FAA
FLIGHT ATTENDANT
FLIGHT AND DUTY TIME REGULATIONS

The issue of flight attendant crew rest can be complex, given the language of the regulation itself. While it is unknown how many air carriers actually abide by the regulation, the issue of "RESERVE" or "STANDBY" time brings a bit of confusion into the picture. In a sentence, 24-hr. reserve / standby is illegal for flight attendants or pilots. Any industry objections or lawsuits doesn't suspend the regulation. Immediately below is the FAA Regulation; following the regulation is an explanation as to how the regulation is designed to be employed.

In addition to enforcement by the FAA, OSHA should independently insist on air carriers following this safety regulation.

Flight attendants should keep in mind that in the U.S. justice system, being a flight attendant (majority female) does not subject the individual to discrimination. If the pilot's rights under the FARs are honored, so must the flight attendants. It should be noted also that a union cannot bargain for a breach of the FARs, nor an act of discrimination.

While the crew rest regulations are typically not to the satisfaction of management, they are in full force and effect. Although the FAA has been repeatedly criticized by the media for their selective non-enforcement of the regulations, the individual still has a responsibility to abide by the regulations.

A 'plain language' description follows the regulation.



DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Parts 121, 125, and 135

Flight Attendant Duty Period Limitations and Rest
Requirements

CERTIFICATION AND OPERATIONS:

DOMESTIC, FLAG, AND SUPPLEMENTAL AIR CARRIERS
AND
COMMERCIAL OPERATORS OF LARGE AIRCRAFT

Sec. 121.467 Flight attendant duty period limitations and rest requirements: Domestic, flag, and supplemental air carriers and commercial operators.

(a) For purposes of this section -

Calendar day means the period of elapsed time, using Coordinated Universal Time or local time, that begins at midnight and ends 24 hours later at the next midnight.

Duty period means the period of elapsed time between reporting for an assignment involving flight time and release from that assignment by the domestic, flag, or supplemental air carrier or commercial operator. The time is calculated using either Coordinated Universal Time or local time to reflect the total elapsed time.

Flight attendant means an individual, other than a flight crewmember, who is assigned by a domestic, flag, or supplemental air carrier or commercial operator, in accordance with the required minimum crew complement under the certificate holder's operations specifications or in addition to that minimum complement, to duty in an aircraft during flight time and whose duties include but are not necessarily limited to cabin-safety-related responsibilities.

Rest period means the period free of all restraint or duty for a domestic, flag, or supplemental air carrier or commercial operator and free of all responsibility for work or duty should the occasion arise. [Note: FAA legal interpretations dictate that if a flight attendant is mandated by the carrier to respond to a pager call or to answer a phone, she / he is not considered to be in a period qualifying as a 'rest period.']

In a legal interpretation by Nicholas G. Garaufis Chief Counsel - dated 4 June, 1999:

The FAA has consistently interpreted "rest" to mean a continuous period of time during which the flight crewmember is free from all restraint by a certificate holder. This includes freedom from work and freedom from responsibility for work should the occasion arise. Thus, a crewmember who was required to be near a phone, carry a beeper, or maintain contact by computer so that he would be available should the carrier need to notify him/her of a reassignment would not be on rest. However, there would be no rest violation where an air carrier DOES NOT IMPOSE any requirements on the crewmember during the rest period, and the crewmember just happens to answer the phone (or otherwise contact the employer) when the air carrier calls to notify him/her of a reassignment that will begin after the completion of his/her rest. [emphasis added]



FROM THE 'PREAMBLE' TO THE REGULATION:


RESERVE STATUS, STAND-BY STATUS, OR SIMILAR ASSIGNMENTS

FAA notes that the time during which a flight attendant is responsible for contacting a certificate holder or for being available to be contacted by a certificate holder for an assignment (e.g., reserve or stand-by status) does not meet any rest period requirements, because the FAA has defined a rest period as free of all restraint or duty and free of all responsibility for work or duty should the occasion arise.

(b) Except as provided in paragraph (c) of this section, a domestic, flag, or supplemental air carrier or commercial operator may assign a duty period to a flight attendant only when the applicable duty period limitations and rest requirements of this paragraph are met.

(1) Except as provided in paragraphs (b)(4), (b)(5), and (b)(6) of this section, no domestic, flag, or supplemental air carrier or commercial operator may assign a flight attendant to a scheduled duty period of more than 14 hours.

(2) Except as provided in paragraph (b)(3) of this section, a flight attendant scheduled to a duty period of 14 hours or less as provided under paragraph (b)(1) of this section must be given a scheduled rest period of at least 9 consecutive hours. This rest period must occur between the completion of the scheduled duty period and the commencement of the subsequent duty period.

(3) The rest period required under paragraph (b)(2) of this section may be scheduled or reduced to 8 consecutive hours if the flight attendant is provided a subsequent rest period of at least 10 consecutive hours; this subsequent rest period must be scheduled to begin no later than 24 hours after the beginning of the reduced rest period and must occur between the completion of the scheduled duty period and the commencement of the subsequent duty period.

(4) A domestic, flag, or supplemental air carrier or commercial operator may assign a flight attendant to a scheduled duty period of more than 14 hours, but no more than 16 hours, if the air carrier or commercial operator has assigned to the flight or flights in that duty period at least one flight attendant in addition to the minimum flight attendant complement required for the flight or flights in that duty period under the air carrier's or the commercial operator's operations specifications.

(5) A domestic, flag, or supplemental air carrier or commercial operator may assign a flight attendant to a scheduled duty period of more than 16 hours, but no more than 18 hours, if the air carrier or commercial operator has assigned to the flight or flights in that duty period at least two flight attendants, in addition to the minimum flight attendant complement required for the flight or flights in that duty period under the air carrier's or the commercial operator's operations specifications.

6) A domestic, flag, or supplemental air carrier or commercial operator may assign a flight attendant to a scheduled duty period of more than 18 hours, but no more than 20 hours, if the scheduled duty period includes one or more flights that land or take off outside the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia, and if the air carrier or commercial operator has assigned to the flight or flights in that duty period at least three flight attendants, in addition to the minimum flight attendant complement required for the flight or flights in that duty period under the domestic air carrier's or the commercial operator's operations specifications.

(7) Except as provided in paragraph (b)(8) of this section, a flight attendant scheduled to a duty period of more than 14 hours but no more than 20 hours, as provided in paragraphs (b)(4), (b)(5), and (b)(6) of this section, must be given a scheduled rest period of at least 12 consecutive hours. This rest period must occur between the completion of the scheduled duty period and the commencement of the subsequent duty period.

(8) The rest period required under paragraph (b)(7) of this section may be scheduled or reduced to 10 consecutive hours if the flight attendant is provided a subsequent rest period of at least 14 consecutive hours; this subsequent rest period must be scheduled to begin no later than 24 hours after the beginning of the reduced rest period and must occur between the completion of the scheduled duty period and the commencement of the subsequent duty period.

NOTE:

The above rule (8) may not be waived under any circumstances.

(9) Notwithstanding paragraphs (b)(4), (b)(5), and (b)(6) of this section, if a domestic, flag, or supplemental air carrier or commercial operator elects to reduce the rest period to 10 hours as authorized by paragraph (b)(8) of this section, the air carrier or commercial operator may not schedule a flight attendant for a duty period of more than 14 hours during the 24-hour period commencing after the beginning of the reduced rest period.

(10) No domestic, flag, or supplemental air carrier or commercial operator may assign a flight attendant any duty period with the air carrier or commercial operator, unless the flight attendant has had at least the minimum rest required under this section.

(11) No domestic, flag, or supplemental air carrier or commercial operator may assign a flight attendant to perform any duty with the air carrier or operator during any required rest period.

(12) Time spent in transportation, not local in character, that a domestic, flag, or supplemental air carrier or commercial operator requires of a flight attendant and provides to transport the flight attendant to an airport at which that flight attendant is to serve on a flight as a crewmember, or from an airport at which the flight attendant was relieved from duty to return to the flight attendant's home station, is not considered part of a rest period.

(13) Each domestic, flag, or supplemental air carrier must relieve each flight attendant engaged in air transportation and each commercial operator must relieve each flight attendant engaged in air commerce from all further duty for at least 24 consecutive hours during any 7 consecutive calendar days.

(14) A flight attendant is not considered to be scheduled for duty in excess of duty period limitations if the flights to which the flight attendant is assigned are scheduled and normally terminate within the limitations but due to circumstances beyond the control of the domestic, flag, or supplemental air carrier or commercial operator (such as adverse weather conditions) are not at the time of departure expected to reach their destination within the scheduled time.

NOTE:

The rule above (14) pertains to duty only. It does not serve to extend the beginning time of the "subsequent" rest period required under section (8), above.

(c) Notwithstanding paragraph (b) of this section, a domestic, flag, or supplemental air carrier or commercial operator may apply the flight crewmember flight time and duty limitations and rest requirements of this part to flight attendants for all operations conducted under this part provided that-

(1) The certificate holder establishes written procedures that-

(i) Apply to all flight attendants used in the certificate holder's operation;

(ii) Include the flight crewmember requirements, as appropriate to the operation being conducted, except that rest facilities on board the aircraft are not required;

(iii) Include provisions to add one flight attendant to the minimum flight attendant complement for each flight crewmember who is in excess of the minimum number required in the aircraft type certificate data sheet and who is assigned to the aircraft under the provisions of subparts Q, R, and S, as applicable, of this part;

(iv) Are approved by the Administrator and are described or referenced in the certificate holder's operations specifications; and

(2) Whenever the Administrator finds that revisions are necessary for the continued adequacy of the written procedures that are required by paragraph (c)(1) of this section and that had been granted final approval, the certificate holder must, after notification by the Administrator, make any changes in the procedures that are found necessary by the Administrator. Within 30 days after the certificate holder receives such notice, it may file a petition to reconsider the notice with the FAA Flight Standards District Office that is charged with the overall inspection of the certificate holder's operations. The filing of a petition to reconsider stays the notice, pending decision by the Administrator. However, if the Administrator finds that an emergency requires immediate action in the interest of safety, the Administrator may, upon a statement of the reasons, require a change effective without stay.



IN PLAIN LANGUAGE


In normal operations, the pilots' duty day is typically more restrictive than the flight attendants. However, since flight attendants can be readily switched from one duty assignment to another, the regulations also uniquely address the flight attendants' duty day.

The FARs don't get involved with the issue of 'flight time' for flight attendants, only 'duty time.' The FARs basically focus on the rest time which follows a duty period.

The FARs focus on two variables as duty time increases; crew complement (extra flight attendants) and extra rest, prior to any third duty period.

As a simple model, the number of flight attendants assigned to a trip pattern / pairing dictate the crew's duty day capacity. Minimum staffing dictates a minimum crew time. Thus, if a trip begins with more than the FAA certified minimum flight attendant complement, the crew day can be stretched.

Following a duty period of 14 hours or less, a flight attendant will normally be given a rest period of 9 hours.

14 HOURS OR LESS

[__ <14 HRS __][_9 HRS __][__NEXT DUTY PERIOD_]
                                                    DUTY         REST
-------------------------------------

That rest period can be reduced to 8 hours, with a penalty rest period at the end of the next trip, consisting of a 10 hour rest period. However, this requires looking backward to the beginning of the first rest period (8 Hours) - then moving forward 24 hours to verify that the 'penalty' rest period (10 hours) is started within that 24-hour time frame. That 'penalty' rest period must be completed (NO reduction) before the next duty period begins. In this case, no additional flight attendant is required, as the duty period is 14 hours or less.

REDUCED REST
14 HOURS OR LESS

[__ <14 HRS __][_ 8 HRS __][__NEXT DUTY PERIOD__]__10 HRS__][_NEXT DUTY_]
                              DUTY     REDUCED                                      PENALTY                                                                                               REST                                               REST                             
[_______________ 24 HRS________________]

PENALTY REST MUST BEGIN WITHIN 24 HRS OF COMPLETION OF THE FIRST DUTY PERIOD AND THE START OF THE THIRD DUTY PERIOD

-------------------------------------

14  -  16 HRS DUTY

The 14 hour duty period can be extended to 16 hours IF the carrier adds another flight attendant to the minimum crew required by the aircraft certification. If the aircraft is certified with 3 flight attendants, but the carrier optionally uses four, the extra flight attendant requirement is met, for the purposes of extending the duty time to 16 hours.

Similarly, the 14 hour duty period can be extended to 18 hours IF the carrier adds a second flight attendant to the minimum crew required by the aircraft certification. If the aircraft is certified with 3 flight attendants, but the carrier optionally uses five, the extra flight attendant requirement is met, for the purposes of extending the duty time to 18 hours. 18 hours is the maximum domestic duty day for flight attendants.

Additional rest is required at the end of an extended duty day trip.

Following a duty period of between 14 hours and 20 hours, a flight attendant will normally be given a rest period of 12 hours. The rest period (12 hours) must be completed before the next (third) duty period begins.

14 - 20 HOURS DUTY

TWO / THREE ADDITIONAL FLIGHT ATTENDANTS REQUIRED


GREATER THAN 14 HRS, BUT LESS THAN 16 HRS OF DUTY = 1 ADDITIONAL FLIGHT ATTENDANT

GREATER THAN 16 HRS, BUT LESS THAN 18 HRS OF DUTY = 2 ADDITIONAL FLIGHT ATTENDANTS

[__>14 <20 HRS__][__12 HRS__][__NEXT DUTY PERIOD__]
                                                 DUTY              REST
-------------------------------------

Again, that rest period can be reduced to 10 hours, with a penalty at the end of the next trip, consisting of a 14-hour rest period. This option requires looking backward to the beginning to the first rest period (10 Hours) - then moving forward 24 hours to verify that the 'penalty' rest period (14 hours) is started within that 24-hour time frame. That 'penalty' rest period must be completed (NO reduction) before the next (third) duty period begins.

REDUCED REST
14 - 20 HOURS DUTY


[_>14 <20 HRS_][_10 HRS_][_NEXT DUTY PERIOD__]__14 HRS__][_NEXT DUTY_]
                               DUTY     REDUCED                                   PENALTY    < 14 HRS                                                                               REST                                             REST
[_______________ 24 HRS________________]
TWO / THREE ADDITIONAL FLIGHT ATTENDANTS REQUIRED


PENALTY REST MUST BEGIN WITHIN 24 HRS OF COMPLETION OF THE FIRST DUTY PERIOD AND THE START OF THE THIRD DUTY PERIOD

IF A REDUCED REST PERIOD IS USED, THE SUBSEQUENT (third) DUTY PERIOD CANNOT EXCEED 14 HOURS.

-------------------------------------

Duty time can be increased 20 hours in the case of INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS, which requires the addition of 3 flight attendants. If the aircraft is certified with 12 flight attendants, but the carrier optionally uses fifteen, the extra flight attendant requirement is met, for the purposes of extending the duty time to 20 hours.

-------------------------------------

All flight attendants who are assigned to duties in an aircraft for operations that require a flight attendant, including flight attendants in excess of the minimum flight attendant crew complement, are subject to duty limitations and rest requirements.

A duty period as defined in the FARs means the period of elapsed time between reporting for an assignment involving FLIGHT TIME and release from that assignment.


IF DUTY TIME EXCEEDS SCHEDULED DUTY TIME WHEN BEYOND THE CERTIFICATE HOLDER'S CONTROL

If actual duty exceeds scheduled duty time, because of circumstances beyond the control of the carrier, such as adverse weather conditions, a violation is not deemed to have occurred.

A flight attendant is not be considered to be scheduled for duty in excess of duty time limitations if the flights to which the flight attendant is assigned are scheduled and normally terminate within the limitations but, because of circumstances beyond the control of the domestic, flag, or supplemental air carrier or (such as adverse weather conditions), are not at the time of departure expected to reach their destination within the scheduled time.

A recent FAA ruling states that a flight may not take off if duty times are known to be exceeded if the flight departs. However, if weather or holding is encountered on the last flight, a violation will not be deemed to have occurred.

There is no waiver on the '24  -  in  -  seven' rule.


FLIGHT ATTENDANT RESPONSIBILITY

The FAA position is that only an operator, not a flight attendant, should be responsible for ensuring that duty limitations and rest requirements are met. The FAA based its decision on the fact that a flight attendant could be called upon to decide between the violation of a regulation and possible disciplinary action from the company. That misunderstanding and conflict between company scheduling personnel and flight attendants could occur at a time when flight attendants should be giving their full attention to the passengers. In cases in which a flight attendant is aware that an assignment does not meet duty period and rest requirements, the FAA recommends that the flight attendant bring the situation to the air carrier's attention. If the situation is not corrected, the flight attendant should then inform the FAA.

However, this recommendation does not preclude a flight attendant from informing the FAA before contacting the air carrier. In addition, flight attendant duty and rest time records are subject to FAA review. Air carriers found to be in noncompliance with the regulation are subject to enforcement action.


FATIGUE

The FAA reviewed extensive amounts of literature on fatigue related to travel and extended work periods as well as to shift work. The FAA acknowledged that it is evident that fatigue may affect flight attendant performance and that proper scheduling practices may help avoid compromising flight attendant performance. The FAA recognizes that flight attendants perform essential safety duties and has determined that the requirements contained in FAR 121.467 enhance safety by protecting flight attendants from acute and chronic fatigue, that could occur if fatigued flight attendants work excessive duty hours or receive inadequate rest.

-------------------------------------

                                     NORMAL                            REST PERIOD                         
SCHEDULED           MINIMUM   REDUCED    FOLLOWING      No. OF
      DUTY                       REST            REST              REDUCED        FLIGHT
   PERIOD                   PERIOD       PERIOD               REST          ATTENDANTS

A.   14 hrs or less             9 hrs              8hrs                   10 hrs              Minimum
B.   14-16 hrs                  12 hrs           10 hrs                   14 hrs           Minimum + 1
C.   16-18 hrs                  12 hrs           10 hrs                   14 hrs           Minimum + 2
D.   *18-20 hrs                12 hrs           10 hrs                   14 hrs           Minimum + 3

*Applies only to duty periods with one or more flights that land or take off outside the 48 contiguous States and the District of Columbia.