Mateusz Maszczynski is a serving international flight attendant with experience…
The two largest flight attendant unions in the United States have urged their members to remain vigilant and take a hard line on any politically motivated disruption onboard flights in the run-up to the Presidential inauguration on January 20. The warnings came after pro-Trump supporters disrupted several flights bound for Washington D.C. ahead of a rally in the nation’s capital that ended up with a large mob invading the Senate.
On Wednesday evening, representatives for American Airlines, Delta and United Airlines managed to confirm that their pilots and flight attendants currently in Washington D.C. had been moved to safety and were now staying at hotels close to area airports rather than downtown.
Both the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA-CWA) and the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA), however, raised concerns that this might not be enough to protect aircrew after Trump activists disrupted several flights, intimidated passengers and ignored the lawful orders of crew members.
“We are taking a hard line for flight safety and we are encouraging airlines, government agencies, and law enforcement to help keep problems off our flights,” a spokesperson for AFA, which represents crew from 20 airlines including United, said on Wednesday.
“It is important we maintain order and calm in our cabins – for safety and security immediately and for confidence in air safety among the traveling public,” the statement continued.
On Tuesday, Senator Mitt Romney was branded a “traitor” by Trump supporters while he waited to board a Delta Air Lines flight from Salt Lake City to Washington D.C. A large group, none of whom were wearing face masks, continued to chant “Traitor, traitor, traitor,” during the flight, ignoring commands from flight attendants to stop.
A spokesperson for Delta said it was working with law enforcement on methods to keep flights safe. The airline did not rule out enforcing mass bans on passengers who had traveled to D.C. in the last few days.
“As a values-led company, we expect our people and customers to treat one another with dignity and respect as we safely fly them to their destinations, including wearing of masks and following all instructions from Delta people at the airport and on-board,” a statement from the airline explained.
A Delta spokesperson continued: “There’s nothing more important than protecting the integrity of the safety and security measures that keep our employees and customers safe.”
In another incident onboard an American Airlines flight to D.C, flight attendants “struggled” to control a plane full of Trump supporters who projected a Trump 2020 image onto the ceiling of the aircraft cabin.
In response, the Association of Professional Flight Attendants demanded American take a hard line, saying its members should never have to deal with political disruption onboard flights.
“As safety professionals, we are well trained in handling inflight disruptions, but we should never find ourselves having to deal with politically motivated verbal or physical altercations onboard,” a statement from the union explained. APFA urged flight attendants to remain “extra vigilant” over the coming days.
“These disruptions have never been and will not be tolerated. We will continue to be in contact with American to ensure everything possible is being done to keep you safe,” the union told its members on Wednesday night.
American Airlines said it was bringing in more airport staff to deal with any issues immediately on the ground. A spokesperson also said that the serving and consuming alcohol would be banned all domestic flights departing D.C.
Mateusz Maszczynski is a serving international flight attendant with experience at a major Middle East and European airline. Mateusz is passionate about the aviation industry and helping aspiring flight attendants achieve their dreams. Cabin crew recruitment can be tough, ultra-competitive and just a little bit confusing - Mateusz has been there and done that. He's got the low down on what really works.