Airlines should give flight attendants 10 hours of rest between flights: FAA

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) suggested on Thursday that flight attendants get 10 consecutive hours of rest between shifts.

The FAA will provide 60 days for public comment on the proposal before publishing it, the FAA said in a press release.

“The Biden-Harris Administration is proud to advance policies that protect and empower workers. This proposal will contribute to a safer, healthier workplace for flight attendants,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in the FAA’s statement.

FAA Administrator Steve Dickson added that the new rule would allow flight attendants to be properly rested as they work at “keeping passengers safe on every flight and especially in emergencies.”

The release noted that this proposal would give flight attendants an additional hour of rest compared to the current nine hours allotted between shifts. The proposal does not impact the 14-hour limit currently in place on work days for flight attendants.

An increase to these rest periods was approved by Congress in 2018 though it was never implemented by the Trump administration. After Congress passed the 2018 law to increase the rest period, the FAA missed a deadline required to publish the new regulation, according to The Associated Press.

“Flight attendant fatigue is real,” Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants said, to the AP. “Covid has only exacerbated the safety gap with long duty days, short nights and combative conditions on planes.”

While flight attendant unions like Nelson’s had lobbied for this change, the airline industry opposed it. 

Airlines for America, a trade group for the largest U.S. carriers which employ about two-thirds of the country’s flight attendants, estimated the change would cost $786 million over 10 years, the AP reported.

After the new rule is published, airlines will have 30 days to comply with the new rule, according to the AP.

The Hill has reached out to Airlines for America and the Association of Flight Attendants for comment.

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