An American Airlines flight attendant was captured on video appearing to sleep during an afternoon flight from Cozumel, Mexico to Dallas. While the siesta was not allowed, the passenger’s decision to shame the flight attendant on Twitter may cost him his job. Was this grievance handled correctly?
Angry Business Class Passenger Captures American Airlines Flight Attendant On Video Snoozing On Flight To Dallas
Let me preface this story by saying that I approach it tenderly, because we have but a few seconds of video and a complaint from a passenger. On the one hand it is a bit sad that the passenger chose to video the flight attendant appearing to sleep instead of pushing the call button or getting up to summon him (and it is possible the passenger did try this first, but I doubt the FA would sleep through that…).
On the other hand, this video has now widely circulated on social media and was covered by View From The Wing yesterday. At this point, the cat is out of the bag and an investigation is likely already underway regardless of my story on this matter. It also merits mentioning that the flight attendant really had no business (if you’ll pardon the pun) sleeping when he should have been serving business class passengers.
@AmericanAir We we’re on business class, Cozumel to Dallas today. All we wanted was a couple of drinks and the flight attendant decided to sleep instead. #Cozumel #SouthwestAirlines #UnitedStates #wffa #FoxNews pic.twitter.com/TxLEkrJ3D9
— javier montoya (@trumpswig24) July 1, 2022
For the avoidance of doubt, I asked the ever-knowledgeable AA insider JonNYC about this and he confirmed:
A fireable offense, even with all the union nonsense.
But, I -do- think call-button and/or a walk-by with an “excuse me” might have been a good intermediate measure, personally– I know I would have.
But, I’d say this FA is potentially in very serious trouble.
— 🇺🇦 JonNYC 🇺🇦 (@xJonNYC) July 11, 2022
And his concerns mirror my own, which is why I wanted to discuss it today.
Yes, the flight attendant messed up. Yes, U.S. flight attendants frequently remind us they are primarily here for our safety and this is just rank hypocrisy if the flight attendant was napping on the job. And yes, business class passengers should expect that a flight attendant monitor the cabin checking for beverage refills during the flight…that’s part of why people pay extra for the privilege of sitting up front.
But why not get up and tap the guy on the shoulder? Because we are not just talking about the guy getting a scolding: he may well lose his job. His own livelihood may about to be turned upside down.
And that’s where I find myself questioning the passenger’s action in recording the flight attendant instead of trying to help him. After all, he is a fellow human.
It’s really not as simple as saying the passenger was justified or the passenger was unjustified. Regardless of his motives I don’t think we can simply condemn the passenger, even if I would have handled it differently (and frankly you might be surprised how many juicy clickbait incidents over the years have gone unreported because I did not wish to get crew members in trouble). I think American Airlines has an interest in knowing that one of its flight attendants is sleeping on the job.
Regardless of the summer of misery, flight attendants have had to endure at American Airlines (and I know it has not been easy), sleeping on the job is simply not okay. Extended work schedules, delayed hotel availability, and the same rate of delays and cancellations passengers have experienced does take its toll. But for the safety of passengers onboard and the integrity of the airline, if flight attendants are exhausted, they should call in sick.
While passengers have dedicated crew rest areas and designated break times on longer flights, this is not the case on shorter flights, like the journey from Cozumel to Dallas which is under three hours.
I do feel bad for the flight attendant, but if he was sleeping, it seems to me he must be held accountable. Even so, I’d think twice about doing the same thing the passenger did…in fact, I have witnessed something similar and done nothing…on more than one occasion. And I’m thinking about that this morning too…and whether I did the right thing by letting the flight attendant sleep…
How would you have handed this incident as passenger?