Flight Attendants Now Required to Have Longer Rest Periods, FAA Rules

“This new rule will make it easier for flight attendants to do their jobs, which in turn will keep all of us safe in the air.”

Cabin crew pushing service cart and serve to customer on the airplane during flight

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The Federal Aviation Administration will now require flight attendants to get longer rest periods between shifts in new guidance issued this week.

Flight attendants will now be required to rest for at least 10 consecutive hours between work shifts, according to the FAA, increasing the mandatory rest period by an hour. The new rule will apply to flight attendants on domestic, flag, and supplemental flights who are scheduled to work for up to 14 hours.

Airlines will also no longer be permitted to reduce rest periods in certain circumstances.

“Flight attendants, like all essential transportation workers, work hard every day to keep the traveling public safe, and we owe them our full support,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a statement. “This new rule will make it easier for flight attendants to do their jobs, which in turn will keep all of us safe in the air.”

Being a flight attendant comes with perks like flying for free, but requires intensive safety training and can include grueling or less-than-desirable hours (think: super early morning shuttle flights, for example). 

“Flight attendants perform critical safety roles,” Acting FAA Administrator Billy Nolen said in the statement. “This rule puts them and safety first.”

Typically, flight attendants are paid from the moment the cabin doors close and don't usually get paid for delays. That’s a policy Delta Air Lines is working to change by paying flight attendants during the boarding process.

Flight attendants are also often forced to put up with annoying behavior from passengers from those who switch seats without asking first to those who use the bathroom at the most inopportune moments.  

Sara Nelson, the president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, said the new rule equalizes the minimum rest period with that of commercial airline pilots.

"Proper rest is critical for Flight Attendants to do our work as aviation’s first responders,” Nelson said in a statement. “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.”

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