Normal long layovers in popular international destinations are something that flight attendants appreciate, but the crew at one airline would want to spend less time away from home and are requesting that their carrier return them home as quickly as possible.
Flight attendants typically have just 24 hours to explore their destination, socialize with locals, and get some rest after most long-haul flights before flying all the way home.
The layover time can be increased to 48 hours or even longer after the longest flights, providing more opportunities to enjoy a trip and higher income.
However, Cathay Pacific flight attendants are choosing to spend that additional time away from home and are pleading with the Hong Kong-based airline to fly them home as quickly as possible, sometimes even without a layover.
The reason is that when aircrew reaches their destination, the Hong Kong government demands them to adhere to onerous “closed loop” rules. In essence, this implies that airmen must lock themselves in their hotel rooms and isolate themselves from the locals.
The Cathay Pacific cabin crew spent a total of 73,000 nights in quarantine in 2021, either in Hong Kong or in closed-loop isolation abroad. Even 1000 crew members stayed in the infamous Penny’s Bay quarantine camp for more than 11,000 nights.
The quarantine rules for aircrew returning to Hong Kong were ultimately eased last week, but only under the condition that pilots and cabin personnel continue to segregate themselves en route.
The cabin crew of Cathay Pacific is still required to regularly endure quarantine even though the rest of the world has moved past any kind of isolation or lockdown.
Now, the flight attendant union is requesting that the airline limit layovers to a maximum of 28 hours. In some situations, the union is also requesting that the airline provide more staff so that flight attendants can cover just one sector and return home immediately.
Of course, the freedom to leave their hotel rooms is what flight attendants actually desire, but it will need a significant legislative change on the part of the Hong Kong government. A significant announcement, according to sources, is allegedly in the works, but nothing has been formally verified.
Cathay Pacific only carried 253,907 passengers in August, and despite the welcome revisions to quarantine regulations, the airline has cautioned that it would take time for capacity to increase once travel restrictions related to the epidemic are lifted.