This is Leslie Mayo, National Communications Coordinator, with the APFA Hotline for Friday, December 2, 2005. Please keep our 13 members serving full time in the armed forces and our 4,094 furloughed flight attendants in your thoughts.
Please be on the lookout for a letter addressed to every APFA member from your union leadership. It should arrive in your mailboxes next week. This letter includes very important information about protecting our careers.
The TSA held a Conference Call yesterday with APFA and several other aviation stakeholders to announce the lifting of the ban on carrying aboard 4” scissors and 7” tools. The TSA has agreed to keep the ban in place for all knives, box cutters, razor blades etc, at least for now.
APFA is vehemently opposed to lifting or changing the ban of any item that could be used as a potential weapon in the cabin including scissors or any other tool. APFA issued a press release yesterday and encourages all of our members to visit apfa.org and let the U.S. Government know how you feel about weapons on board the aircraft.
Joint News Watch : On Wednesday, President Bush signed into law the 2006 Transportation Appropriations bill, part of which includes a provision adding Missouri to the list of states exempt from the Wright Amendment. This means that Southwest Airlines is now free to fly non-stop flights into Missouri from Dallas Love Field. Consequently, yesterday, they announced new service to Missouri beginning mid-December.
The good news is that Missouri is the only state added to the appropriations bill to be exempt from Wright Amendment restrictions. To remain competitive, American announced plans to move flights to Love Field and reduce service from DFW. AA has formally notified Love Field that it intends to start service from the airport as soon as possible and is prepared to use all three gates.
AA has yet to release details regarding frequency or cities to be served from Love Field. There is no word yet on how these changes may affect our St. Louis hub.
The Senate Bill S.1424 to lift Wright Amendment restrictions has not come up for a vote in committee since the November 10th Senate Commerce hearing. Many of the committee members agreed that there needs to be more discussion on this issue. However, as we’ve seen, Senator Kit Bond (R-MO) succeeded in attaching his amendment to the bill lifting restrictions on flying to Missouri from Love Field. Those opposed to lifting the Wright restrictions succeeded in preventing other states (NV, AZ and TN) from being added to the MO amendment. The threat remains that amendments could be slipped into bills that will, one by one, lift Love Field flight restrictions. Please continue to contact your representatives in Washington, D.C., and encourage them to keep the Wright Amendment intact.
Bankruptcy Watch : Judge Prudence Carter Beatty says she will review the facts as well as the context of the case of Delta Airlines’ request to abrogate the Pilots contract. Judge Beatty ruled that Delta can sell some of its jets and reject the lease on its Atlanta office. Also, Delta announced yesterday it would be cutting 160 flights totaling 26 percent of its schedule out of Cincinnati/ Northern Kentucky airport.
Meanwhile, another bankruptcy judge this week allowed Northwest to reject the leases on 15 of its jets. Northwest requested the rejection of 200 of its jet leases.
Fuel Watch : As of Wednesday, November 30, 2005, the price of a barrel of jet fuel was $57.32. The crack-spread price was down to $10.02 per barrel. This brings the cost of a barrel of jet fuel to $67.39, down $3 from last week’s price. This price still exceeds the price one year ago by more than 22 percent.
APFA News : All American Airlines Flight Attendants on furlough should have just received their 2006 Supplemental Medical Retiree Insurance bill. Please be advised that the envelope is marked “Healthfirst” in the top left corner and should not be mistaken for junk mail! If you did not receive your bill or discarded it by mistake, according to this letter, the contact should be Beatrice Geissal at (800) 711-7083, ext. 85748. The letter must be returned no later than January 31, 2006, or your coverage will be terminated without provisions for reinstatement.
APFA and American have been working on a solution for Domestic and International Reserve coverage for Newark flying. In summary, this test provides for more efficient coverage by allowing those that prefer to fly out of EWR to be included in a separate EWR Time-Accrued Reserve System pool until such time that they are not assigned a EWR trip. They will then be eligible to fly out of all three airports. Details are available at apfa.org on the JFK and LGA Base Pages.
Although the Purser Flex Test allows Crew Schedule to override some lights to permit Trip Trading with open time that would otherwise meet all other contractual guidelines, it does not turn the lights green for all trades for pursers. TTOT cannot negatively impact daily manning, meaning some days will still be considered RED for trading purposes. Please keep that in mind when requesting a trade from Crew Schedule. For the December holiday period, any attempt to trade out of the period from December 25th to January 2nd is likely to be denied.
DFW InfoRep Denise Pointer and APFA Legislative Affairs Representative Rick Musica completed their system wide tour this week wrapping up with base visits in MIA, RDU, and DCA. Denise and Rick want to thank the hundreds of flight attendants they met during their base visits who were so receptive and engaging. While on the road the past few months they doubled the number of InfoReps and increased PAC donations by 10 percent.
From the Hotel Department: we encourage Flight Attendants to avoid using public computers at hotels to access password-protected accounts. It is now very simple for keystroke-capturing software to be installed on these computers thus enabling someone else access to your accounts.
If you fly Osaka, Japan layovers you may notice an informational card in your hotel room that advertises the ability to call home using a credit card. Rates are not listed on this card and are quite costly - about $10 - $15 connect fee and a-per minute fee of up to $5.95 per minute. Before using any access carrier in any hotel please check with the front desk for a schedule of rates and fees.
A final reminder regarding hotel fees at any of our layover hotels: if you are using your debit card upon check-in for incidentals there may be a hold put on your funds and it may take one to three business days for the hold to be released. Before proffering your debit card, please confirm the amount of the hold fee with the front desk. We have seen hold fees of up to $145 at crew hotels.
That’s it for this week. Fly safely and thanks for calling the APFA Hotline