Flight attendant fatigue poses safety risks

  • Article by: Pat Doyle , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 28, 2013 - 10:18 AM

FAA studies and personal testimony reveal risks posed by fatigue, reliance on sleeping pills.

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bobblumenfelMay. 25, 1310:45 PM

I can see the industry argument against longer rest periods now: "We'll have to use fewer attendants to compensate for the money it will cost." Air travel has become a lot like sending a package through the mail: They guarantee you'll get there, but they won't guarantee you'll like the trip. Unless you pay extra.

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rafannonMay. 25, 1311:42 PM

These Flight attendents make very low wages for years after hiring on with the airlines. Some have additional jobs therefore they are very tired. The airlines have busted the unions that keep the pay at a liveable wage. Meanwhile the airlines charges the passengers for anything and everything making millions in profits and paying the Ceo millions. You want pilots and Flight attendents to be awake and alert, not tired and angry over their long working hours.

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boozlesMay. 26, 1312:10 AM

Didn't Delta flight attendants vote against union representation? Did they actually believe that conditions would be better without a union? Its a hard lesson to learn, but this is what happens when you buy into the right-wing anti-union belief system.

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owatonnabillMay. 26, 13 8:04 AM

"Sleep driving" and "sleep sex"? A couple of diphenhydramine capsules paired up with watching Brady Bunch reruns should get you to sleep in 20 minutes or so. Four or five Ambien tablets coupled with maybe half a liter of vodka leads to sleep driving and sleep sex--or blackouts, which is precisely what we're talking about here. Nobody is holding a gun to the heads of these jerks to make them be flight attendants. People who voluntarily impair themselves and then blame it on work stress get precious little of owatonnabill's sympathy.

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kieronMay. 26, 13 8:41 AM

“The flip side of it is paying for it,” Roma said. Indeed, we all pay, in subtle ways, when the CEO's and corporations rule the day. This story reminds me of many other industries in which the worker is expendable, subject to the convenience of the overseers, in order to maximize profits and reduce expenses. Same goes for schoolchildren, come to think of it. In both cases, we have the privilege of working half the day, with a short (30 minutes if lucky) break, then back to work til day's end. If not for unions (righties, there's your cue to squawk), laborers would still be working 6 days a week, with only a Sunday rest. Working Americans get less vacation, less down-time and less rest than ever (esp. when they have to work more than one job to survive) and we end up with fatigued workers and sleep-impaired drivers who cause accidents, unintentionally but with tragic results. I'll say it again: we all pay, in subtle ways, when the CEO's and corporations rule the day.

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golferman27May. 26, 13 8:49 AM

Does flight attendant rest need to be examined, absolutely! Do we work longer days now without a union at Delta Airlines? Absolutely. Do we deserve better? Absolutely. Sign a IAM card, and get a union back on the property. Richard Anderson just recently accepted a 42% increase in pay, when the very flight attendants that helped the company emerge from bankruptcy are still under a 40% paycut, and have been since NWA went into bankruptcy court in 2004. Your flight attendants ARE tired, they ARE overworked, and they ARE fighting for improvements to their profession, all the while being harrassed and threatened by management on a daily basis. Do we need a union, do we need more rest, YES. A union would not have saved Henry, 'Heine's' job however... There were more issues here. Delta does not condone violence nor drugs in the workplace, and that's all I am going to say about that! With love from Alaska, Sabrina

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clintonliesMay. 26, 13 8:51 AM

If you don't like your job then quit. You'll be doing the flying public a favor.

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jbpaperMay. 26, 13 8:51 AM

Two out of the three specific examples they provided involved mixing sleeping pills with alcohol. Sounds more like an alcohol problem than a fatigue problem.

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jbpaperMay. 26, 13 8:56 AM

It was a fairly long story and yet never really went into detail about how long they work. How many hours a week do they work? Are these short layovers daily or do they get a longer break after the second day of working? A day by day breakdown of their hours for the week before the incidents happened would be nice.

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djs185May. 26, 13 8:58 AM

the FAA needs to step in and regulate them like they did to the Trucking Industries, and yes, they can run a log book just like the truckers do. AND when they get stoped for being impaired( zero tol.) take away their license to work for life. That will raise the wages for those who survive

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