CLEVELAND — Air rage has unfortunately become ‘all the rage’ now a days and flight attendants have been the brunt of it all.
Taylor Garland works for the Association of Flight Attendants representing more than 20,000 workers including some Cleveland based flight attendants.
“Flight attendants who’ve been flying for 30-plus years tell me it is the worst they’ve ever seen it [air rage], and its hard knowing you’ll come to work and might end up in a confrontation," Garland said.
Of the nearly 4,000 unruly passenger reports this year, more than 2,900 of them involve masks according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
“Unfortunately even though [wearing masks] is a public health measure, it has become political,” said Garland. “Having to constantly remind adults is really dragging on flight attendants."
“It is an inconvenience, no one likes to be wearing masks,” said Cleveland Hopkins traveler Voitek Jainic “No one likes to be following certain protocols on the plane, but you have to do what you have to do when you want to get there.”
Garland said the FAA is sending a letter to airports asking them to crack down on alcohol to-go in bars and restaurants.
The letter said in part, “Our investigation shows that alcohol often contributes to unsafe behavior.”
It is reckless behavior that’s driving more flight attendants to crew member self defense classes, according to Garland, which have become much more popular.
“What we’re seeing across the country is flight attendants are signing up on their own time without getting paid to take these classes,” said Garland. “We have all the tools available to us should we confront something like an unruly passenger on board."
Garland also wants unruly passengers federally indicted.
For example, early this month a Huron County man drunkenly assaulted multiple flight attendants according to a police report and did not face federal charges.
“What we’d like to see is the Department of Justice actually take some of these cases to criminal prosecution,” said Garland. “Some of them involve physical assault, sexual assault or really threatening the entire cabin and the safety of the flight.”
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