A United Airlines flight attendant has apparently been caught on video telling passengers that she “really doesn’t want to fight” them over the federal face mask mandate that requires all passengers aged two and over to wear a face mask at all times unless actively eating or drinking or classed as exempt due to a medical reason.
The speech, made over the public address system of what appears to be United Airlines aircraft, occurred during a recent flight from Frankfurt to Chicago and was recorded by Stef Schrader who happened to be a passenger on the plane.
Stef uploaded the video to Twitter where she commented: “The stewardess on my Frankfurt to Chicago flight was having absolutely none of anyone’s whining about masks.” She continued: “It’s also really depressingly telling how much shorter (and less exhausted-sounding) the German-language version of this announcement was”.
In the short minute and a half video, the flight attendant is heard reminding everyone to wear a mask before saying:
“We know that everyone, most people, have been vaccinated, we also know that everyone has tested negative for Covid. It does not matter. That mask has to be worn onboard the aircraft at all times, covering your nose and mouth… even when you’re sleeping.
We really don’t want to fight with you ladies and gentlemen, we really don’t. And if we do have to fight with you, it could mean writing up a report and if we do write up a report that could mean a $35,000 fine for you (up to a $35,000 fine) and you could be banned from flying on airplanes.
So please ladies and gentlemen, unless you are eating or drinking something or two years of age or under… and acting like a two year does not count, you must wear a mask over your mouth and nose at all times.”
United Airlines has reported relatively few unruly passenger incidents in comparison to other carriers where disruptive passenger behavior has exploded since late last year. The FAA has received nearly 4,000 unruly passenger reports since the start of the year and almost three-quarters of those reports are mask-related.
One of the reasons, it’s believed, that United has managed to keep unruly passenger incidents low is because the airline has deliberately taken a low-key attitude towards mask enforcement.
Along with federally mandated announcements to inform passengers of the mask mandate, United has a three-stage escalation approach to deal with mask non-compliance. After two warnings, United’s flight attendants are encouraged to stop interacting with the passenger, even if the passenger still refuses to wear a face mask.
Flight attendants then write a report afterwards so that United’s internal security team can follow up.
Following this three-stage process, there should be no need to “fight” with passengers.
United did, however, recently remind flight attendants that they mustn’t, under any circumstances, use duct tape to restrain an unruly passenger after the technique was highlighted by the media following a number of incidents aboard American Airlines and Frontier flights.
Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA-CWA) which represents United flight attendants called the memo a “sick marketing stunt” considering that United removed duct tape from its cabins in 2014.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.