Leader of the World’s Largest Flight Attendant Union Won’t Fly the 737 MAX … Yet

Jul 10, 2019

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The leader of the world’s largest flight attendant’s union the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA Sara Nelson has doubts about flying on the Boeing 737 MAX until it is put through its paces to get back in the air.

“If tomorrow were that first flight I can tell you definitively no,” she said Monday in a podcast with The Points Guy on the Talking Points podcast. “[After] the very deliberative process for certifying that plane, if they take all of those steps, then yes, I’d be willing to get on that flight.”

Other industry leaders, including the CEOs of both American Airlines and United Airlines, have said they will fly on the MAX once it is re-certified by regulators.

The 737 MAX was grounded in March after two fatal crashes that took 346 lives. The Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS, has been cited as a possible factor in both incidents.


Global regulators, including the Federal Aviation Administration, are working on the process the aircraft will have to go through to be re-certified. That process will include a software update to MCAS, and potentially other systems. It is expected to include additional training for pilots.

However, the reputations of both the FAA and Boeing have taken a hit from the MAX grounding, said Nelson.

“We’re finding that out, that Boeing was a very arrogant company that really was allowed to call the shots all the time,” she said. “I’m hearing a real different tone from them now. A much more chastened tone.”

Nelson also addressed efforts to unionize flight attendants at Delta Air Lines.

“There’s a very large percentage of Delta flight attendants who have wanted to gain a union for many, many years,” she said in the podcast. “What we have found through all of those organizing campaigns is that the reason that you think that, it’s a shiny happy place is because the only voice that’s coming out of Delta is management’s voice.”

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 Featured image by Natalie Roe / TPGFeatured image by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images.

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