A pair of flight attendants at American Airlines has been accused of unjustified retaliation against a passenger after he confronted them for not wearing masks…hours after they put their masks back on. There’s a lot of blame to go around.
AA Flight Attendants Accused Of Nasty Retaliation When Confronted For Not Wearing Masks
Andy Eisenmann noticed two AA flight attendants were not wearing masks during a layover in Dallas. He watched them for 40 minutes and took their picture:
I got to experience my FIRST EVER talk w police at PSP on Sunday, thanks to members of THIS DFW-PSP #2835 who lied to police saying I was unruly. One of these no maskers, perhaps, after I quietly said they offended me. @AmericanAir pic.twitter.com/W68ETj9yCp
— andy eisenmann (@andyeman) November 24, 2020
Turns out they operated his flight to Palm Springs. Eisenmann claims to be an elite member of American’s AAdvatange program (which strikes me as logical if he flew from Honolulu to Palm Springs via Dallas, which requires quite a bit of backtracking, but provides lie-flat seating in first class).
Toward the end of the flight, after the captain made a second announcement about obligatory face coverings, Eisenmann decided to “confront” one of the flight attendant over what he observed earlier.
The flight attendant immediately became defensive, claimed he was drinking coffee, then retreated to the back of the aircraft.
Upon landing in Palm Springs, police met the aircraft. The flight attendant had called ahead and claimed Eisenmann had been “unruly” onboard.
Eisenmann was placed in a small room without windows or vents, interviewed, then permitted to go home.
An American Airlines spokesperson noted:
We are looking into an issue that occurred on American Airlines flight 2835 from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) to Palm Springs International Airport (PSP) on Nov. 22. We’ve reached out to the customer to learn more about their recent travel experience and to address their concerns.
American requires all team members and customers to adhere to the face covering policy throughout the entirety of their journey – including all areas of the airport and on board aircraft. Our team is reviewing this incident internally and will conduct any appropriate follow-up.
What Should We Make Of This Incident?
Thus far, we only have Eisenmann’s side of the incident. It is possible that he was unruly. Perhaps he did start berating the flight attendant in a way that not constructive. In fact, I don’t think it was constructive to bring up the incident at all. The flight attendants were wearing masks onboard and thus his decision to confront one of the flight attendants, even if well-intentioned, was bound to backfire. Why? Because someone who deliberately flaunts the mask policy is not someone who can take correction.
If it turns out the flight attendants sat without their masks for more than 40 minutes, they should be terminated. Simple as that…more than a health decision, it’s a business decision (as United CEO Scott Kirby made clear).
Furthermore, if Eisenmann was not unruly, the flight attendant should be fired for filing a false police report. He should also be prosecuted for it. As View from the Wing notes, using law enforcement to retaliate against a customer is inexcusable.
I don’t think it was unreasonable for Eisenmann to photograph the two flight attendants who were not wearing masks. I do think it was counterproductive to confront them onboard. If it turns out they retaliated against him, I hope they both promptly lose their jobs. AA just laid off thousands of hard-working, decent flight attendants. Decent people don’t call the cops, even on do-gooders, when caught breaking safety protocol.