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FAA to announce rule allowing more rest for flight attendants

(CNN) — Federal aviation officials plan to announce on Tuesday that flight attendants will soon have more mandatory rest time between flights, two sources familiar with the announcement told CNN.

Flight crew unions have fought hard for change, saying flight attendants are very tired and overworked after shifts as long as 14 hours.

Airlines were notified of the upcoming rule changes by the Federal Aviation Administration last week, a source familiar with the policy said.

Current FAA rules require that, in most cases, an airline give a flight attendant a nine-hour rest period after being on duty for 14 hours or less.

Late last year, the FAA opened public comment on a proposed regulatory change that would increase the rest period to 10 hours between shifts.

The change was first approved by Congress in 2018 but was not implemented by the Trump administration.

Last week, House Transportation Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon) said completing the rules was a priority before his next retirement.

The FAA is holding a news conference Tuesday at Reagan National Airport with Acting Administrator Billy Nolen for what it says is a “major announcement.”

The FAA declined CNN’s request for comment.

Difficult time for flight attendants

With demand increasing as pandemic restrictions eased, 2022 has been challenging for flight attendants.

Allie Malis, who is also the government affairs representative for the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, a union representing American Airlines crew, told CNN Travel last summer of “uncomfortable” situations where crew, delayed on inbound flights, finds themselves sprinting through the airport to do their next job.

Flight attendants say situations like these, along with unpredictable schedules, take their toll on the mental and physical well-being of crew.

It’s not just in the United States where flight attendants say they’re being bullied.

“Sickness levels skyrocketed, fatigue levels skyrocketed, not because [flight attendants are] reject or protest in any way. They just can’t cope, they just can’t cope with the constant change,” says British stewardess Kris Major.

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