At a ‘Crew News’ employee town hall session last week, a recording of which was reviewed by View From The Wing, American Airlines Vice President of Inflight Brady Byrnes shared with flight attendants the steps the airline has taken to manage what they’re going through with disruptive and unruly passengers – and passengers who won’t wear masks.
On the whole, and while it varies from flight to flight, I’ve found American Airlines cabin crew to be more confrontational over masks than flight attendants at other airlines. On average United crew seem to ‘write it up’ and otherwise don’t confront masks, in contrast, and so they have fewer incidents going viral in social media.
- The introduction of a new “mask compliance form” and a “tightened” investigation process for unruly customers. The airline’s passenger disturbance form now requires a second flight attendant to sign off now, because “it’s much more difficult for a customer to dispute” the facts that way.
- The acronym the airline uses to ban unruly passengers, A.C.T., they need ‘accurate information’ that’s corroborated (second signer on the form) though this time he said C was for ‘collaboration’, submitted timely.
- How customer misconduct reports now get follow up to the flight attendant that submits it when the misconduct rises to ‘a certain level’ so that crew realize something is being done.
- That corporate security has been working with airports to stop ‘to go’ alcohol sales – and that they were successful with Charlotte but restaurants there are back selling alcohol to go again and that Dallas – Fort Worth did bartender training on the issue.
- There’s new digital signage at American’s gates ‘don’t mess with flight crew, don’t mess with representatives of the airline, we will prosecute you’
- The airline continuing to give up inflight revenue by keeping alcohol sales out of coach cabins.
Molly Wilkinson, American’s Vice President of Regulatory and International Government Affairs, added that the Chief Enforcement Office of the FAA “had a half time FTE dealing with this pre-covid, They have now gone to 5 full time employees on this alone investigating customer violations and they’re trying to expand in next year’s budget.”
It seems as though airlines are getting better at this just as the craziest inflight incidents – though still appalling – are becoming a bit more rare, and the FAA is ramping up enforcement just as there’s a bit less to enforce.