Flight Attendant Union Calls Out Key Components to New CDC Guidelines: Asymptomatic and Mask Wearing

Flight Attendant Union Calls Out Key Components to New CDC Guidelines: Asymptomatic and Mask Wearing

January 8, 2022 - Over the holiday week and in the middle of operational challenges across the industry, the CDC abruptly changed the guidelines, following a COVID test positive result, from 10 days to 5 days for returning to work, if asymptomatic. Remember that following a letter from Delta Air Lines asking for the change, AFA sent a letter to CDC in opposition.

After the CDC announced change, AFA made clear our concerns publicly. 

"There are two significant caveats in the guidance that recognize concerns raised by our union. CDC recommends reducing quarantine to five days only if asymptomatic and with continued mask wearing for an additional five days. If any business pressures a worker to return to work before they feel better we will make clear it is an unsafe work environment, which will cause a much greater disruption than any 'staffing shortages.' We cannot allow pandemic fatigue to lead to decisions that extend the life of the pandemic or put policies on the backs of workers,” said AFA President Sara Nelson. 

Already, Delta Air Lines, has implemented this policy and management is pressuring workers across the airline to come back to work after 5 days even though they are still symptomatic and testing positive. Reports vary from worker to worker and there’s little to no consistency like there would be with a union contract and a union discussing policy with management and ensuring consistent treatment. This is not OK at Delta or any airline.

Remain Vigilant Against Omicron

As we work flights and navigate airports with more passengers, it’s critical for all of us to do our part to keep ourselves, our passengers and our families at home safe. Omicron is spreading rapidly and is more contagious than other variants and estimated to spread to as many as five people at a time, on average. This is causing massive disruption at work with more Flight Attendants, pilots and other airline workers sick and off the line after testing positive. 

First, the best way to protect ourselves is to get vaccinated and boosted. Especially after a booster, infection rates drop dramatically and symptoms are generally less severe and shorter in length of time affecting people. Still need to get vaccinated or boosted? Visit vaccines.gov to find an appointment near you.

Just like we practice our immediate response items every year in CQ, it's important to constantly check our actions to protect ourselves and minimize the risk of spreading the virus. If you’re working or traveling over the coming weeks, do a constant silent review of these actions:

  • Wear a mask, tightly covering your nose and mouth, any time you’re in public spaces. Use and N95 or KN95 if possible. 
  • Wash and sanitize your hands regularly while at work and during travel
  • Be aware of local COVID-19 restrictions when on layover
  • Rethink layover activities, especially any social interaction
  • Practice the same mask etiquette around your flying partners on or off the plane (you are a leader and the traveling public will follow your lead)
  • Maintain social distance wherever possible
  • Not only will our planes and travel spaces be more crowded over the next week, many of the passengers flying during the holidays will be traveling to and from family gatherings and other situations where the risk of infection is significantly increased, often without the onset of symptoms. Redouble efforts to keep yourself safe during this time.

Check with your local council or MEC and familiarize yourself with COVID-19 exposure and test positive contractual agreements and/or your airline's policy. 

News Desk

Latest News

See All »

Media Releases

See All »

Latest Tweets

Union Plus Benefits

union-plus.jpgUnion Plus Benefits for AFA-CWA Members!
AFA-CWA members are automatically eligible for the following Union Plus benefits and discounts.

More benefits »