100 American Airlines flight attendants have been diagnosed with COVID-19, union says - The Most Popular Lists


100 American Airlines flight attendants have been diagnosed with COVID-19, union says

Starting Tuesday, American will operate just 13 flights a day combined out of John F. Kennedy International Airport, LaGuardia Airport and Newark Liberty International from now through May 6.(E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune/TNS)(E. Jason Wambsgans / TNS)

About 100 American Airlines flight attendants have tested positive for COVID-19, a number union leaders say is likely to increase, according to a message to members from the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, according to The Dallas Morning News.

That’s still less than 1% of the 25,000 flight attendants at American Airlines. But companies, including air carriers, have been hesitant to divulge how many of their workers have contracted the virus at the center of a global pandemic that has shut down much of the economy and almost all of the world’s air travel.

Fort Worth-based American Airlines has confirmed that one flight attendant in Philadelphia, Paul Frishkorn, died from COVID-19 on March 23. An American Airlines pilot and a baggage handler at DFW International Airport have also received positive COVID-19 tests.

Three Transportation Security Administration agents at DFW have tested positive for the virus, the agency has reported.

The flight attendants union said in a letter to members that it needs to “make everyone realize the seriousness of this threat.”

“COVID-19 is a deadly global pandemic, and it has impacted our health, and now our financial livelihood, negatively," the union said. “Without a doubt, that number will increase in the following days and weeks.”

Dallas-based Southwest Airlines has also not disclosed any specific positive COVID-19 cases at the carrier, although several flight attendants say they’re aware of positive tests, have been diagnosed themselves or are in quarantine because of exposure to another flight attendant with the virus.

“Some flight attendants have tested positive for COVID-19 while on duty, and the numbers are rising,” said Lyn Montgomery, president of Transport Workers Union Local 556, which represents Southwest flight attendants.

Montgomery said Southwest needs to more thoroughly clean planes and provide crew members with personal protective equipment, such as masks. Flight attendants and other employees at Southwest are still providing their own masks.

American Airlines flight attendants have been pushing for health protections since COVID-19 became a threat in January, first on international flights and then domestically. American has allowed flight attendants to wear gloves and face masks to help cut down on the risk of spreading germs. The airline has also blocked seats near flight attendants, reduced in-flight distribution of snacks and beverages, and given passengers more freedom to move between seats.

“The safety of our customers and team members is our top priority,” said a statement from American Airlines spokesman Ross Feinstein. “We are in close contact with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and public health officials and are coordinating with them on any required health and safety-related measures. We continue to look at all ways we can care — and protect — our team during this stressful time.”

American said it is contacting employees who’ve potentially been exposed to confirmed cases and asking those workers to quarantine for two weeks. Public health officials are responsible for contacting passengers about potential contact.

So far, American has allowed flight attendants and other crew members to bring their own masks. This past weekend, the airline said it secured face masks for crew members and will be distributing those over the next few days.

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This article first appeared on The Dallas Morning News.

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