In an update from the head of the American Airlines flight attendants union, crewmembers were briefed on the union’s priorities, reflected in their discussions with Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.
- A third airline bailout, a small piece of which would fund paying workers at risk of furlough
- Priority access to vaccines for flight attendants
- A “a comprehensive ‘No-Fly List’ to further address threatening and abusive behavior on the airplane”
The proposed third airline bailout, currently a part of the stimulus package in the House of Representative, gives $15 billion more to airlines in exchange for not furloughing workers through September. The actual cost of keeping workers at-risk of furlough on payroll during that time at full pay and benefits is approximately $1 billion, the rest pocketed by airlines. (Since I don’t wish to debate the math, I’d stipulate $2 billion in payroll costs against a $15 billion bailout, much of which would go to airlines not furloughing anyone.)
The lack of merit in such a proposal is well-documented. And the issue of vaccine priority puts flight attendants into the same lobbying bucket as everyone else trying to fight over who should get special priority of those without as much political muscle. Fortunately (?) it shouldn’t be that long before we switch from people not being able to get vaccinated to begging people to go get vaccinated. (The union only “made it clear that Flight Attendants wishing to be vaccinated” get priority, emphasis mine.)
But under-covered perhaps is the desire for a national Do Not Fly list that’s no longer limited to national security as a justification. Now an individual airline may ban a passenger, the union wants such situations to mean the person is banned from all air travel (and then a next logical step: why should they be permitted on Amtrak or Greyhound if they’re such a threat?). They want
- for “those who choose to act outside of this [behavioral] expectation need to face substantial consequences from the FAA.”
- And “ensure that a passenger banned from one airline is not re-accommodated on another”
- Not only should people be banned from flying when they engage in actions where that’s not spelled out as a punishment for their crime, but they should be banned upon simply being charged with some crimes, rather than convicted, including unrelated to aviation: “APFA strongly believes that those charged with crimes in relation to the riot of January 6 should be added to the DHS Terrorist Watchlist.”
These are the people meeting with the Secretary of Transportation. Who is representing your interests?
[…] there really should be a national no-fly list for poorly-behaved passengers, after […]