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Flight Attendants Say Passenger Disputes Have a Hidden Danger

Cabin crew members admitted to Time magazine that they have seen colleagues ignore critical safety rules out of fear of becoming the latest viral video star, should a passenger take offense.

A new investigative report finds that the recent publicity surrounding cases of a select few airlines and a handful of airline employees stepping out of line may have some dangerous unintended consequences for the flying public. While the public outcry over the now-familiar storyline in which passengers have suffered abuse at the hands of the heartless monopolies that dominate the airline industry have certainly made management rethink the value of customer service, some flight attendants say that the building backlash has had a chilling effect on the enforcement of rules and regulations intended to keep everyone onboard safe.

In a Time magazine report published on Monday, flight attendants admitted that important safety violations such as passengers not wearing safety belts and bags being improperly stowed are now being routinely ignored to avoid potential conflicts with a passenger who might be looking to create a very public incident. Cabin crew members say this is something that everyone who flies should be concerned about.

“A lot of flight attendants feel uncomfortable performing essential job functions and responsibilities because one angry person can change our employment status,” Ben, a flight attendant with a major US carrier told the magazine. “Ben” only spoke with Time’s Melissa Chan and Alex Fitzpatrick on the condition that further details about his identity be withheld.

According to those flight attendants willing to speak on the record, embarrassment over incidents like the one in which a Kentucky physician was brutally removed from an overbooked United Airlines flight, has led airline management to crack down on customer service issues, but, more importantly, has in some cases emboldened flyers to challenge the authority of flight attendants who are simply trying to enforce government mandated safety regulations.

“Just about every other flight, I would have a passenger make a reference to the United Airways incident, and be like, ‘Well, you guys are always saying, please fasten your seatbelt, put up your tray tables, pull your seat back forward,'” Jenny, a veteran flight attendant told the investigative reporters. “‘What if I don’t? Are you going to drag me off the plane like they did on United?’”

[Photo: Shutterstock]

Comments are Closed.
drphun June 26, 2017

You don't have to physically attack the passengers to ensure compliance. Didn't your parents tell you when you were little that the car wouldn't move until everyone was wearing their seat belt? Just tell them the plane won't move until they do it. Everyone around them heard you tell them to put on their safety belt or properly stow their bags. If they don't do it, then go on the intercom and apologize for the delay, however the plane cannot move away form the jetway until everyone's safety belt is on or their bags are properly stowed. If that doesn't work, then announce that if you miss your takeoff slot, then you go to the back of the line for takeoff, which could be an hour. (You used to hear exactly these sorts of announcements.) Let peer pressure take care of it.

twb3 June 23, 2017

Sounds like routine union employee whining. If you don't like the job anymore, quit!

Viks June 23, 2017

Nobody objects to lawful requests and if somebody did, nobody would object to him being removed from the flight. FA are just crying they can't make up bullsh*t "rules" and satisfy their concentration camp guard fantasies anymore without consequences.

Tizzette June 22, 2017

When somebody had to move and I definitely was in the right, nevertheless the FA asked me to move, not the seat poacher. I asked why me, she said "because you are the more reasonable party." I think they take the easy way out for themselves way too much.

Yachtman June 22, 2017

It's awkward because for a period of time far too much power swung towards the FA's. In some cases with overzealous FA's if you were essentially to disagree, upset or they take a dislike to you and you are immediately threatened with being disembarked, flight diverted etc. There needs to be a balance, yes the FA's legally are there to provide a safety function, but the airline is also providing a service, and if you have chosen a full service airline in lieu of a low cost airline you are expecting the advertised product. Passengers who are unreasonable need to be dealt with properly and the rest should be treated with the appropriate respect of paying guests. FA's need to also be trained in the correct methods of dealing with difficult passengers, including conflict resolution and methods to calm down and defuse a situation rather then escalating it.