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FAA to Extend Flight Attendant Rest Period

Frontier Airlines cabin crew (photo Twitter @flyfrontier)

The Biden Administration is implementing 10-hour rest periods for U.S.-based cabin crew, in line with legislation passed by congress four years ago. This raises the rest period from 8 hours and brings flight attendant rest in line with that of flight deck crew.

Federal Aviation Administration Acting Administrator Billy Nolen said on Tuesday “I can tell you first-hand that well-rested crew members are important to safety… Flight attendants are the foundation of aviation’s safety culture starting with cabin safety.”

The pandemic has not been easy on the world’s cabin crews with rates of onboard disturbances spiking over the last few years, but the lifting of mask mandates seems to have lowered the number of instances it is still an omnipresent concern.

“As aviation’s first responders and last line of defense, it is critical that we are well-rested and ready to perform our duties,” Nelson said. “Covid has only exacerbated the safety gap with long duty days, short nights, and combative conditions on planes.”

The American airline industry is already incredibly short-staffed and there is no way to tell if this new legislation will have a greater effect on airlines timetables. With many flights being delayed on a daily basis this writer can only hope that the 10-hour rest period can entice more people to pursue a career as cabin crew and further strengthen the aviation industry. In any case this is an excellent step forward for the health and safety of air crew and, as an extension, the passengers.

The Federal Aviation Administration finalized the plan to require a 10-hour irreducible rest period. This law was passed in 2018 under the Trump Administration but was never enacted.

“Credit first and foremost goes to Flight Attendants on the frontlines who fought so hard for this moment and need this rest more than ever in the most difficult time” Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA said in a statement.

It is unclear how the additional 2 hours of rest will affect the already struggling airline industry in regards to scheduling but the health and safety of all crew, both in the cabin and on the flight deck, should never be downplayed as they are responsible for the safety of all passengers.

“Proper rest is critical for Flight Attendants to do our work as aviation’s first responders. Today was a long time coming, but it is here. We won’t forget how we achieved this major regulatory change for minimum rest. Flight Attendants need this rest to do our jobs. But ‘rest assured,’ we won’t ever rest in our work to ensure the continued safest transportation system in the world for all of the people within it.” Nelson concluded.


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