Worldwide Airport Protests Against United Airlines’ Flight Attendant Staffing Cuts

CHICAGO – Thursday, December 13, the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA will conduct picketing and leafleting at 16 major airports around the globe – from Hong Kong and Frankfurt to San Francisco, Chicago, Houston, and Newark – United Airlines Flight Attendants and supporters will take frustrations with management decisions public.

Staffing Cuts Affect Safety and ServiceAs airlines make record profits and succumb to Wall Street pressure, United announced last month that it will compete at the lower standard already set by American and Delta by cutting a Flight Attendant position on most international flights. United’s justification is that starting in February, meals for business class passengers will be pre-plated on the ground and, according to the airline, “eliminating the need for a Flight Attendant.”

The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA) says “staffing is fundamental to safety and service.” Fewer Flight Attendants mean fewer trained crewmembers to respond to emergencies, slower boarding, and decreased customer service levels during flights.

“Instead of leading U.S. carriers and distinguishing United Airlines with superior safety and enhanced customer service, the airline is lowering its standards to follow American and Delta,” said Ken Diaz, President of AFA’s United Master Executive Council, representing 24,000 Flight Attendants of the 50,000 AFA members at 20 airlines, including United. “This is not the way to say we love our passengers.”

Staffing Cuts Affect Safety and Service“Catering on the ground is not a substitute for first responders in the sky,” said Diaz. “When United is making record profits, it should not be cutting back on the people who are on the front lines of safeguarding and serving passengers. A profitable major airline should not be rushing to reduce customer service. The staffing cut announcement was the straw that broke the camel’s back. We are calling on this management to fix computer glitches, eliminate inhumane schedules, and increase staffing so we have the necessary tools to focus on the best experience for the traveling public.”

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The December 13 actions will take place at these airports:

Boston (BOS) - 0800-0900, Upper Level - Terminal B

Chicago (ORD) - 1000-1100, Upper Level Departures - Between Terminals 1 & 2

Cleveland (CLE) - 0900-1000, Departure Level door 7

Denver (DEN) - 1200-1330, Main Terminal (west side, outside United ticket counter)

Frankfurt (FRA) - 0900-1000, Terminal B - Directly in front of United Check-in

Hong Kong (HKG) - 0900-1100, Departure Level - Terminal 1 - Door 3

Guam (GUM) - 1700-1800, Intersection of Marine Corps Drive and Route 14A (By JFK high school, Tamuning)

Honolulu (HNL) - 1100-1200, Departure Level - In front of United Check-in

Houston (IAH) - 1000-1500, JFK Blvd at Greens Road

Las Vegas (LAS) - 1030-1130, Departure Level - Terminal 3

London (LHR) - 1030-1230, Arrival Level – Café Nero

Los Angeles (LAX) - 1100-1200, Upper Level - Terminal 7 & 8 – Briefing at 1030

Newark (EWR) - 1100-1300, Terminal C – Level 2 Doors 1 & 5 | Level 3 Doors 1 & 3

Tokyo Narita (NRT) - 1600-1700, Departure Level Curbside - Near United Ticket Counters

San Francisco (SFO) - 1100-1300, Upper Level Departures - Terminal 3

Washington-Dulles (IAD) - 1400-1600, Departure Level - In Front of United Check-in

For more information, visit

The Association of Flight Attendants is the Flight Attendant union. Focused 100 percent on Flight Attendant issues, AFA has been the leader in advancing the Flight Attendant profession for 73 years. Serving as the voice for Flight Attendants in the workplace, in the aviation industry, in the media and on Capitol Hill, AFA has transformed the Flight Attendant profession by raising wages, benefits and working conditions. Nearly 50,000 Flight Attendants come together to form AFA, part of the 700,000-member strong Communications Workers of America (CWA), AFL-CIO. Visit us at

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