The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA-CWA) leader Sara Nelson has advocated for a halt to all leisure travel. The union is the largest representative of airline staff in the United States with around 50,000 members. The group feels that employee health is at risk by working on non-essential flights amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
According to Point Me To The Plane, Nelson said that over 100 flight attendants have tested positive for coronavirus. Additionally, one employee has died after contracting it. Along with these cases, more than 1,000 flight attendants have been in self-quarantine amid the pandemic.
The union leader added current methods of protection are not enough. Therefore, a call for a further reduction in flights has been made.
Nelson said the following, as shared by Point Me To The Plane.
“We’ve had personal protective equipment issues and supply chain issues, where our airlines are actually not able to get the supplies to get on our planes.”
Would it be feasible?
Even though this may sound like a good idea on paper, it could be a struggle to implement. Ultimately, the union has not defined what it defines as leisure travel. What seems to be leisure travel for one person may be essential for another.
There are countless people relying on air travel for important personal and financial reasons. The process to determine if each person’s need is for leisure or not can become complicated.
Additionally, commercial flights are generally filled with passengers that are flying for different reasons. One customer may be flying for urgent medical work while the other may be on vacation.
Nonetheless, 75 percent of the world’s flights are already down compared to this time last year. Fear of catching the virus and global travel restrictions have rendered most “leisure” services temporarily redundant. Therefore, the majority of routes that are still active have been deemed essential enough to keep going.
Regardless, there does need to be more efficient protection against the spread of the virus. Especially for crew members that are constantly traveling across regions that don’t have proper screening processes at airports.
Ultimately, investments in better quarantine methods and higher quality airport screening would go a long way for the aviation industry as a whole. It could help employees feel confident of their health while on their travels. It could also maintain a balance for airlines to keep operations going and perhaps open up borders sooner.
Simple Flying reached out to the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA for further comment on its idea but did not hear back before publication. We will update the article with any further announcements.
What are your thoughts on the union’s proposals? Is this is a good idea across the globe? Let us know what you think in the comment section.