My name is Raychel Armstrong, and I’ve been a Flight Attendant at Allegiant for over five years. In addition to serving on the TWU Local 577 Negotiating Team (NT), I am a member of the Fatigue Risk Review Committee (FRRC) and the ASAP Event Review Committee (ERC).
I have seen several posts and received many comments about the overly long duty days our Members have endured this past month. It has been brutal for our airline and for our workers. I have never had to call out fatigued in my entire time at Allegiant, but this month was different. I had to call out fatigued TWICE within two weeks. In both of these situations, I experienced very long delays that included mechanical issues, rescue planes, fuel stops, hot planes, people getting sick from hot planes, and many angry passengers. I was physically exhausted by these delays, and my body and my mind were in no way capable of performing safety related duties.
As a Negotiator, my team and I have tried relentlessly to negotiate an option to “time out” once our duty period reaches a certain point. Our Flight Attendants have some of the longest duty days in the industry. Many carriers similar to us limit the hours that a flight attendant can work within a day, and some carriers allow their flight attendants to be relieved of their duties after a certain hour of being delayed. When we have addressed our workgroup’s concerns and asked for similar protections, the Company told us that there is already an option for our Flight Attendants. That option is to call out fatigued. Our Union informed Management that our Flight Attendants fear calling out fatigued. Not only do they feel that it isn’t an option, but they’re afraid they could be punished for it. The Company’s response was that your Negotiating Team needed to help the Company educate and promote the proper use of the fatigue program.
In Tracy’s last forum in SFB, she stated she doesn’t want her Flight Attendants to work 16-18 hour days, and if they do occur they should be few and far between. But 16+ hour days are not rare for us; they are actually very common during the hot summer months. Calling out fatigued is an option, and I encourage my fellow Flight Attendants to call out fatigued, if it’s necessary. As Allegiant Air Flight Attendants, we are safety professionals. Performing our duties while fatigued not only puts our own lives at risk, but we are also risking the safety of our passengers and our fellow crew members.
Please review the Allegiant Fatigue Risk Management Program information. To locate information on the Fatigue Risk Management Program, login into G4Connect > Inflight > Safety and Security > Fatigue > Inflight FRMP. You may also review the more comprehensive information about fatigue provided by the FAA. Remember, if you reach a point in your work day, where you believe that you can’t safely perform your duties, it is not only your right, but your responsibility to call in fatigued. If you have questions about reporting fatigued, please feel free to contact me; NT and FRRC Member Christa Gifford; or FRRC Member Henry Olsen.