Chew on this: between April 8th and May 15th there were 477 passenger misconduct incidents on Southwest Airlines alone. One incident, which occurred on Sunday, resulted in a flight attendant losing two teeth.
An Alarming Number Of Misconduct Incidents On Southwest Airlines, Including Lost Teeth
On Sunday morning, Southwest Flight 700 departed Sacramento (SMF) for San Diego (SAN). A passenger onboard flouted crew member instructions and became even more belligerent after landing. As a Southwest spokesperson explained:
“The passenger repeatedly ignored standard inflight instructions and became verbally and physically abusive upon landing. Law enforcement officials were requested to meet the flight upon arrival, and the passenger was taken into custody. We do not condone or tolerate verbal or physical abuse of our flight crews, who are responsible for the safety of our passengers. ”
Lyn Montgomery, President of Transport Workers Union (TWU) Local 556, confirmed:
“This past weekend, one of our flight attendants was seriously assaulted, resulting in injuries to the face and a loss of two teeth.”
While Southwest may not tolerate it, it is certainly occurring…at an alarming rate. Even as the U.S. Department of Transportation has stepped up the severity and publicity surrounding passenger fines for poor behavior, 477 incidents suggests that the message has not sunk in yet.
To address this matter, the union representing Southwest Airlines flight attendants has proposed three remedies:
- Warn passnegers
- Be consistent
- Increase air marshals
I don’t fly Southwest, but I know when I fly United or American the warnings are very clear: I’m not sure how to make it any clearer. I also am not sure more air marshals are the answer (versus more fines).
But consistently is key. As the union notes:
“No passenger should be removed from one flight only to be permitted to board the very next Southwest Airlines flight after a non-compliance incident. We ask that you take a strong stance to ensure that unruly passengers are not welcome to travel with us. Period. Full stop.”
That is an inherently reasonable position.
A Southwest flight attendant was attacked after landing on Sunday and lost two teeth. Over the last month, Southwest has experienced an alarming number of misconduct incidents onboard. The solution remains an enigma, though it starts with aggressive and consistent enforcement of rules already on the books.
image: Southwest Airlines