Unions representing flight attendants working for major airlines are reporting that hundreds of flight attendants have tested positive for coronavirus. The Transport Workers Union (TWU) of America Local 556, which represents Southwest’s flight attendants, told WFAA Dallas on Tuesday that 600 staff members have tested positive. According to a statement from Southwest, “currently, far less than 1% of more than 60,000 Southwest Airlines Employees have tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19).”
In an update to its members on Monday, the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) reported that approximately 100 American Airlines flight attendants had tested positive for the virus as of last Saturday. American Airlines employs around 25,000 flight attendants. Neither airline has confirmed the exact number of employees who have tested positive or how many have been tested.
TWU sent a letter to the FAA and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) on Monday requesting that they address “hazardous health and safety conditions … members face on the job due to the COVID-19 pandemic.” The letter (PDF) asked for policy changes aimed at improving aircraft cleaning and disinfection procedures, availability of personal protective equipment for airline employees, onboard social distancing practices, and employee notification of potential coronarvirus exposure.