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When Traveling on Revenue Tickets are we Eligible for the Commuter Program?

Source: AFA

Date: Jun 21, 2019

Source: Elines

Recently, and as summer passenger loads increase, those of us commuting to work by air have found it necessary to consider purchasing revenue tickets in order to reliably make it to work. As the number of us purchasing tickets due to high passenger volumes increase, there has been a commensurate increase in the number of irregularities occurring as a result of unexpected weather that have adversely impacted our ability to arrive at work in plenty of time for our flight assignments, even when buying tickets.

As the number of these instances increases, many of us have begun to ask questions about how the Commuter Program provided for in Section 28 of our JCBA works when we purchase revenue tickets.

It is very important to understand that the Commuter Program (Section 28) was negotiated based on the concept that most Flight Attendants travel to work by air using Non-Revenue Space Available (NRSA) Pass Travel. It was under this premise that the Commuter Program was designed and negotiated. Section 28.B.4.b. outlines the specific requirements that must be met in order to qualify for consideration under the program:

  • Flight Attendants must exercise good judgment and exert every reasonable effort to report for work, including having the reasonable potential to commute on either of at least two (2) flights listed through the Company’s employee reservations system. 
  • 24 hours prior to the flight’s departure time, both flights must be under authorization (levels) as displayed on the Company’s employee reservations system, including accounting for non-revenue space available travelers who are listed and have either a higher boarding priority or greater seniority than the commuting Flight Attendant. 
  • Both flights must be scheduled to arrive at the Flight Attendant’s domicile (or the point of her/his duty assignment) at least one hour prior to her/his report time. 

It is also important to understand that when we purchase a revenue ticket(s) or a ticket(s) under the 20% discount program, United’s Travel Policy delineates we may not also list for space available travel in the same market on the same dates of travel. Once a myUAdiscount ticket is purchased, you may not cancel the confirmed reservation to revert back to a space-available listing on the same day, same trip. 

It is because of these requirements that result when purchasing a ticket that these two travel options diverge. It is not that Flight Attendants who purchase tickets are not equally eligible to be considered under the Commuter Program. It is because of the rules that prevent us from listing while holding a confirmed reservation that the Commuter Program must be set aside and the action of the Flight Attendant who has purchased a ticket must be viewed and considered under a different set of circumstances.

In an instance where a Flight Attendant has purchased a revenue ticket to travel to work, it is the responsibility of the supervisor to evaluate the actions of the Flight Attendant in question and to determine if the action taken was sufficiently prudent to allow the Flight Attendant to get to work in the event of an irregularity. For example, when was the flight for which the ticket was purchased scheduled to arrive? Was the flight scheduled to arrive at the base or co-terminal where the flight assignment was scheduled to depart? Was there an alternate back-up flight on which the Flight Attendant could travel in the event of an irregularity? If all of the actions taken by the Flight Attendant can reasonably be viewed as having been “prudent” within the context of purchasing confirmed travel, a missed trip should not be assigned and there should be no attendance points assessed for any missed flight assignment.

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