Wednesday, April 6, 2022
Pro-Flight Attendant Legislation
APFA, along with our Union partners, have been working with Congress on behalf of our membership to protect our safety in our work environment. Congress recently introduced several bills that would make our workplace safer for both Flight Attendants and passengers.
Protection from Abusive Passengers Act
APFA is proud to support the bicameral Protection from Abusive Passengers Act introduced today by Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), Representative Eric Swalwell (D-CA), and Representative Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA). This bill would bar from commercial flights any individual who has been convicted or fined for assaulting, intimidating, or threatening members of an aircraft crew, including pilots and flight attendants, or airport security personnel. Under the bill, the TSA would create and manage a list of these individuals, who would be barred from flying until reinstated. The bill would also permanently ban abusive passengers from participating in the TSA PreCheck or Customs’ Global Entry programs.
The bill also requires the TSA to establish guidelines and considerations for removing an individual from a banned fliers list based on the gravity of the offense and a process for a person included on the list of banned fliers to petition to be removed from the list.
In recent years, the number of airline employees who have reported incidents of harassment, abuse, and assault in the workplace has skyrocketed. According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) there were 5,981 unruly passenger incidents reported in 2021. The FAA investigated 1,105 serious incidents last year, over three times the previous high since the agency began collecting such data in 1995.
APFA has been calling for a federal “no-fly” list since the uptick in disruptive passenger incidents began over a year ago. We have been punched, pushed, shoved, harassed, and disrespected for doing our job. This type of behavior is out of control and has no place on an airplane. A federal “no-fly” list for convicted individuals is common sense and frankly a long overdue protection for Flight Attendants and aviation workers at every airline.
“Flight Attendants continue to face physical and verbal abuse, and we cannot sit by and allow these offenders to commit these dangerous acts from airline to airline. This behavior must stop. We need the added accountability of a federal ‘no-fly” list to protect all crewmembers and passengers across the industry. I urge Congress in the strongest possible terms to quickly pass this bill and make it law,” said APFA National President Julie Hedrick.
“Unfortunately, too many of our Pilots, Flight Attendants and Crew Members are dealing with unacceptable abuse from passengers — everything from kicking to spitting to biting,”said Rep. Swalwell. “This behavior is not only inappropriate, but it also puts other crew and passengers at risk. I’m proud to join Senator Reed in introducing this bill to help protect everyone aboard aircraft and to help ensure flights are safe.”
Cabin Air Safety Act of 2022 (H.R.7267 and S.3944)
APFA praises Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Representative John Garamendi (D-CA) for introducing the Cabin Air Safety Act of 2022. Toxic fume events in the airplane cabin have long been a concern for Flight Attendants, aviation professionals, and passengers due to the long-term health consequences they can cause, so we are grateful to see legislation introduced.
The bill addresses the hazards presented by current “bleed air” technology, which draws aircraft cabin air through airplane engines. The process results in thousands of toxic fume events each year. Several recent incidents have resulted in illness for Flight Attendants, in some cases requiring hospitalization. In one recent instance, several Flight Attendants suffered chronic symptoms and are unable to continue working.
The Cabin Air Safety Act of 2022 would better protect airline passengers and crew members by:
- Installing Air Quality Monitoring Equipment and Detectors: Directs air carriers to install and operate onboard detectors and other air quality monitoring equipment situated in the air supply system to best enable pilots and maintenance technicians to locate the sources of air supply contamination. These detectors will alert the crew to poor air quality that is dangerous to human health. Aircraft manufacturers must develop procedures that inform the crew on how to respond to alarms. The FAA is also authorized to establish standards for aircraft cabin air quality.
- Requiring FAA to Record and Monitor Reports of Smoke or Fume Events: Directs the FAA to develop a standardized form/system to record airline crew reports of toxic smoke or fumes. The FAA is required to publish these reports at least quarterly on a public website, so that they can be searched, reviewed, and analyzed.
- Ensuring Investigations Occur: Authorizes the FAA to conduct investigations, in cooperation with the airlines and labor unions, after a toxic smoke or fume event to study the cause and prevent future events, and requires the FAA to conduct such investigations if anybody required medical attention.
- Mandating Training Regarding Toxic Smoke or Fumes on Aircraft: Require that flight attendants, pilots, aircraft technicians, and first responders receive training on identifying toxic smoke and fumes. The training materials will include education on sources and types of fumes, symptoms, appropriate responses, and how to report incidents.
In the Senate, the Cabin Air Safety Act is co-sponsored by U.S. Senators Edward J. Markey (D-MA) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). In the House, the bill is co-sponsored by U.S. Representatives Brian K. Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Kaiali’I Kahele (D-HI), and Don Bacon (R-NE). APFA will continue to build support for this important piece of safety legislation.
Stop Sexual Assault and Harassment in Transportation Act (H.R.5706)
The Stop Sexual Assault and Harassment in Transportation Act, introduced by Chair Peter DeFazio (D-OR), seeks to protect personnel and passengers during passenger transportation by air, motor carrier, commuter and intercity rail, transit, vessel, and rideshare from sexual assault and harassment by improving the response to, and facilitate the reporting of, such incidents.
APFA is grateful to Chair DeFazio and the bipartisan supporters for recognizing the importance of protecting both passengers and employees when sexual threats and assaults happen. We are proud to see this bill pass out of the House of Representatives and are hopeful that the Senate will do the same. Neither Flight Attendants or passengers should have to worry about sexual assault or harassment on a mode of transportation. This bill sends a strong message that this behavior won’t go unpunished and will not be tolerated on airplanes.
“I applaud the House for passing eight bills today most of which were approved by our committee on a bipartisan basis,” Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chair Peter DeFazio (D-OR) said. “I’m particularly proud that the House passed my bill, the Stop Sexual Assault and Harassment in Transportation Act, which will help ensure adequate personnel training, formal policies against sexual assault and harassment, and the reporting of these incidents. This comes on the heels of the House yesterday passing my provisions, included in the Don Young Coast Guard Authorization Act, to protect maritime workers from sexual violence. Combined, these bills will make important strides toward creating a safer environment for passengers and our transportation workforce.”
APFA Government Affairs Representative
APFA Government Affairs Representative