This is solid advice – not just for flight attendants – and was even prior to the latest tensions.
“…as a crewmember working for a U.S. carrier, we should always use caution while on layover anywhere in the world,” the memo from the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA-CWA) to United’s 22,000 flight attendants reads.
“Avoid wearing clothing that will easily identify you as either a crewmember or a U.S. citizen,” the memo continues, while also advising flight attendants to maintain situational awareness and to stay clear of large protests, rallies and mass public events.
Back in September I wrote about the flight attendant who gave her life saving passengers when Pan Am flight 73 was hijacked by four Palestinian Abu Nidal Organization terrorists in Karachi, Pakistan on September 5, 1986.
Flight attendant Neerja Bhanot alerted cockpit crew to the hijacking, and they were able to escape (leaving no one to fly the plane for the terrorists). She slipped information to a passenger on how to open an aircraft door.
And most importantly in this context, she realized that Americans would be most at risk so when hijackers demanded passengers’ passports she disposed of many American passports by hiding them under seats and throwing them in the trash. Bhanot helped passengers with their escape and was killed shielding 3 children with her body.
It was dangerous to be an American abroad 34 years ago. It’s always been smart to avoid stumbling into the middle of conflicts you’re not a part of and where you stand out.