The largest expert travel community:
  • 730,005 Total members
  • 7,189 Users online now
  • 1,665,455 Threads
  • 29,884,642 Posts
Airlines

After Heartbreaking Reports of “Tender Care” Relocation Flights, Airlines and Employees Take Strong Stands Against Ice Policy

After Heartbreaking Reports of “Tender Care” Relocation Flights, Airlines and Employees Take Strong Stands Against Ice Policy
Jeff Edwards

American Airlines and United Airlines have asked law enforcement officials not to use their flights to relocate children who have been separated from parents at the border and some crew members have vowed not to work on any such flights.

In an op-ed published in the Houston Chronicle on Tuesday, Hunt Palmquist, a 29-year veteran at a “major U.S. airline,” vowed to refuse to work another flight on which Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents are transporting children to “relocation sites” after being separated from their families by immigration officials. The flight attendant goes on to detail the circumstances surrounding the two flights on which the Dallas-based flight attendant says he encountered the heartbreaking scenarios.

“I worked two flights (one to San Antonio and the other to McAllen) which proved to be two of the most disturbing flights I’ve ever experienced in my career,” Palmquist wrote. “On board these particular flights were ICE agents and migrant children (approximately four to eleven years old) who had been separated from their families and were being flown to a ‘relocation’ site. Since working the two flights, the images of those helpless children have burned into my psyche. The little children whose faces were full of fear, confusion, sadness and exhaustion left me somewhat traumatized as it occurred to me a few weeks later that I might as well have been a collaborator in their transport.”

In addition to promising never to be a part of another flight used for this purpose, Palmquist said that he personally knew of other colleagues who were in agreement to do the same. As it turns out, however, Palmquist and his coworkers may be spared the difficult decision between conscience and job security. Starting on Wednesday, major U.S. airlines, including American Airlines and United Airlines have publicly asked the U.S. government not to use the carrier’s flights to transport children for relocation in instances in which the minors have been forcibly separated from detained immigrant parents.

The unprecedented move by the airlines comes after a report from yet another cabin crew member of a flight on which 16 children were being involuntarily relocated after being removed from their families at the border. The secondhand account posted on social media was later confirmed by a spokesperson for the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA).

“Through all the adversities we faced last evening with computer outages, cancellations and delays, nothing prepared me or my crew for 16 passengers,” the flight attendant related anonymously through a coworker’s Facebook account. “Sixteen. All dressed in black and gray cheap Walmart sweat suits, quietly boarding the 12:30am flight. Children! Thirty-two scared eyes looking straight forward dazed. We try to speak, yet none speak English. During the beverage service, one of the crew comes to me in tears. They can’t face these children that have been ripped from their families with a smile. These children were probably ranging in age from 11, to the most adorable little girl maybe 6 years old.”

Just hours after the post began circulating, the world’s largest carrier became the first to inform federal officials that the transport of children unjustly separated from their families would no longer be welcome on American Airlines flights.

“While we have carried refugees for non-profits and the government, many of whom are being reunited with family or friends, we have no knowledge that the federal government has used American to transport children who have been separated from their parents due to the recent immigration policy, but we would be extremely disappointed to learn that is the case,” AA officials wrote in an unusually terse statement. “We have therefore requested the federal government to immediately refrain from using American for the purpose of transporting children who have been separated from their families due to the current immigration policy. We have no desire to be associated with separating families, or worse, to profit from it. We have every expectation the government will comply with our request and we thank them for doing so.”

United Airlines soon followed suit.

“Based on our serious concerns about this policy and how it’s in deep conflict with our company’s values, we have contacted federal officials to inform them that they should not transport immigrant children on United aircraft who have been separated from their parents,” United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz announced on Wednesday. “Our company’s mission is to connect people and unite the world. This policy and its impact on thousands of children is in deep conflict with that mission and we want no part of it.”

AFA officials say they have been urging all U.S. airlines to adopt similar policies. Frontier Airlines released a slightly less emphatic statement late Wednesday afternoon and union officials added that, “Alaska Airlines has been responsive to our concerns and we expect to hear more from them soon.”

[Photo: Shutterstock]

View Comments (16)

16 Comments

  1. Lakeviewsteve

    June 20, 2018 at 6:46 pm

    I don’t understand why these flight attendants / airlines wouldn’t want to see children united with their parents. What am I missing?

  2. DirtyDan

    DirtyDan

    June 21, 2018 at 4:10 am

    Marking a ballot would be more effective than penning some catchy twitter statements…

  3. Loving My Raffles

    June 21, 2018 at 5:19 am

    I totally agree with the employees sticking up for the kids. Have you seen how crap United has become? I wouldn’t want those poor kids to suffer either. They are much better off on a better airline.

  4. oh912flyer

    June 21, 2018 at 5:27 am

    This annoys me to no end. Do your job. You don’t know they’ve been “ripped from their parents” given that 5/6 kids who cross the border don’t arrive with a parent in the first place, and many of them arrive with adults who aren’t even family members. Those kids are being TRAFFICKED and they’re being moved for their SAFETY. Quit thinking you know everything about your passengers and just get on with what you’re supposed to be doing.

  5. kds4

    June 21, 2018 at 6:41 am

    As a private business, I respect any air carrier’s right to refuse service. However, all coins have two sides. So, I would also respect the U.S. government’s right to choose to no longer do business with American or United airlines and move government employees and cargo on other airlines.

  6. golfballtx

    June 21, 2018 at 7:30 am

    So I suppose your solution is to send them by bus?

  7. BeatCal

    June 21, 2018 at 7:31 am

    bull follow the law

  8. strickerj

    June 21, 2018 at 9:58 am

    I’m with oh912flyer here… absolutely everything has become politicized now, and people seem to be under the impression that they can “protest” by refusing to do their jobs free of consequences. If I told my boss I didn’t want to work with a certain customer for political reasons (or any reason, really), I’d be fired.

  9. Quintious

    June 21, 2018 at 11:24 am

    Strong stands? You mean virtue signaling stands? Because that’s all these “stands” are. The airlines aren’t going to suddenly stop letting federal employees use their planes. All this is is a publicity display to the public in order to garner positive corporate image. Notice how most of these “demands” came out after Trump already signed the order stopping the separation. These were toothless statements with absolutely no weight behind them. If that’s your definition of strong, then fine, but we have vastly different interpretations of the word.

  10. Jackie_414

    June 21, 2018 at 6:20 pm

    A couple of points here:

    1. When an American citizen is arrested and taken to jail they are separated from their children. Why are we treating illegal aliens worse than our own citizens?

    2. Where was all the outrage by these hypocrites (companies, politicians, mainstream media, former first ladies, Hollywood types, etc.) when the Obama administration was doing exactly the same thing?

    If we aren’t going to enforce the laws of this nation then why have a nation in the first place. We are losing this country and the very reason so many want to come here. Let them come to this great nation, but legally.

  11. Jackie_414

    June 21, 2018 at 6:22 pm

    CORRECTION

    A couple of points here:

    1. When an American citizen is arrested and taken to jail they are separated from their children. Why are we treating illegal aliens better than our own citizens?

    2. Where was all the outrage by these hypocrites (companies, politicians, mainstream media, former first ladies, Hollywood types, etc.) when the Obama administration was doing exactly the same thing?

    If we aren’t going to enforce the laws of this nation then why have a nation in the first place. We are losing this country and the very reason so many want to come here. Let them come to this great nation, but legally.

  12. HomerJay

    June 22, 2018 at 3:01 am

    I cannot imagine what it would be like to be a passenger on one of those flights. It saddens me beyond words to see what has become the face of America to the world.

  13. alexmyboy

    June 22, 2018 at 4:49 am

    but a baker doesn’t have to make a cake for a gay couple! Hypocrites do your job cake maker

  14. PepeBorja

    June 22, 2018 at 9:08 am

    Placing one’s beliefs over one’s duty is a sign of the times. Nowadays refusing to do our duty is now a badge of honor rather than the disgrace it should be. it may be honorable if done by people with a full understanding of the issues and are not driven by the hysterical news reports generated by a media that has a personal dislike of Trump. Facts are selectively presented to pursue their agenda. The migrants are just their next tool.

    These people from Central America endure months of abuse, violations, beatings, crime, sickness, and hunger on journeys from their lands to the USA. All of that done by their own Latino brothers and sisters, not Americans!. To our hysterical, Trump hating media and its cohorts on the left, all that hardship and abuse is OK and not worthy of their selective outrage. The raping, assaulting and beatings happened south of the border and not their concern. For them the real hardship and inhumane treatment starts when they cross the border and are provided with climate controlled shelter, clean clothes, plenty of food, clean water, showers and restrooms, recreation, access to medical care, access to legal advice, and protection to keep them safe. The separation of families, while hard on the surface, is not comparable to the suffering endured on their journey to the USA. Let us not forget either that our Military Kids endure separations form their parents that stretch months not 20 days. No one is crying on TV over that.

    Flight Crew Members that choose to skirt their duty over this issue are just plain miss-informed.

  15. GeorgieBoy4

    June 24, 2018 at 4:05 am

    It is as though these airline workers know better than the US Authorities. What has happened to discipline in America whereby employees can choose to work or not? Tell these employees if they decline to work, and do their job as stipulated, they will no longer have a job. And by the way, why now are these people reacting? Separation of parents and minors for aliens has been going on for a very long time…AND pre-dating the current White House administration. Go figure.

  16. TrojanHorse

    TrojanHorse

    July 10, 2018 at 6:49 am

    All I know is that if I refused to work my job because I didn’t like a gov’t position on my beliefs, I’d be escorted out the door before I could say SJW

    Get back to work

You must be logged in on the FORUM to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

More in Airlines

U.S. Carriers Will Fight Over New China Routes, But Won’t Increase Service

Jeff EdwardsNovember 14, 2018

United Reveals the New International Routes for Its New Dreamliners

Jennifer BillockNovember 14, 2018

Why More Travelers Will Be Giving Air Canada’s New Comfort Fare A Second Glance This Winter

Scott DylanNovember 14, 2018

Copyright © 2014 Top News Theme. Theme by MVP Themes, powered by Wordpress.