2 Airlines Will Postpone Serving Alcohol Amid Surge of In-Flight Violence

Two main airways, American and Southwest, have postponed plans to renew serving alcohol on flights in an effort to cease a surge of unruly and typically violent conduct by passengers who’ve shoved, struck and yelled at flight attendants.

Both airways introduced the insurance policies this week after the most recent assault was captured on a broadly watched video that confirmed a girl punching a flight attendant within the face on a Southwest Airlines flight from Sacramento to San Diego on Sunday.

The flight attendant misplaced two enamel within the assault, in response to her union, and the passenger, who was recognized by the police as Vyvianna Quinonez, 28, has been charged with battery inflicting severe bodily harm. She has additionally been barred for all times from flying Southwest, the airline mentioned.

It was not instantly clear if Ms. Quinonez had a lawyer, and she or he didn’t reply on Saturday to messages left at a quantity listed beneath her title.

American Airlines announced a similar policy on Saturday.

It said that alcohol sales, which had been suspended in the main cabin since late March 2020, would remain suspended through Sept. 13, when a federal mandate requiring passengers to wear masks on airplanes, buses and trains is set to expire.

In a memo, American said it recognized that “alcohol can contribute to atypical behavior from customers onboard and we owe it to our crew not to potentially exacerbate what can already be a new and stressful situation for our customers.”

“Over the past week we’ve seen some of these stressors create deeply disturbing situations on board aircraft,” said the memo, which was issued to American’s flight attendants on Saturday. “Let me be clear: American Airlines will not tolerate assault or mistreatment of our crews.”

American said that alcohol would continue to be served in first class and business class, but only during the flight and not before departure.

The changes came after Lyn Montgomery, the president of Transport Workers Union Local 556, which represents flight attendants on Southwest Airlines, urged the airline’s chief executive, Gary Kelly, to stop the “abuse” employees have been facing.

“We ask that you take a strong stance to ensure that unruly passengers are not welcome to travel with us, period, full stop,” she wrote in a letter to Mr. Kelly on Monday. “Flight crews must feel safe and supported when reporting to work.”

The changes also came after the F.A.A. said on Monday that it had proposed fines of $9,000 to $15,000 for five passengers who had exhibited disruptive behavior on flights.

One of those passengers was in the main cabin of a JetBlue flight in February. She yelled obscenities and pushed a flight attendant who took away champagne and food that had been brought to her by a passenger in first class, the F.A.A. said.

Another passenger on a JetBlue flight in January ignored instructions to stop drinking alcohol and yelled at crew members after they told him to stop talking on his cellphone, the agency said.

In January, a passenger on Alaska Airlines shoved a flight attendant who was walking down the aisle and documenting which passengers were wearing masks, the F.A.A. said.

Steve Dickson, the F.A.A. administrator, said in a videotaped statement that the agency has a “zero-tolerance policy” for passengers who cause disturbances on flights or fail to obey instructions from the flight crew.

Passengers, regardless of their vaccination status, must wear masks on planes and in airports, he said.

“But this isn’t just about face masks,” Mr. Dickson said. “We’ve seen incidents related to alcohol, violence toward flight attendants and abusive behavior in general.”

Those who violate the rules, he said, may be subject to fines and jail time. As a former commercial airline captain, Mr. Dickson said, he knows that disruptive passengers can pose a safety risk.

“Flying is the safest mode of transportation,” he said, “and we intend to keep it that way.”

Source link Nytimes.com

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