your hourly rate of pay and are not applicable to Vacation Buy Back payments.

2. Monthly Vacation Buy Back: In addition, the Company may offer vacation buy back on a month-to-month or base-by-base basis. The Company will determine whether to offer an incentive payment for month-to-month or base-by-base vacation buy back. Vacation buy back will be awarded in base seniority order. 

Deferred 401(k) Contribution

Flight Attendants may elect to contribute a minimum of seven (7) days and a maximum of fourteen (14) days of paid vacation accrued for use in 2020 into their 401(k) savings plan account or UK Stakeholder Group Plan. 

Flex Vacation Program

Flight Attendants may elect to take an additional seven days of Flex vacation. Flight Attendants taking Flex vacation will either take the additional seven days as unpaid vacation or elect to have one hour and fifty-four minutes (1:54) pay deducted from their earnings each month to pay for the Flex vacation week. 

Unlike previous years, Flight Attendants who opt for Flex vacation will their Flex vacation days included as their last vacation period of the year. 

Once you have finished making your choices, select “Submit”. A confirmation page will display showing your 2020 elections. It is recommended that you keep a copy for your records. 

At any time while the vacation election period is open you can return to the vacation election page and change/update your selections. Once the election period is closed, changes can no longer be submitted.

2020 Reserve Rotation Letter Lists to be Published Monday, September 23, 2019
MEC Central Schedule Committee & LOA 23

The 2020 Reserve Letter Lists will be made available in your Base and on Flying Together on Monday, September 23, 2019. Reserve (A/B) Rotation is only applicable for Flight Attendants based at the following International locations: FRA, HKG, HNL, LHR, & NRT. These lists will be effective February 2020 through January 2021. 


























The ‘A’ letter designator Reserve month are the odd months and ‘B’ letter designator are the even months. 

**Note:Those Flight Attendants having their 5th anniversary as a Flight Attendant in 2020 will not have their ‘R’ status changed to an ‘A’ or ‘B’ until the month of their anniversary to become effective for bidding the following month. 

Trades of Reserve (A/B) Rotation Letters Requested in CCS 

Once assigned a Reserve Rotation letter for the next year, Flight Attendants can submit a trade, by logging into CCS, select Scheduling > A/B Rotation Trade Request. Click on the New Request window and fill in the requested information including the desired effective date for the bid month/year and employee ID number of the Flight Attendant with whom you wish to trade. 

Note: Flight Attendants in an International Purser sub-base at these locations may only request an A/B Reserve Rotation letter designator trade with another Flight Attendant in that same International Purser sub-base.

Minimum Duty and Time Away (Trip) Rigs - Understanding how they interact
Sections 6.A.1. – 3. and Section 6.B.

Section 6.B. - Trip RIG or Time Away from Home
Understanding that Ratio-in-Guarantee (RIGs) offer protections for additional pay and credit beyond the sum of the flight time within a scheduled pairing, when applicable, is an important component of understanding how we are paid. Further, our Contract provides for two different RIGs both of which provide for minimum pay protections.  Minimum duty RIGS provide for minimum flight time pay and credit for each two hours of duty time, for one duty period pairings and average pay and credit per day for each day of a multi-day duty period pairing.

Our Time Away from Home RIG ensures that Flight Attendants receive one-hour flight time pay and credit for each 3 ½ hours elapsed time, prorate 

Section 6.A.1-3.- Minimum Duty RIGs 

Detailed informationcan be found on our website, unitedafa.org and includes the affect partial pairing pick-ups have on rigs and in Section 6.A and 6.B of our JCBA. If you have additional questions, you are encouraged to contact your Local Council.

Irregular Operations from Extreme Weather

When extreme weather disrupts the operation as it did these past few days in Houston, the negotiated provisions of our Contract which are intended to offer a level of protection during these irregularities become critical. Securing hotel rooms & transportation while away from home becomes critical as do the provisions of our Commuter Program for Flight Attendants who travel to work by automobile, bus, train, public surface transportation as well as for those who commute by air.

Need a Hotel or Taxi?                Irregularities Impacting Call Wait Times- Self Help

Trying to get to your base?        Commuter Program Clarification

White Flag Pay?                        Clarifying White Flag Pay

2019 Annual Communications Training Concludes this Week in Chicago

This week, the United Master Executive Council (MEC) Communications Committee conducted their annual Training Seminar in Chicago. Flying partners from Cleveland, Council 63 and Guam, Council 65 attended the two-day training. These volunteers reviewed our Union’s Communication structure and the Communications Committee responsibilities, gained proficiency in the use of our Newsletter Sending System (NSS), and also received an introduction to graphic design. 

We recognize and welcome the volunteers who have stepped forward to do this important work on behalf of all Flight Attendants. Congratulations on your successful completion of training!

Mark your Calendar - 2020 Annual Benefits Open Enrollment - October 7 - 25, 2019
MEC Benefits Committee

It’s that time of the year again when annual benefits open enrollment will take place during the period from October 7 – 25, 2019.

The following chart details key dates about the Annual Enrollment process:



“What’s New for 2020” Guide


September 30

Explore and compare plan options and costs


October 7-25

Active Employees

Make insurance elections for 2020

In addition, as we head into early Fall and the flu season, consider taking advantage of opportunities for free Flu Shots & the Benefits Fair Schedule.

Additional information can be found in E-lines article, 2020 Annual Benefits Open Enrollment, available on our website, unitedafa.org.

Reminder - 2020 CQ Due Month Change Bidding Closes September 27
MEC Safety, Health & Security 

As a reminder, Flight Attendants who currently have a CQ due (must go) month of June, July or August received an e-mail from management detailing the process to be used for preference bidding of new CQ due (must go) months. Awards will be processed in base seniority order.

The available months for preference bidding of due (must go) months are the first six (6) month of the 2020 annual CQ cycle: December 2019 and January - May 2020. CQ 2020 training will be two days in length with regulatory training on Day 1 and customer service training on Day 2.

The due month preference bidding schedule is as follows:

Due Month Preference Bidding Opens:

September 13, 2019

Due Month Preference Bidding Closes:

September 27, 2019

Preference Award Results Posted:

No later than October 16, 2019 @ 12 Noon

Individual Awards Pushed to CCS:

October 16, 2019


*Note: The CQ 2020 CBT format will be changing from the current single annual set of CBT courses to a trimester format of a set of three (3) CBTs that will be distributed across the 2020 training year.

Additional information can be found in the August 28, 2019 Edition of Inflight Services Weekly.

AFA International President Testifies 

On Thursday, September 26th, the Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Aviation will hold a hearing regarding the implementation of provisions included in the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018.  AFA International President, Sara Nelson, will be among those testifying. The list of those testifying includes:

  • Association of Flight Attendants, CWA 
  • The Department of Transportation (DOT)
  • The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
  • The Airline Pilots Association (ALPA)
  • National Consumers League
  • Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Coalition
  • Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association (AOPA), and
  • Paralyzed Veterans of America.

We continue to urge Congress to pressure the FAA and DOT to implement the provisions of the bill that most affect Flight Attendants. This week at the AFA-CWA Legislative Fly-In this same message was conveyed to the members of Congress visited by AFA representatives.

Reminders & Quick Links

September 13-27   Summer CQ Due Month Preference Bidding for CQ 2020 Due Month 
Sept. 25- Oct. 15    Vacation Elections (Flex & Vacation Buy Back)
October                  Breast Cancer Awareness Month 
October 1               HKG National Day (Holiday Pay)
October 3               FRA Unity Day (Holiday Pay)
October 6               CBT Completion Required
October 7-25          Annual Benefits Open Enrollment for Active Employees



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