Remain Vigilant During Holiday Travel and Omicron

Remain Vigilant During Holiday Travel and Omicron

December 23, 2021 - 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. Planes and airports will be crowded even as cases surge across the country.

Omicron is now the leading variant of COVID-19 in the U.S. and it is spreading rapidly. Omicron is more contagious than other variants and is estimated to spread to as many as five people at a time, on average. The good news is that over 60 percent of the U.S. population is now vaccinated against COVID-19 and the severity of disease and risk of hospitalization/death appears to be lower with Omicron than other variants like Delta. But we don’t yet know why — the variant could be less virulent or it may be because so many people in the population have already been infected or vaccinated, so there is some residual immunity.

First, the best way to protect ourselves is to get vaccinated and boosted. Still need to get vaccinated or boosted? Visit 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, covering your nose and mouth, any time you’re in public spaces
  • 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 or MEC and familiarize yourself with COVID-19 exposure and test positive contractual agreements and/or your airline's policy in addition to CDC guidelines.

Airline management is now pushing the CDC to shorten the quarantine period for breakthrough cases from 10 days to 5 days. AFA sent a letter to the CDC today, pushing back: "If a fully vaccinated crewmember tests positive – whether for the Omicron, Delta, or another strain - we support your agency’s current recommendation to isolate for 10 days for several reasons," wrote AFA President Sara Nelson to the CDC. "Flight Attendants should not be expected to return to work until they test negative and do not exhibit symptoms. We do not know if 10 days represents that “magic number,” but we do not see the justification for reducing the number of days at this time." Read the full letter >

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