Flight Attendants Call for Responsible Halt to China Flights

Washington, D.C. (January 31, 2020) — The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, AFL-CIO, representing 50,000 Flight Attendants at 20 airlines, issued this statement following last night’s travel advisory change by U.S. State Department to “do not travel to China” and the declaration by the World Health Organization (WHO) that the coronavirus is a “global health emergency”:

“AFA is calling for clear direction from our government to U.S. airlines to pull down all travel to China until the spread of coronavirus is contained. The government must work with our airlines to discontinue all service, with consideration for evacuation of flight crew, and with consideration to service that facilitates efforts by public health officials to contain spread of the virus," stated Sara Nelson, AFA-CWA International President.

“The coronavirus may be spread by infected persons not yet displaying symptoms. For this reason, it is critical that any crew potentially infected through travel to and from China not be assigned to any additional flights until safely through the fourteen day incubation period. These crews must be pay protected for any scheduled flights and provided with the means to get food and other supplies while remaining out of public contact. This action is also on the AFA communicable disease checklist provided to all of our airlines again on January 21, 2020.

“We need responsible leadership from our government and we need it now. We will continue to work with our airlines, who have been exceeding precautions suggested by the administration – albeit now these actions are clearly not enough. This must end now. This is an emergency and our government must take a leadership role, in consultation with all stakeholders, in order to end this public health threat and protect American workers.”


The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, (AFA) AFL-CIO represents 50,000 Flight Attendants at 20 airlines. AFA is the union that has advanced the Flight Attendant profession for 74 years, beating back discrimination and improving wages, benefits, working conditions, and aviation safety, health and security in the aircraft cabin. AFA also partners with the 700,000-member strong Communications Workers of America (CWA), AFL-CIO. Visit us at www.afacwa.org.

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