We continue to receive inquiries about the acceptability of “passenger staging” on jet bridges being used as a means of facilitating on-time departures. As was indicated in the Quick Turn Article in the June 7, 2017 edition of Inflight Services Weekly (ISW), 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. Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) do not support this practice. If you encounter difficulties establishing boarding times with the Customer Service Representative (CSR), use your Crew Resource Management (CRM) skills to resolve the issue. Boarding is coordinated between the Flight Attendant assigned to the Purser/ISM/Lead position and the CSR during the pre-departure brief.
It is important to clearly define expectations and keep lines of communication open in addressing all issues that can influence an on time departure, including 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 Policies and Procedures and outlined on the Inflight Briefing Sheet (IBS) and the Inflight Preliminary Report (IPR). All processes, including auto-boarding (as described in our May 16, 2017 E-lines) 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 important to continue to file an Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS) report regarding any Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR) violations caused by early boarding. It also helps to follow up with a call, a note, or an e-mail to your Local Council, advising them immediately if you encounter problems with early boarding. We encourage all 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, please contact your Local Council Office.