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Canadian Flight Attendant Rules Question

Sun Mar 14, 2004 6:49 am

Hi All--The Canadian regs say there must be one FA for every 40 PASSENGERS (not seats) and this has me wondering...

Example: 175-seat aircraft. 85 passengers booked. How does the airline staff the aircraft and what about last-minute walkup passengers? If you have 3 FAs for the 85 people what if a flight cancels or for whatever reason the plane fills up? Where do we get the other 2 FAs?

Would this be a reserve call-out situation? Canadian carriers must make good use of "Airport Reserve" for FAs?

Or might an airline have to turn passengers away because they do not have the right number of FAs for a given pax load? Would they leave pax behind if they couldn't get the additional crew members?

Thanks in advance for any help on this. For some reason I've really been wondering how this works lately.
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RE: Canadian Flight Attendant Rules Question

Sun Mar 14, 2004 7:06 am

Im not an FA but I would imagine it would be a reserve call out, or they could do a quick shuffle of one of the other crews, and if its really bad they may not let some people on...
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RE: Canadian Flight Attendant Rules Question

Sun Mar 14, 2004 8:22 am

There is also a minimum number of Flight Attendants related to the aircraft type, and door layout, not related to number of passengers.

For example on Air Canada's A319s and A320s, there must be a minimum of 3 F/A's, as well as a minimum of 1 F/A per 40 passengers. Therefore, the A319 will always be staffed with 3 F/A's, and the A320 will be staffed with 4 when the passenger load is forecast greater than 120.

However, the A321 has a minimum of 5 F/A's regardless of passenger load due to the door layout.

I am a pilot, but if I understand the Flight Attendants correctly, the decision for staff to load, is normally finalized the night before the flight, and topped up with reserve F/A's. If on the day of travel, we are short staffed, and the possibility of too few flight attendants for a certain flight may arise, Sales, Load Planning, and we the Pilots are advised, and the passenger load is capped, and last minute passengers would be turned away.

But, I find they are usually pretty accurate, and in my close to 20 years with AC, I have yet to see a passenger turned away due to crew compliment.
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RE: Canadian Flight Attendant Rules Question

Sun Mar 14, 2004 9:17 am

I'm surprised if the A320 has a minimum of 3 f/a's. The overwing exits don't require to be "manned" by f/a's. So with two sets of doors, the minimum should be 2 f/a's on the A320. The A320 should be a minimum of 4 f/a's, since they have 4 sets of doors. Correct me if I'm wrong though, thanks.
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RE: Canadian Flight Attendant Rules Question

Sun Mar 14, 2004 9:22 am

If the aircraft is running with less than a full compliment of FA's - say 3 instead of a normal 4 on a 737 or some other type - then the flight will be capped at a certain number. That number can be the maximum per TC regulations, or done per the airline's own operating procedures.

But, if you walk up to the check-in counter to book into a flight which only has enough FA's to handle 80 people on a 120-seat aircraft, and you're pax #81.... well, you're most often SOL.
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RE: Canadian Flight Attendant Rules Question

Sun Mar 14, 2004 9:37 am

Funny thing,
I have never had this happen where a flight attendant was taken off due to a lighter load than the 1 per 40 rule. We always carry 5 Flight attendants on the 320, 4 on the 319 and 10 on the 330.

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RE: Canadian Flight Attendant Rules Question

Sun Mar 14, 2004 10:50 am

As already mentioned, staffing levels are first based on minimum requirements, company policy and finally 1 FA for every 40 Pax rule.

Generally their isn't a problem. On international routes and domestic long haul full crew compliment is the normal procedure. On domestic short haul, its generally minimum crew and their is usually and airport stanby person and if need be pull an FA off another flight to accomodate.

This is also the case when an FA gets sick prior to a flight while already at the airport. I have seen crew sched pull FAs off other flights to accomodate.

This is just a general answer as every airline has its own policies. Due to the trend to go low frills (no meals) the minimum might be more of the norm these days.

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RE: Canadian Flight Attendant Rules Question

Sun Mar 14, 2004 11:14 am

TC is looking into changing the regulations whereby there must be 1 FA for every 50 passengers (instead of 40). Last I heard that change was delayed.
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RE: Canadian Flight Attendant Rules Question

Sun Mar 14, 2004 2:32 pm

Sorry that I'm not familiar with the 40 passengers to 1 flight attendent rule, but is this only for jet aircraft cause Jazz Dash 8-300's (50 seats) only have 1 flight attendent on full flights?
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RE: Canadian Flight Attendant Rules Question

Sun Mar 14, 2004 3:21 pm


There is at least one exception to the Transport Canada rule of 1 FA per 40 passengers: on aircraft with a maximum of 50 seats. Therefore, the Dash8-300 and the Bombardier CRJ can operate with only 1 FA. Air Canada is also lobbying TC for permission to lower the minimum crew to 1 per 50 for all aircraft as it saves money. There are safety and security concerns about this and the flight attendant union at AC is challenging the wisdom of this proposal.

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