A flight attendant collects trash on a flight aboard a Boeing 737 Max from Dallas Fort Worth Airport to Tulsa, Oklahoma, December 2, 2020.
Carlo Allegri | Reuters
The country's largest flight attendant unions on Wednesday raised security concerns over politically motivated flight disruptions after a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol and demanded that the presidential election results be overturned.
The union's comments came after at least two disruptions on board flights to Washington, DC, including a Delta Air Lines flight with Utah Republican Senator Mitt Romney that saw some passengers singing "traitors." Delta said it was aware of the incident and that "our crew quickly resolved and resolved the problem". A spokeswoman for the senator did not comment.
"The mob mentality behavior that took place on multiple flights to the DC area yesterday was unacceptable and threatened the safety of every single person on board," said Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, which represents approximately 50,000 cabin crew members United, Alaska, and more than a dozen other airlines.
The riot at the Capitol "adds further concern about departures [participants] from the DC area," said Nelson. "Actions against our democracy, our government and the freedom we claim as Americans must exclude these people from freedom of flight."
On an American Airlines flight to Dulles International Airport earlier this week, passengers shouted and verbally abused each other and forced the flight attendant to turn on dimmed cabin lights and order passengers to their seats. MaranieRae who said she was on the flight.
Americans are reviewing the incident, said spokesman Curtis Blessing. "We welcome our excellent crew members for their professionalism in de-escalating a tense situation on board and bringing our customers safely to their destination," he said.
Julie Hedrick, president of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, which represents American Airlines' more than 25,000 flight attendants, said in a statement that the union "is incredibly concerned about the recent politically motivated incidents on board passenger aircraft.
"Regardless of political belief, the cabin of an airliner must necessarily be a quiet environment for the safety of everyone on board," she said.
Cabin crew unions did not demand tolerance for such incidents. Interfering with the duties of a flight crew member is illegal and unruly passengers can be fined $ 25,000.
The airlines said they are taking various precautions to protect employees, including moving flight crews to airport hotels to avoid locations in central Washington DC.
American Airlines also doesn't sell alcohol on board flights to and from Washington DC and has increased staff at airports in DC, US spokesman Blessing said.