Join the TWU in demanding the creation of a Flight Attendant Bill of Rights. This would hold airline employers accountable and ensure flight attendants receive universal safety protocols, clear and consistent guidelines for reporting assaults, regular training and self-defense courses.
Flight Attendants are airlines’ first responders. They are on the frontlines when it comes to ensuring the flying public’s safety. Yet, despite flight attendants’ essential, and potentially dangerous role, airlines treat them as disposable workers and often refuse to listen to the critical insights they can provide about operations, working conditions, safety issues and customer concerns.
That’s why, in addition to supporting the Protection from Abusive Passengers Act, which would ban abusive airline passengers from flying, TWU is also standing up for flight attendants and calling for the creation of a Bill of Rights.
As first defenders of U.S. airline travel, flight attendants need a Bill of Rights that includes:
- Transparency & Voice on the Job: While pilots are briefed by their employers on the health of the aircraft – including issues that regularly impact passengers – flight attendants are often kept in the dark, making it harder for them to do their job and keep passengers calm on the plane. As frontline safety professionals, flight attendants need a voice on the job. That means monthly or quarterly meetings with airline leadership and union leaders to discuss working conditions, safety concerns and coordination with passengers, as well as transparent policies that provide flight attendants insight into critical aspects of airlines’ operations.
- Universal Safety Policies & Protocols: The current safety policies and protocols that exist for flight attendants across the major airlines fail to provide clear direction for flight attendants dealing with unruly passengers and could ultimately put lives at risk. This is increasingly concerning given that, just last year, there were 5,981 reports of assaults by unruly passengers. There need to be universal policies and protocols for all flight attendants that take into account the reality of assaults on aircrafts. These policies and protocols should be jointly developed by flight attendants and regulators.
- Reporting Incidents & Accountability: Both airlines and regulators, including the FAA, DOT and OSHA, need clear, consistent reporting protocols so flight attendants can report assaults by unruly passengers without fear of discipline against them for speaking up. Airlines must also provide legal support, confirmed round trip travel and pay protection or paid time for flight attendants who participate when unruly passengers are taken to court and/or are required to cooperate with law enforcement. Additionally, unruly passengers should be required to go through a clear vetting process by the TSA before being allowed to travel on any airline, and flight attendants who filed the report must be kept informed throughout this process.
- Self Defense Courses & Post-Trauma Support: As assaults on aircrafts continue to surge, flight attendants need regular, mandatory and paid self defense training courses that teach them how to protect themselves in violent situations on planes that mirror real-life situations. They also need access to support and care services at no cost to the flight attendant to address these traumatic events and to ensure affected flight attendants are given the tools to recover mentally, physically and emotionally.