United Airlines Flight Attendants Are No Longer Allowed To Share Beds On Long Flights

United Airlines flight attendants don’t have to social distance from each other in the galley. On long haul flights they’re in close contact with customers as they serve beverages and even meals. But the airline is telling them that as a Covid precaution they need to stop sharing beds up in the crew rest area of widebody aircraft. Apparently bed sharing is a problem on long flights at United.

The airline isn’t worried that more than one flight attendant is cramming into the small space at one time. Instead the concern is sequential use of the space. Normally crew take shifts in the beds, that on many aircraft are above the passenger cabin. The concern is that one flight attendant, infected with and shedding the virus, might cause fomite transmission to another flight attendant.

Under rules drawn up by United Airlines and the Cleveland Clinic, each bunk can only be used once per flight. Despite the fact that most crew rest compartments have curtains of other partitions between bunks, flight attendants will have to occupy alternating beds to maintain physical distancing.

Effective this past Thursday this means that some cabin crew will be restricted to using crew rest seats rather than beds when they’re not on shift. Already, before this rule went into effect, the airline reported that flight attendants had a lower infection rate than the general population.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. On a typical long-haul flight, they have two rest periods. FAs choose their desired rest period and bunk number by seniority. After first meal, half of them disappear to the crew bunk. They reemerge to distribute the mid flight snack while someone wraps up the used bedding. Then the other half go use the same beds with fresh bedding and come back to serve the second meal. So now you can expect maybe six J seats blocked for crew rest on each flight.

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