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12.14.21 – Flying With an Impaired Flight Attendant

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Flying With an Impaired Flight Attendant

What do you do when you are flying with an impaired Flight Attendant?

This question comes up quite frequently when we answer calls on our EAP line. Many Flight Attendants are hesitant to say anything because they don’t want to make waves and just want to get home, but these are the times we must ask ourselves if we are doing any good by helping a coworker remain stuck in an unhealthy work habit. This can be considered codependent behavior that jeopardizes working relationships and creates a hostile work environment.

Do you identify with any of the following actions while working in a safety sensitive environment?

  • Fear that you will be responsible for a coworker losing their job.
  • Putting your coworker’s needs ahead of your own.
  • Feeling a sense of responsibility for the actions of coworkers.
  • Performing an impaired coworker’s in-flight duties.
  • Avoiding confrontation with a coworker about their behavior.
  • Covering for the coworker so that she/he won’t be held accountable
  • Worrying what the coworker and others will think of you.
  • Compromising the safety of the flight rather than addressing the problems the coworker causes.
  • Feeling resentful of the coworker after covering for them.
  • Hesitancy to call your APFA EAP rep for assistance.


As Flight Attendants, we always have the best of intentions, but behavior that can jeopardize your crew and passengers is a potential safety hazard.

The bottom line is that enabling an impaired coworker’s behavior perpetuates difficult work situations that will only get worse if left unaddressed.

The APFA EAP Department understands how difficult it is to fly with and/or confront an impaired coworker; however, it is important to use a direct, honest, and factual approach.

An impaired Flight Attendant’s judgment and mood will also be impaired, so this is not a time for discipline or consequences. However, it is important to ensure the safety of the Flight Attendant and your coworkers by communicating your concern about an impaired coworker’s violation of Company policy.

EAP offers confidential assistance to help you better understand what you can do when working with coworkers who are unable to meet the demands of their safety-sensitive job.

Call EAP: (817) 540-0108 ext. 8701.

You can also review the following flow chart to assist you when dealing with an impaired Flight Attendant in-flight:

In Solidarity,

Sharon Dunn
APFA National EAP Specialist

1004 West Euless Boulevard
Euless, Texas 76040

Phone: (817) 540-0108
Fax: (817) 540-2077


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