Who would have thought that in 2020 and 2021 flight attendants would add “mask enforcer” to their job description?
An Updated Job Description For Flight Attendants
You’ve read a lot of stories lately about poor behavior onboard, mostly from selfish passengers who think the rules do not apply to them and refuse to wear a mask. I’m not going to rehash all of them, as much as note that they continue into 2021.
For example, on Sunday a lady made a maskless speech on “tyranny” on an American Airlines flight headed to Washington National:
Tonight this lady refused to wear her mask abord the @AmericanAir flight from Charlotte NC towards #WashingtonDC DCA. She was yelling and gave a speech about “tyranny”. The passengers in neighboring rows moved.
She calmed down when officers in civilian outfit intervened#COVID19 pic.twitter.com/h95v9ddpXH
— Emir Sfaxi (@EmirSX) January 11, 2021
She calmed down and apparently wasn’t removed. That’s privilege in action, but we read stories about this every single week. It may be getting old, but it is not going away.
Julie Hedrick, National President of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, showcases the fears:
It is disturbing to see these acts of aggression towards other passengers and Flight Attendants continue. Yesterday, racial epithets were hurled towards a Black Flight Attendant as they rode to the DCA airport in the hotel shuttle. On another flight, a group of passengers removed their masks after takeoff and harassed the Flight Attendants and other passengers throughout the flight, up to and including the deplaning process. These are just two examples of too many we have seen on flights this week. This behavior is dangerous and threatening.
We are well-trained safety professionals, we are essential workers, and we have clear and concise rules when dealing with a disruptive passenger. We should not have to deal with a group of passengers harassing other passengers and crew, whether through chanting, yelling, or physical altercation. We see compliance on the ground, but after takeoff, the story sometimes changes.
To say I am worried about our Flight Attendants’ safety is an understatement.
My point is simple: flight attendants don’t deserve this.
It’s just one more reason, but a good one, to keep your mask on and voice down while flying. Yes, do it for your fellow passengers. Yes, do it because airlines can set their own rules for onboard behavior, including making masks compulsory. But also do it for flight attendants, who are the enforcers of that policy and simply doing their jobs. Why would you want to make life miserable for someone else, even if you do not agree with the protective value of masks?
Flight attendants have enough on their plates. Now they are mask enforcers too. The last thing they need is abuse from passengers to make their life even harder. So please be kind to one another. Be kind to flight attendants. Let’s get through this time together with a shared goal of reaching a point in which masks no longer will be necessary…