About three weeks ago one of the most viral American Airlines altercations – out of many – took place. A passenger assaulted an employee and gate D23 itself before storming off and then returning to heap more abuse.
— Billy Corben (@BillyCorben) August 28, 2021
What was most remarkable about the incident is how long it took for police to respond. What I hadn’t known was the rest of the story. As discussed at an American Airlines internal question and answer session with flight attendants last week, a recording of which was reviewed by View From The Wing, it appears that this passenger still flew to London – on American Airlines.
Airline President Robert Isom offered that ‘if the incident is as-described’ then “please make sure that customer has been banned. We’ll take care of that.” It’s a little bit late, and other executives acknowledged that law enforcement was extremely slow to respond and only eventually caught up with the passenger at baggage claim.
However Vice President of Inflight Brady Byrnes went on to explain the different processes that the airline has for banning passengers. First off, there are (2) different banned passenger lists.
- Mask compliance. These passengers who refuse to wear a mask are banned from flying the airline at least until the mask mandate has been lifted. They may be unwilling to follow the airline’s and federal rules about masks, but they might be otherwise peaceful.
- Misconduct. “Any physical threat, touching, name calling that’s misconduct.”
The discussion was prompted by a flight attendant asking about a passenger reported to be unruly, where he was told that the passenger wouldn’t be allowed to fly, but continued on with their American Airlines journey anyway.
Byrnes explained that “the number one thing that we ask the flight attendants to do is fill out a CERS report. Why? That is what triggers the entire investigation process with corporate security.” In the past the airline didn’t follow up with flight attendants who filled out a report, but the airline is working to change that. Now “each flight attendant who fills out a CERS report due to misconduct will be afforded continuous updates up to and through the end of the investigation process.”
The airline won’t announce the number of people on ‘do not fly’ lists but it is “multiple-folds over where [American Airlines was] in 2019.”
When you a flight attendant fills out a report on a passenger, Byrnes told them to remember the acronym A.C.T.:
- Accurate information
- It has to be Corroborated by a fellow crewmember (for legal purposes “to ensure that when we put somebody on the ‘do not fly’ list it sticks, there’s no legal challenge”)
- Timely, the faster the report gets into the system, the faster corporate security can investigate, the faster a passenger can be stopped from traveling on the airline.
Bobbi Wells, the airline’s new Vice President of Safety, reiterated the airline’s lobbying the FAA and airports to no longer sell ‘to go’ alcohol.