United Airlines reminded employees last week not to use tape to restrain unruly passengers, a move that comes after numerous airlines recently made headlines after footage of their flight crews doing just that were uploaded online.
“Please remember that there are designated items onboard that may be used in difficult situations, and alternative measures such as tape should never be used,” said John Slater, senior vice president of inflight services at United Airlines, in a memo distributed to inflight crews on Friday and obtained by USA TODAY.
Slater encouraged personnel to peacefully de-escalate “challenging circumstances,” such as “discussing the problem with the Captain, Customer Service Representative, and Ground Security Coordinator.”
A spokeswoman for United Airlines verified to USA TODAY that the policy is not new, but rather a reiteration of current safety principles.
The memo, however, has sparked criticism from a major union representing flight attendants. The message, according to Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, is a “sick marketing stunt by the airline that removed duct tape from the cabin in 2014.”
“The ‘essential’ workers on the frontlines deserve support and respect,” Nelson tweeted, calling on United Airlines to apologize.
United Airlines did not respond to Nelson’s post.
Flying: According to the FAA, a passenger called in fake plane hijacking threats, while another attacked a woman cradling a baby.
Southwest Airlines: A passenger accused of assaulting a flight attendant has been charged with criminal violence.
The message comes at a time when airlines are reporting an increase in incidents involving passengers. According to a tweet from the Federal Aviation Administration on Tuesday, they have logged 3,889 disruptive reports since the beginning of the year, as well as 2,867 reports of passengers refusing to wear masks during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
In July, a lady was taped to her seat on an American Airlines aircraft after reportedly attempting to open the plane’s door and abusing a flight attendant.
This month, flight attendants on a Frontier Airlines flight used duct tape to hold a passenger who allegedly attacked and molested crew members.
The AFA has been contacted by USA TODAY for more information.
Source: USA TODAY