(CNN) – Federal aviation officials announced Tuesday that airplanes will soon have more rest time between flights.
Current FAA rules state that in most cases an airline must provide a nine-hour rest period after working 14 hours or less.
The new rule increases the rest period to 10 hours between shifts.
“Flight attendants, like all essential transportation workers, work hard every day to keep the traveling public safe, and we owe them our full support,” US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a statement. “This new rule will make their jobs easier for flight attendants, which in turn will keep us all safe in the air.”
Flight crew unions have fought hard for the change, saying flight attendants are extremely tired and overworked after working 14-hour shifts.
Airlines were notified last week of the upcoming rule changes by the Federal Aviation Administration, a source familiar with the policy said Monday.
The FAA had two public comment periods, in 2019 and 2021, on the proposed rule change. The agency said it reviewed more than 1,000 comments.
The amendment was first approved by Congress in 2018, but not implemented by the Trump Administration.
Last week, House Transportation Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon) made enforcing the rules a top priority before his next retirement.
The final rule will take effect 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.
Tough times for flight attendants
“It’s about time! As aviation’s first responders and last line of defense, it’s critical that we are well rested and ready to perform our duties,” said Sara Nelson, president of the Flight Attendants Association, in a statement.
“Covid has exacerbated the safety gap with long hours, short nights and combative conditions on airplanes,” Nelson said.
As pandemic restrictions eased with increased demand, 2022 has been tough for flight attendants.
Flight attendants say such situations, along with unpredictable schedules, wreak havoc on the mental and physical well-being of the crew.
It’s not just in the United States that flight attendants are being ripped off.
“The sickness level is through the roof, the fatigue level is through the roof, because it’s not [flight attendants are] they are rejecting or protesting in any way. It’s just that they can’t cope, they can’t deal with constant change,” says British flight attendant Kris Major.