The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a mandate this week to increase the rest period for flight attendants between shifts. The new requirement grants flight attendants ten consecutive hours, up from the previous nine-hour rule.

The announcement comes in response to combat burnout due to prolonged staff shortages, years of fatigue, and the overall stressors of being a flight attendant. With ongoing reports of unruly passengers and self-sacrificing demands, the announcement is a welcomed step in the right direction for essential flight staff members.

Sarah Nelson, the international president of the Association of Flight Attendants, said congressionally mandated studies showed fatigue to be “rampant” among flight attendants as well as increased risks of cancer, cardiac and respiratory issues, and overall health problems. These findings are in addition to the safety and security risks for the flying public.

“Flight attendants, like all essential transportation workers, work hard every day to keep the traveling public safe, and we owe them our full support,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “This new rule will make it easier for flight attendants to do their jobs, which in turn will keep all of us safe in the air.”

“Flight attendants perform critical safety roles. This rule puts them and safety first,” said Acting FAA Administrator Billy Nolen.  

FAA made the announcement earlier today during a news conference at Ronald Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C.:

The overall response to the mandate announcement was positive, acknowledging the overdue nature of the need for longer rest periods.

Others, however, called out separate issues flight attendants and other airport staff still face that have yet to be addressed.

The final mandate will take effect 30 days from the official publication in the Federal Register.