European Travel Impact on Flight Attendants

European Travel Impact on Flight Attendants

March 11, 2020

Dear Flight Attendants,

This evening, the President announced a 30-day travel ban to Europe, excluding the United Kingdom. He announced the ban would begin Friday. This understandably created great concern among Flight Attendants and other aviation workers. Some AFA members only fly to Europe and we have an AFA Local Council in Frankfurt, Germany.

President Trump said one thing during his TV address, but the administration has walked back several key statements. Specifically, the White House clarified later this evening, “The travel restriction applies to foreign nationals who have been in 26 European countries with open borders agreements, in the last 14 days. Those exempt from these restrictions, such as U.S. citizens, will be directed to limited airports where screening can take place.

While this clarifies that airplanes are not restricted from flying these routes, we still have many questions about how AFA members will be affected by this presidential proclamation and how airlines will assist Flight Attendants and our dependents before and after these restrictions become effective. Each AFA Master Executive Council (MEC) will be interfacing with airline management on Thursday to determine the full impact, how the airline will manage the change, and how they will work with us to address any issues this causes for Flight Attendants. We will communicate further as we collect more detailed information.

We know tonight's address will add greatly to the panic already spreading across the country and contributing to the dramatic drop in bookings. The conflicting information and failure to focus our nation on saving lives is making this crisis worse. We are calling on all leaders in government to focus on solving the problem.

The United States of America has a long history of marshaling the resources, patriotism, ingenuity, and freedom of our nation to take on any challenge and lead the world. Aviation is a large part of this proud history. In order to fight this communicable disease, COVID-19, just like any we have faced before, we need to act together. We need government coordinating public and private actions, with healthcare authorities leading, and all stakeholders at the table to raise specific concerns and offer solutions.

We want to let you know that we have received numerous notes, calls, emails, and other communications from passengers applauding the professionalism and calm reassurance of Flight Attendants. Each of you are representing the best of aviation’s first responders as you reassure travelers, address concerns with safety always first, and act as incredible ambassadors for our industry.

If any Flight Attendant needs support during this time remember that AFA EAP is available at 800-424-2406.

We are working with other unions, our industry and people across Capitol Hill to address this situation. Thank you for all you do every day. Continue to take care of each other and fly safe.

In Solidarity,

Sara Nelson
AFA-CWA International President

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