New FAA Enhanced Enforcement Policy applied to Flight Attendant Assaults
In response to post January 6 2021 inflight incidents
Every Reason to make Zero-Tolerance THE STANDARD
This is the FAA notice enhancing deterrents against those who would dare assault a flight attendant, a key member of commercial passenger safety!!!
The protection of flight attendants has become a high visibility issue since January 6, 2021, as evidenced by the above historic statement by the Administrator and the below actions:
- ·The FAA Administrator has issued two major policy statements announcing a zero-tolerance policy for unruly passengers
- ·There have been three very public press releases about proposed civil penalties of $27,500, of $14,000, of $12,500 and of $20,000
- National press coverage of at least 30 national and international stories about the ZERO TOLERANCE POLICY. The deterrent value of this wave of publicity warning passengers of the strict consequences is great.
All of this is clearly warranted, but this “emphasis”–again justified—obfuscates the real underlying problem. The power to redress inflight assaults on crew members has been in existence for 20 years–49 U.S. Code § 46318.Interference with cabin or flight crew. [note: a sexual assault is included in the 2018 amendment]. While the power has been available, the actions against the perpetrators have not been robust.
The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA-CWA) has done an excellent job of chronicling their fight against these batteries:
- U.S. flight crews ill-equipped for sexual harassment complaints – Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (afacwa.org)
- Flight attendants need to feel empowered to fight harassment – Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (afacwa.org)
- #MeToo in the Air – Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (afacwa.org)
- For Flight Attendants, Sexual Assault Isn’t Just Common, It’s Almost A Give – Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (afacwa.org)
- AFA Talks #MeToo Onboard at DISPAX Unruly Passenger Conference – Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (afacwa.org)
- Flight attendants and passengers call for clearer policies around sexual assault on planes – Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (afacwa.org)
- Experts Explain Why Sexual Assaults Occur On Airplanes & What Airlines Can Do To Stop It – Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (afacwa.org)
- ‘It’s pervasive, it’s every day’ — How a history of sexism in the airline industry echoes today – Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (afacwa.org)
The mere fact, that politicized assaults or perhaps confrontations based on public health issues, has justified an enhanced enforcement policy. Based on the AFA documentation of the problem, there should not be a termination date to the ZERO TOLERANCE POLICY. This is not a new problem and the 1,300 past FAA actions have not served as a deterrent to such behavior.
ADMINISTRATOR DICKSON, Order 2150.3C Change 4 should continue in force. With the Compliance Policy in place, there may be underutilized personnel to have an effective campaign until passengers get the message, “No Assaults of the Flight Crew”!!!
March 16, 2021 at 12:25 p.m. EDT
The Federal Aviation Administration said it is reviewing some 450 cases of passengers behaving badly on airline flights and has opened 20 formal enforcement cases as flight attendants continue to grapple with people refusing to comply with orders to wear masks aboard airplanes.
In light of those figures, the agency said Monday that it would extend a “zero-tolerance” policy for bad behavior as long as a federal mask mandate for transportation remains in force. The FAA has the power to levy fines and make criminal referrals against passengers who violate safety rules.
“The policy directs our safety inspectors and attorneys to take strong enforcement action against any passenger who disrupts or threatens the safety of a flight, with penalties ranging from fines to jail time,” FAA administrator Steve Dickson said in a statement. “The number of cases we’re seeing is still far too high, and it tells us urgent action continues to be required.”
The initial order went into force Jan. 13, a week after airlines reported a wave of disruptive behavior linked to the storming of the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump. It was due to expire at the end of March.
The FAA said airlines had reported more than 500 incidents to the agency since late December, mostly involving passengers refusing to wear masks.
On Friday, the agency announced that it was seeking a $14,500 fine against a man accused of refusing to wear a mask on a JetBlue flight from New York to the Dominican Republican on Dec. 23. The man ignored warnings from flight attendants that he had to follow the rules and the captain ultimately declared an emergency and returned to New York, the FAA said.
Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants, a major union, said the FAA’s policy had served as an effective deterrent against bad behavior. The union had called for it to be extended.
“People need clear instructions on safety,” Nelson said in a statement. “The patchwork, politically skewed discussion around masks has created confusion and conflict. We don’t have time for failure to comply with the federal mask mandate. On an airplane, that behavior puts everyone at risk, and we can’t stand for that.”
In the past, the FAA has only rarely used its enforcement powers, initiating some 1,300 cases in the past decade.
Measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus by travelers have been significantly tightened under the Biden administration.
In January, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a sweeping mandate requiring masks on planes and other forms of transportation. The Transportation Security Administration said that violating those rules could come with fines of more than $1,000.
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