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3.29.23 – APFA Endorses the Protection from Abusive Passengers Act

APFA Press Release

Wednesday, March 29, 2023
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contact: Paul Hartshorn, Jr.
[email protected]

APFA Endorses the Protection from Abusive Passengers Act

(Euless, TX) —  Today, Pete Enriquez, a 36-year Flight Attendant and member of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA), representing 25,000 Flight Attendants at American Airlines, recounted an assault that occurred while he was on duty. Abusive passengers continue to threaten the safety of Flight Attendants, Passenger Service Agents, and passengers onboard commercial aircraft and in our airports. APFA’s position has been clear and consistent: Ensure these offenders face prosecution to the full extent of the law with appropriate enforced fines, criminal penalties, and applicable flying bans. “I hope that by sharing my story today, Congress will pass laws to better protect Flight Attendants so that my colleagues—including my daughter who is a four-year American Airlines Flight Attendant—will never have to experience a similar situation,” Enriquez stated in front of the U.S. Capitol.

APFA is proud to endorse the bipartisan Protection from Abusive Passengers Act that was re-introduced today by Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) and Representatives Eric Swalwell (D-CA), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), John Garamendi (D-CA), and Don Bacon (R-NE). This legislation bans any individual convicted or fined for assaulting, intimidating, or threatening members of an aircraft crew, including Pilots and Flight Attendants or airport security personnel from commercial flights in the U.S. The TSA would establish and manage a list of these individuals barred from flying until they meet the requirements for removal from the list. Also, the bill would permanently ban abusive passengers from participating in the TSA PreCheck® or Global Entry programs.

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,” said APFA National President Julie Hedrick. “We fully support this bill in an ongoing effort to reduce inflight incidents and hold abusive passengers accountable if they break the law.”

On January 9th, 2023 during a flight from Miami to London/Heathrow, Mr. Enriquez was threatened, insulted, spat on, knocked to the floor, and punched in the eye by a passenger. Despite his attempts to de-escalate the incident, the flight diverted back to MIA where the assailant was arrested. Even after being assaulted, Mr. Enriquez continued to execute his job responsibilities for the remainder of the flight. “As safety professionals, our priority was to ensure that the remainder of the flight was calm and uneventful so that everyone on the plane stayed safe.” 

“It is disappointing to me that a passenger who was arrested for physically assaulting and spitting in a Flight Attendant’s face can continue to fly on commercial airplanes here in the United States. Instead of going to jail, my assailant received community service and a fine – the community service was not completed, and the fine will likely not be paid. Why does assault in the air receive less severe punishment than assault that occurs on the ground? My assailant was not held accountable for his actions, and this needs to change,” said Enriquez.

APFA also sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland inquiring as to why heftier penalties were not enforced.

“The assailant was arrested and charged in Miami, but the trial outcome was disappointing. In the end, the individual received a slap on the wrist—minimal community service only partially served, probation, and a modest fine. And because there is a federally coordinated “no-fly” list, the passenger was not restricted from booking another commercial flight in the United States.

When found guilty, we expect that prosecutors understand that deterring this behavior requires vigorous application of the available punishment. Respectfully, I request that you reach out to the 93 U.S. Attorneys across the nation and ask them to take the attacks on Flight Attendants seriously.”

We cannot continue to let this type of behavior occur on our airplanes where everyone’s safety is at risk.

APFA Headquarters
1004 West Euless Boulevard
Euless, Texas 76040

M-F: 9:00AM - 5:00PM (CT)
Phone: (817) 540-0108

Call APFA

Contract & Scheduling Desk
M-F: 7:00AM - 7:00PM (CT)
Phone: (817) 540-0108

Chat APFA

After-Hours Live Chat
M-F: 3:00PM - 11:00 PM (CT)
Sat-Sun: 9:00AM - 5:00PM (CT)

APFA Events

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APFA Headquarters
1004 West Euless Boulevard
Euless, Texas 76040

M-F: 9:00AM - 5:00PM (CT)
Phone: (817) 540-0108

Call APFA

Contract & Scheduling Desk
M-F: 7:00AM - 7:00PM (CT)
Phone: (817) 540-0108

Chat APFA

After-Hours Live Chat
M-F: 3:00PM - 11:00 PM (CT)
Sat-Sun: 9:00AM - 5:00PM (CT)

APFA Events

Currently, no scheduled events...

APFA Headquarters
1004 West Euless Boulevard
Euless, Texas 76040

M-F: 9:00AM - 5:00PM (CT)
Phone: (817) 540-0108

Call APFA

Contract & Scheduling Desk
M-F: 7:00AM - 7:00PM (CT)
Phone: (817) 540-0108

Chat APFA

After-Hours Live Chat
M-F: 3:00PM - 11:00 PM (CT)
Sat-Sun: 9:00AM - 5:00PM (CT)

APFA Events

Currently, no scheduled events...

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