We continue to receive reports about the inconsistency with which passengers are being staged in jet bridges. As the Union and company have previously communicated in the June 6, 2017 publication of E-Lines and the August 10, 2016 ISW, respectively, under no circumstances should a jet bridge be used as a passenger staging or holding area prior to boarding. Using the jet bridge to stage passengers is unsafe and is to be avoided, United Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) do not support this practice. If you encounter difficulties establishing boarding times with the CSR, use your CRM skills to resolve the issue. Boarding is coordinated between the Flight Attendant assigned to the Purser/ISM/Lead position and the Customer Service Representative (CSR) during the pre-departure briefing.
It’s important to clearly define expectations and keep lines of communication open in addressing all issues that can impact an on time departure; such as boarding times. The Purser/ISM/Lead should communicate with the CSR to establish a clear understanding of boarding times based on the aircraft type as listed in Policy and Procedure Manual and outlined on the IBS and the IPR. All processes, including auto-boarding, should be accomplished to ensure the first customer will cross the threshold of the aircraft at the established boarding time without the need to wait on the jet bridge.
It is imperative that Flight Attendants continue to file IOR reports regarding any FAR violations caused by early boarding. It also helps to follow up with your Local Council, advising them immediately if you encounter problems with early boarding at your local station. We encourage all of our Members to advise our AFA Safety, Health & Security Committee if you see or are asked to deviate from our Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) leading to working conditions that are unsafe or that inhibit your ability to comply with FARs. For additional information, contact your Local Council office.