American Airways is becoming a member of Southwest Airways in holding off on resuming in-flight alcohol gross sales following an assault in opposition to a flight attendant final week.
The strikes come as People are returning to the skies amid a travel boom because the COVID-19 pandemic eases — and a corresponding spike in unruly conduct by passengers.
mentioned Saturday in a memo to workers that alcohol gross sales, which have been to renew Tuesday, will stay suspended till at the least Sept. 14 — the date the federal face-mask mandate on planes is about to finish. Gross sales of in-flight alcohol have been suspended final yr in an effort to keep up social distancing on flights.
On Friday, Southwest
which was additionally set to renew alcohol gross sales in June, introduced an unspecified delay in an inner memo. “Based mostly on the rise in passenger disruptions in flight, I’ve made the choice to re-evaluate the restart of alcohol service on board,” mentioned Sonya Lacore, head of Southwest’s in-flight operations, within the memo, according to CNN.
American’s rationalization was comparable: “Over the previous week we’ve seen a few of these stressors create deeply disturbing conditions on board plane,” Brady Byrnes, American’s managing director of flight service, mentioned in a memo, according to the Dallas Morning News. “Let me be clear: American Airways won’t tolerate assault or mistreatment of our crews.”
“Day by day, we’re subjected to verbal and typically bodily altercations, primarily centered round masks compliance,” Julie Hendrick, president of the Affiliation of Skilled Flight Attendants, said in a statement Saturday. “These altercations are sometimes exacerbated when clients have consumed alcohol within the airport or alcohol they’ve introduced onboard. … it’s clear that now will not be the time to return gross sales of alcohol.”
Final week, a flight attendant on Southwest lost two teeth when she was assaulted by a passenger, who was arrested when the airplane landed in San Diego.
The Federal Aviation Administration mentioned Monday that there have been about 2,500 reports of unruly conduct by passengers to date this yr, together with about 1,900 incidents when passengers refused to put on face masks, as required. In a typical yr, about 100 to 150 cases of unruly behavior are reported, in accordance with the FAA.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg on Sunday urged passengers to comply with the principles and respect flight attendants.
“The flight crews and different staff you encounter, they’re doing their job,” he mentioned, according to the Associated Press. “They’re following rules they usually’re there to maintain you protected. It’s completely unacceptable to ever mistreat a transportation employee.
“And naturally, there’s very severe fines and enforcement round that,” Buttigieg added.
Final week, the FAA introduced it was seeking fines of up to $15,000 each in opposition to 5 passengers who assaulted lately flight attendants or refused to adjust to their orders.
Earlier this yr, it was reported than around 3,000 people had been banned from flying by airways resulting from unruly conduct because the masks mandate was imposed final yr.