Airline Passengers Benefit As Flight Attendants Gain Ground On Sanitation And Temperature Standards

February 19, 2011

Flight Attendants Get Cabin Health and Safety Standards in Senate’s FAA Reauthorization

Washington, DC – Members of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA) put key U.S. Senate offices on speed dial in a successful call-in campaign to press for long-overdue health and safety protections: Yesterday, the Senate defeated an attempt to strip OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the USA) protections for Flight Attendants from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Bill. The amendment to remove health and safety protections for Flight Attendants and passengers, including sanitation and temperature standards in the aircraft cabin, was rejected by a 52-47 party line vote.

“No sanitation standards in the passenger cabin.  Really???” said Veda Shook, AFA International President. “It is not funny.  To date, OSHA has been kept out of the aircraft cabin and that means Flight Attendants and passengers are subject to an environment absent sanitation standards, temperature standards and proper procedures for clean up of biohazards.  This is inexcusable and our union of Flight Attendants will not rest until we get the OSHA protections for passengers and crew.  We applaud the Senate for taking this action today and we implore the House to act quickly to include the same provision in their version of the bill.”

For Flight Attendants, each day on the job brings potential exposure to turbulence, severe air pressure changes, unwieldy service carts, broken luggage bins, balky exit doors and door handles, exposure to toxic chemicals, unruly passengers, communicable diseases, and emergency evacuations. As a result, safety and health violations occur on a daily basis for Flight Attendants yet the Federal Aviation Administration, which claims exclusive jurisdiction over the safety and health of crew members on civil aircraft, has failed to extend basic OSHA protections afforded to other workers across the country.

The Association of Flight Attendants has already begun a targeted grassroots advocacy campaign to implore members of the House to include the health and safety provisions for Flight Attendants and passengers.  The FAA Reauthorization bill has been extended 17 times over three years, delaying critical safety and health protections for Flight Attendants and the traveling public.

For over 60 years, the Association of Flight Attendants has been serving Flight Attendants in the workplace, in the aviation industry, in the media and on Capitol Hill.  Nearly 50,000 Flight Attendants at 21 airlines come together to form AFA, the world’s largest Flight Attendant union. AFA is part of the 700,000-member strong Communications Workers of America (CWA), AFL-CIO. Visit us at

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