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Violence in the Sky: Risk of Work Injury for Flight Attendants

 Posted on September 20,2021 in Workers Compensation

Gilroy workers' compensation attorneyMany people who choose the career path of a flight attendant do so because of the many fringe benefits that go along with the job, including free flight and travel opportunities, compensation and benefit plans, and flexible schedules. What many flight attendants likely did not bargain for was the high risk of violence from unruly passengers. A recent survey reveals just how common—and how dangerous—that risk has become. If you have been injured on the job as a flight attendant, by a violent passenger or some other cause, workers’ compensation benefits can provide financial relief.

Violent Passenger Incidents for Flight Attendants

The Association of Flight Attendants conducted a survey of 5,000 of their members and found that more than 85 percent of participants had dealt with some level of unruly passengers in the first half of 2021. As air travel has again begun to increase after last year’s pandemic travel restrictions were lifted, the number of incidents has spiked. Almost 60 percent of participants had dealt with at least five confrontations with passengers, and just under 20 percent had experienced at least one physical incident.

Some of the more common incident types reported by flight attendants included:

  • Extensive verbal abuse from passengers, especially those who are visibly drunk

  • Yelling and swearing from passengers in response to masking directions in accordance with federal rules, as well as aggressively challenging flight attendants’ directions to ensure compliance with other federal rules

  • Throwing trash at the flight crew

  • Shoving flight attendants

  • Kicking seats

  • Defiling restrooms in defiance of flight attendants’ instructions

  • Following flight attendants through the airport in order to continue yelling and harassment

Many of the survey’s participants cited alcohol, mask mandates, flight delays or cancellations, and routine safety reminders as the main causes for the escalation of aggressive behavior by passengers.

More than 70 percent of flight attendants said they received no response or follow-up from airline management after filing incident reports. They say they have also seen no efforts being made to address this increase in difficult and violent passengers.

Flight attendants also say that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and Department of Justice (DOJ) need to do more to address the issue. According to federal law, “no person may assault, threaten, intimidate, or interfere with a crew member in the performance of the crewmember's duties aboard an aircraft being operated.”

The FAA has received more than 3,000 violent incident reports so far this year and recently announced that they are implementing a zero-tolerance policy against any passenger that intimidates, interferes with, threatens, or assaults any airline crewmember.

Contact a California Work Injury Attorney

Over the past few years, there has been an increase in workplace violence incidents that have resulted in serious injuries to employees. If you have suffered an injury because of a violent incident at work, an experienced Gilroy, CA workers' compensation lawyer can help ensure you get the benefits you are entitled to. Call Cramer + Martinez at 408-848-1113 to schedule a free and confidential consultation.



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