10 Things New and Experienced ALPA Pilots Should Know About

By ALPA’s National Membership Committee

New pilots, welcome to ALPA! The initial few weeks of being new to the Association can be overwhelming, learning about everything ALPA has to offer. So Air Line Pilot is highlighting just 10 of the important resources every pilot—new and experienced—should be aware of. This is by no means the full extent of the Association’s vast toolbox, but it’s a significant overview of what ALPA membership affords you.

1. Aviation Medicine Advisory Service

U.S. ALPA members in good standing can contact the Association’s Aeromedical Office, Aviation Medicine Advisory Service (AMAS), free of charge regarding aviation-related medical questions at 303-341-4435 Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. mountain time; voicemail is available after hours. AMAS’s unparalleled physicians and case managers have the experience and credibility in the aviation medical profession to provide you the best opportunity to stay certified and on the flight deck. They navigate the sometimes-complex certification process with expertise and efficiency.

Recently, ALPA signed an agreement with AMAS to expand its service to include the Association’s Canadian members. The service is currently in transition and will be fully available on Jan. 1, 2022.

2. ALPA Accident/Serious Incident Hotline

ALPA’s “Orange Card” is your worldwide safety net. If you’re involved in an accident, serious incident, or a time-critical safety/security event, contact the worldwide ALPA accident/serious incident hotline listed on the card for assistance 24 hours per day. You’ll be connected to an ALPA professional staff member who’ll provide immediate help and get you in contact with an ALPA safety or security rep who’ll guide you through the situation and ensure that you and your crewmembers receive the necessary support. Access the Orange Card here  or in the ALPA app (download now).

3. The ALPA App

The ALPA app keeps you connected with your union wherever you go. Download and log in with your ALPA credentials once your ALPA membership is processed and you’ll have the Association and your benefits at your fingertips, including your membership card, the Orange Card, Flight Finder for finding jumpseats, Known Crewmember® information, a Canadian flight- and duty-time calculator, urgent updates via push notification, and more.

ALPA also offers the separate U.S. FAR Part 117 Calculator and Guide app that helps members track flight and duty times and identify potential compliance or noncompliance. Visit alpa.org/apps to download both apps.

4. ALPA Insurance

ALPA offers a variety of optional insurance programs designed by pilots for pilots, and many of these are available at no cost or with discounts for apprentice and/or reactivated members. Depending on your classification, new U.S. members could receive the following benefits free or discounted for up to 12 months: ALPA national disability plan, group term life insurance, critical illness, and accident insurance. Many other options are available for all ALPA members, including dental, accidental death and dismemberment, Medicare Advantage, identity theft, and critical illness-accident insurance that provides up to an annual maximum of $400 in wellness benefits for your family.

Separate plans designed just for Canadian members are also available, including life, auto and home, and critical illness.

Get details on ALPA's insurance benefits.

5. Pilot Peer Support

Pilot Peer Support (PPS) is a network of trained pilot volunteers who help fellow ALPA members deal with stress from any source—financial concerns, family or relationship problems, or other work or personal issues. PPS volunteers are available 24 hours per day to listen and offer confidential, nonjudgmental support to ALPA pilots in the United States and Canada.

If you’re feeling stressed, talk to a PPS peer before your concerns threaten your medical certificate, career, and life. To contact a PPS volunteer, call 309-PPS-ALPA (309-777-2572). Pilots at Delta, FedEx Express, JetBlue, and United have in-house programs; see your Master Executive Council (MEC) website or visit alpa.org/pps for phone numbers and more information.

6. Pilots for Pilots

Pilots for Pilots (P4P) is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charity created to offer financial assistance to ALPA members and their dependents to cover the immediate, extraordinary expenses that follow widespread, catastrophic events. P4P has aided hundreds of ALPA members, providing nearly $1 million in the form of grants to address the devastating effects of these disasters. P4P relies solely on donations, and 100 percent of these contributions goes to help members in need. To apply for a grant, make a donation, or learn more about P4P, go to alpa.org/p4p.

7. Union Plus/Union Savings

ALPA’s affiliation with Union Plus (United States) and Union Savings (Canada) entitles members to discounts and promotions on car rentals, credit cards, restaurants, concerts, insurance, education, and more. Visit www.unionplus.org or unionsavings.ca and select your union to set up an account.

8. Veterans/Military Affairs

Are you one of the many new ALPA members coming to the airline industry from the military? If so, you’ll want to make sure you’re up to date regarding the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act and your rights. Many of ALPA’s MECs have a Military Affairs or Veterans Affairs Committee you can contact with questions, and ALPA’s national Veterans Affairs Subcommittee has published the ALPA Guide to the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act  For additional information, visit the Veterans Affairs Subcommittee

9. Your Voice on Capitol Hill and Parliament Hill

ALPA’s Government Affairs Department maintains a constant presence in the halls of government in both the United States and Canada, advocating for ALPA members and helping train pilots to advocate for themselves. You’ll see ALPA Calls to Action throughout the year, asking you to call, e-mail, or tweet your representatives to urge them to support legislation crucial to the airline industry and the piloting profession.

ALPA-PAC, ALPA’s Political Action Committee, allows the Association to build relationships and educate political decision-makers about the issues that affect pilot careers and the realities of flying the line. The PAC is funded solely by donations from U.S. members—no dues money is ever used—and ALPA-PAC supports members of Congress from both sides of the aisle. ALPA-PAC is the unified voice for airline pilots. Visit alpa.org/pac for more information and to “Back the PAC.”

10. Promoting the Profession

ALPA encourages every member to promote and give back to the profession, including reaching out and inspiring the next generation of airline pilots. The Association’s Education Committee members work year-round to promote the profession to students of all ages, from visiting elementary schools to supporting ALPA ACE Clubs at the collegiate level.

ALPA has a dedicated website (clearedtodream.org) geared toward inspiring students to become airline pilots. The Association encourages you to do all you can to light a spark in others: share the site, invite children onto the flight deck postflight, and speak at your local schools.

ALPA recognizes the need for diversity and inclusion in the profession, and the ALPA President’s Committee for Diversity and Inclusion works to promote a diverse, inclusive culture in which all pilots can be their authentic selves and are motivated to do their best. The Association is focused on fostering a future generation of airline pilots that better reflects the composition of the communities ALPA members serve. For more information on the Association’s efforts to promote a more inclusive workforce, visit alpa.org/diversity.

Bonus—an 11th item! Volunteering

That’s because none of the above 10 items are possible without volunteers. As an ALPA member, you’ll frequently hear that the Association is pilot led and staff supported. This requires a constant, ever-evolving set of pilot volunteers. While new members aren’t able to volunteer while on probation, think about the areas in which you’d like to help once off probation. Maybe it’s as an Air Safety Organization volunteer—perhaps you’d be well suited to take calls as a future PPS program peer or maybe you’ll be one of the next influential grassroots advocates for ALPA.

Even if you don’t have experience in a specific area, ALPA offers training programs to prepare you for success as a n ALPA volunteer. Talk to your MEC and local executive council leaders about your interests and where you can best pitch in.

This article was originally published in the November 2021 issue of Air Line Pilot.

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