Flight Attendant Claims They’re A “Government Official,” Threatens 20 Years Prison For Misbehavior

Usually it’s the passengers going on extreme rants and behaving in an unbalanced fashion once the door closes. But cabin crew have been known to go on power trips. I’ve monitored other passengers shifting my belongings in the overhead bin and gotten looks from flight attendants before. Have you ever feared being approached with the question, “are we going to have a problem today?”

One Spirit Airlines flight attendant went on a bizarre rant, pre-emptively warning passengers about the consequences of bad behavior – including failure to wear masks – by letting everyone in the cabin know that they are a government official, commercial aircraft are government property, and they can write anyone up that they want simply for acting out of character. That comes with 20 years (or life!) in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Once the door is closed if we have to ask you more than once to cover your nose, mouth, put your mask on, we’re not going to be rude, we’re not going to be nasty, we’re going to simply take your seat number and your name and when we get where we’re going you’ll either be arrested, fined but you’ll also be placed on the no-fly list meaning that you’ll not be able to fly any airline for the rest of your life.

..Let me remind you, we are government officials and this is government property. If you choose to act out of content or character on this aircraft, you will be arrested and will face 20 years imprisonment and you’ll also receive a $250,000 fine.

..If a weapon is used, you’ll face life in prison. So, before anybody gets creative, wanna feel froggy, wanna be bad, wanna be a superhero, let me let you know what’s going on,

Airlines aren’t government-owned, just partially nationalized as part of the CARES Act bailout process. Airline employees have effectively been government employees, with the federal government picking up a majority of airline payroll in 2020 and seeking more. But as a technical matter flight attendants aren’t government employees and certainly do not have police powers.

Airlines have turned over security to the government. Governments own nearly all U.S. airports. And air traffic control isn’t just regulated by the government, it’s provided by the government. Everything about an aircraft has to be approved by the government, more or less, even handing out hand sanitizer to passengers.

However airlines have their own mask rules, and can ban passengers who do not wear masks from flying on their airline only. While a crewmember can report an incident to authorities, and a captain can choose to divert a flight, most inflight incidents do not end in criminal charges.

Update: Spirit Airlines offers,

The message in this video is not Spirit’s approved message for welcoming our Guests onboard our planes and is not authorized. We appreciate the Guest who brought it to our attention, and we’re addressing the issue to make sure that this does not occur again in the future.

(HT: Paddle Your Own Kanoo)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

More articles by Gary Leff »


  1. OK. So she got a shot of truth serum before showing up to work and said what many FA’s think.

    I have to wonder if the captain heard that and let it continue.

  2. There are several government owned airlines, Emirates, Etihad and Qatar, Turkish among them. Spend money on them the funds goes to the coffers of the state.

  3. We are not government workers but yes we can have you placed in prison fined Exetera because you are breaking federal regulations the regulations go as far to say if you disobey FA instruction. And yes while you are in the air the FA does have police power so to speak

  4. @W Horseshit. Provide me your badge number then. Impersonation Law Enforcement is a felony.

    Passengers are not licensed by the FAA. The FAA has zero power of enforcement of fines on a private citizen. Period.

  5. you are all dumb an FA has no power if they put hands on you you can defend yourself!! and press charges for doing so. being a FA is a entry level job and you dont need any education to do it.

  6. @not you: You write, “being a FA is a entry level job and you dont need any education to do it.”

    I’m afraid I have to disagree with your comment. Why would Spirit Airlines, American Airlines, or any other airline hire flight attendants when they are illiterate or do not have the minimum equivalent of a sixth-grade education?

    As an American Airlines flight attendant job qualification, you must be at least 20 years old with a high school diploma or GED equivalent and read, write, and speak English fluently.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.