Wednesday, June 5, 2019

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                                       How Safe is Your Cabin Air?

Cabin air quality continues to be of high concern for your local APFA officers with over 50 reported events involving Charlotte crews this year. We will continue to fight for the safety of our workers and the flying public as well.

APFA National now has a dedicated staff member who is monitoring these events and fighting for our protection. We are committed to supporting a recently created program to assist Flight Attendants that have been impacted in these events. Our goal is to educate, and fight for those affected by these events.

What are “Fume Events”?

All modern aircraft’s environmental control systems (except for the B787) were designed to utilize outside air for pressurization and air conditioning. The cabin air is circulated through a “bleed air system”. This system heats outside air over the engines and engine oil sometimes contaminates the air coming into the cabin which can be extremely dangerous to passengers and crew. Exposure to deicing fluid, fuel smells and exhaust fumes compromise air quality, and although a nuisance, are considerably less toxic than a fume event. A fume event is a result of oil-contaminated source air. Contaminated air often smells like “dirty socks” or other everyday items.

American has installed HEPA and Charcoal Canister filters in some of the fleet (A320/A330/787) unfortunately, these devices will only eliminate particulate contaminants and odors. They in no way provide protection against toxic fumes other than reducing the odors associated with contaminated air.

What do I do if I think there is contaminated air?

Reference the APFA (FUME yellow card) checklist, report the incident.
  1. Notify the Flight Deck or Gate Agent immediately. Verifying the incident is logged in the AML and is properly documented.
  2. Protect yourself first-then assist others. If no passengers are on board remove yourself from the area to limit exposure.
  3. Notify Daily OPS 682-315-7070 and a MOD or FSM of your intentions and current status. Identify and be able to describe the odor: type, location, and severity (musty, dirty sock, fuel, burning plastic)
  4. Notify your APFA Local Base Leadership 704-665-7474 or APFA National Rep, Thomas Houdek 817-540-0108 Ext 8288
  5. Seek immediate medical attention (if necessary) preferably within 4 hours of exposure.
  6. File a CERs and ASAP report within a reasonable amount of time 24-48 hours.
  7. Send report of suspected event to
In Unity,

Scott Hazlewood
APFA CLT Base President

About APFA: 

The Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) is the largest independent Flight Attendant Union, representing solely the Flight Attendants of American Airlines. From its beginnings in 1977 to now, APFA members have known both triumph and tragedy. APFA has fiercely advocated for the Flight Attendant profession and has been on the forefront of change for workplace equality, women’s and human rights. APFA focuses 100% of its energy on its members, 28,000+ strong Flight Attendants who share a proud and diverse history of careers as airline safety professionals from multiple legacy airlines.
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