Southwest and American Airlines have extended alcohol suspensions to passengers on flights after a significant increase in unruly passenger behavior across the country.
American Airlines announced the decision in an internal memo sent to flight attendants on Saturday and acquired by HuffPost, coming a day after Southwest announced a similar decision following a raid on flight attendants that left lost two teeth
“Flight attendants have to be on the front line every day. It not only ensures the safety of our customers. It also calms fears, answers questions and enforces policies such as masks that the federal government needs,” the American Airlines memo reads.
“During the past week We’ve seen these stressors create a very disturbing situation on the plane. Let me be clear: American Airlines will not tolerate physical harm or treatment of our crew,” the memo continued.
A Southwest Airlines representative said in a statement to HuffPost on Sunday: The decision to suspend further flights It, which is scheduled to end later this summer, comes “in the wake of an industry-wide incident of passenger disruption”.
“We recognize that this decision may disappoint some customers. But we feel this is the right decision at this time for the safety and comfort of all customers and crew on board,” spokesman Chris Mainz said.
Association of Professional Flight Attendants A representative of American Airlines flight attendants hailed the decision to extend the alcohol suspension in a statement on Saturday. which also raised concerns about the increased physical violence in flights.
“It’s no secret that the threats facing flight attendants are increasing day by day. Every day we face verbal and sometimes quarrelsome. The focus is on mask compliance,” said union president Julie Hedrick. “These quarrels are often exacerbated when customers drink alcohol at the airport or the alcohol they bring on board.”
Alcohol was suspended by airlines at the start of the 2020 pandemic to reduce interaction between crew and passengers and for general safety, Hedrick said it would not be returned to American Airlines’ main cabin until it arrived. at least mid-September When the federal masked order was imposed Alcohol will still be available for the First and Business Class cabins.
Since January, the Federal Aviation Administration It received about 2,500 reports of unruly passenger behavior, it said last week. This includes reports of about 1,900 passengers refusing to comply with the federal mask mandate.
A recent incident involving a Southwest flight attendant in San Diego also set fire to passengers for not fully complying with mask requirements. Witnesses told local media.
The FAA in January announced it would enforce a tougher “no acceptance” policy on stubborn passengers after Many “troubling events” on the plane.
Previous passengers will be warned or consulted or civil penalties. with this upgrade whoever intervenes mayhem or threatening to physically harm the crew of the aircraft or anyone on board. shall be liable to a fine of up to $35,000 and imprisonment.
This policy is set to expire at the end of March. But because of the ongoing events Therefore, the time has been extended
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