ABC NEWS – A year and a half into the global pandemic, with the Omicron variant lurking and holiday travel looming, many flight attendants say they’ve reached their breaking point with unruly passengers, many of whom still refuse to respect mask mandates.
Mitra Amirzadeh, a low-cost carrier flight attendant and Association of Flight Attendants member, said:
“My job is not to manage you, the one passenger that constantly needs to be reminded to put their mask on. My job is to manage getting people where they need to go as quickly and safely as possible.”
A year and a half into the global pandemic, with the Omicron variant lurking and holiday travel looming, many flight attendants say they’ve reached their breaking point with unruly passengers, many of whom still refuse to respect mask mandates.
About 85% of nearly 5,000 U.S. flight attendants said they’ve dealt with an unruly passenger in 2021, and 17% said they’ve been physically assaulted, according to a survey conducted by the AFA-CWA, AFL-CIO.
85% of flight attendants have dealt with an unruly passenger in 2021: Survey
Since Jan. 1, the Federal Aviation Administration has received at least 5,114 reports of unruly passengers and 3,710 reports of passengers refusing to wear a mask. Out of some 973 investigations, 239 resulted in penalties.
Teddy Andrews, an American Airlines flight attendant, said during testimony before Congress in September:
“Air rage has unfortunately become all too common. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve been insulted or threatened on a flight simply for doing my job.”
In addition to the ongoing abuse, flight attendants also fear for increased health risks to passengers — and to themselves.
“I don’t think that most passengers recognize that we’re not just waiters and waitresses in the sky. Our primary role is safety,” Andrews said.
In January, the FAA announced a Zero Tolerance Campaign that warned potential on-flight violators they could face fines and/or jail time … READ MORE.