(CNN) — Federal aviation officials announced Tuesday that flight attendants will soon have more mandatory rest time between flights.
Current FAA rules require an airline to give a flight attendant a nine-hour rest after serving 14 hours or less in most cases.
The new rule increases the rest period to 10 hours between shifts.
“Bouncers, like all essential transportation workers, work hard every day to keep the traveling public safe, and we owe them our full support,” U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg said in a statement. “This new rule will make it easier for flight attendants to do their jobs, which in turn will keep us all safely in the air.”
Flight crew unions have fought hard for a change, saying flight attendants are very tired and overworked after 14-hour shifts.
Airlines were notified by the Federal Aviation Administration of the upcoming rule changes last week, a source familiar with the policy said Monday.
The FAA had two public comment periods, in 2019 and 2021, on the proposed regulatory change. The agency said it has reviewed more than 1,000 responses.
The amendment was first approved by Congress in 2018, but was not enacted by the Trump administration.
Last week, House Transportation Committee chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon) said it was a priority to see the rules completed before his impending retirement.
The final rule will take effect 30 days after it is published on the Federal Register.
Rough time for flight attendants
“It’s about time! As first responders and aviation’s last line of defense, it’s critical that we are well-equipped and ready to perform our duties,” Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, said in a statement. .
“Covid has only widened the security gap with long shifts, short nights and combative conditions on planes,” Nelson said.
With demand surges as pandemic restrictions eased, 2022 was tough for flight attendants.
The flight attendants say situations like this, along with unpredictable schedules, wreak havoc on the mental and physical well-being of the crew.
It’s not just in the United States where flight attendants say they’re run in rags.
“Sickness levels have gone through the roof, fatigue levels have gone through the roof, not because [flight attendants are] reject or protest in any way. It’s just that they can’t handle it — they just can’t handle the constant changes,” said British flight attendant Kris Major.