Defined Contribution Plan (401k)

On February 24, 2006 the United AFA Membership ratified a pension replacement plan called the Defined Contribution Plan, effective January 1, 2006.

Defined Contribution Program

Effective January 1, 2006, a Flight Attendant Defined Contribution Program (“the Plan”) was established as a replacement to a pension plan.  AFA fought hard to protect Members’ retirement benefits and succeeded in doubling the amount the company was willing to pay for a replacement of the pension plan.


All Flight Attendants are eligible to participate in the Defined Contribution Program.  The Company will establish new accounts for those Flight Attendants who do not currently have one.  For those Flight Attendants who are ineligible to participate in the 401(k) Plan, the Company will seek to establish similar tax deferred arrangements when it is economically and legally possible, in locations outside the United States.

Company Contributions to the Plan

The Company will make a direct contribution regardless of Flight Attendant participation in the Plan and a matching contribution depending upon each Flight Attendant’s contribution to her/his Plan account. 

  • The Company makes both direct and matching contributions to the Plan twice a month.

Direct Company Contribution for Flight Attendants Prior January 1, 2006

Effective January 1, 2008

3.0% of annual Earnings

Direct Company Contribution for Flight Attendants Hired After January 1, 2006

Effective January 1, 2009

3.0% of annual Earnings

Company Matching Contribution 

Effective January 1, 2006, the Company will match contributions equal to 100% of the first 3% of Earnings that a Flight Attendant contributes to her/his Plan. 
Example:  Flight Attendant defers 5% of Earnings each month.  Company matches first 3% by contributing an amount equal to 3% of Flight Attendant’s Earnings.

Vesting for Flight Attendants Hired After January 1, 2006

Less than one year of service           


1 year of service but less than 2


2 years of service but less than 3


3 years or more of service


If Flight Attendants leave the Company prior to being fully vested, the unvested portion of the Company contributions will be used to offset future Company paid contributions to the Plan.

Qualifying Wages (Earnings) for Contributions to the Plan

The definition of qualifying wages (Earnings) includes base pay, holiday pay, sick pay, vacation pay, overrides and premiums but excludes expense reimbursement, incentive or profit sharing payments, imputed income or other similar awards or allowances.

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