Friday, January 8, 2021
In a hotline sent on Wednesday of this week, I spoke about politically motivated disturbances aboard various flights headed to Washington, D.C. Some of these incidents were broadcast across multiple social media outlets. The videos are nothing short of terrifying for the Flight Attendants who were forced to confront this egregious behavior.
It is disturbing to see these acts of aggression towards other passengers and Flight Attendants continue. Yesterday, racial epithets were hurled towards a Black Flight Attendant as they rode to the DCA airport in the hotel shuttle. On another flight, a group of passengers removed their masks after takeoff and harassed the Flight Attendants and other passengers throughout the flight, up to and including the deplaning process. These are just two examples of too many we have seen on flights this week. This behavior is dangerous and threatening.
We are well-trained safety professionals, we are essential workers, and we have clear and concise rules when dealing with a disruptive passenger. We should not have to deal with a group of passengers harassing other passengers and crew, whether through chanting, yelling, or physical altercation. We see compliance on the ground, but after takeoff, the story sometimes changes.
To say I am worried about our Flight Attendants’ safety is an understatement.
What is APFA doing?
I have been in constant contact with American management, including top leadership. The Company is aware of our concerns. As of this writing:
- Layover crews have been relocated from downtown Washington area hotels to airport hotels, at least through this coming Sunday.
- APFA has requested and secured private transport (Uber) for crews laying over in BWI, DCA, and IAD, both to and from the layover hotel.
- APFA and American have requested increased law enforcement presence at the departure gates to identify intoxication or other threatening behavior.
- APFA has requested increased gate staff to monitor the boarding process to identify threatening behavior.
- APFA has requested American to remind flight deck crews to deliver the mask compliance PA before departure and insist on proper compliance throughout the entire flight.
- APFA has begun work in tandem with other Flight Attendant Unions, lawmakers, and regulatory agencies in Washington, D.C. to enhance safety and make sure that anyone displaying threatening or abusive behavior will not be allowed to board our aircraft now or in the future.
If you have been subjected to threatening, abusive behavior, you may feel like you are able to process the incident on your own. Often, feelings and emotions surface after the incident. Our EAP representatives are here to offer confidential assistance. Please utilize this resource.
(817) 540-0108 ext.8701
This is not who we are as Americans. The abuse, divisiveness, anger, and harassment must stop.
I have said it before: we have much work to do. Please continue to take care of yourselves and each other.
APFA National President