In yet another story showing that COVID is turning America into a nation of a**holes, a report showed that the airline industry has seen a sharp uptick in customers behaving like buffoons. As you might have guessed, much of the issue is the mask requirements on flights.
The Hill reported:
More than 85 percent of flight attendants dealt with unruly passengers in the first half of 2021, according to a survey conducted by the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA).
Nearly 1 in 5 flight attendants experienced a physical incident, according to the survey, which polled nearly 5,000 flight attendants.
On Thursday, the AFA demanded that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Department of Justice shield airline employees and customers from abusive individuals. The union stated that about 71 percent of flight attendants who submitted incident reports with management received no follow-up, according to The Hill.
AFA President Sara Nelson issued a statement that “this is not a ‘new normal’ we are willing to accept” and that “we know the government, airlines, airports, and all stakeholders can take actions together to keep us safe and flying friendly.”
The Hill also pointed out that federal law prohibits passengers from “interfering with airplane crew members.” Still, customers who engage in disruptive behavior on flights have been given only a “slap on the wrist” in the form of temporary travel bans.
From The Hill:
The FAA has documented more than 3,600 reports of unruly passengers this year, a huge increase over previous years. The agency’s data shows that a majority of the incidents stem from enforcement of the federal mask mandate.
The FAA put a zero-tolerance policy in place earlier this year which would subject rowdy passengers to criminal charges, fines, and permanent travel bans. The Hill noted that recently, “the FAA proposed civil penalties against nine passengers, including a $21,500 fine against a passenger who refused to wear a mask during a December flight.”
But so far, only two passengers have agreed to pay the fines imposed on them, which means that despite getting over 3,000 complaints about disorderly customers, very few actually face consequences.
As masks continue to be required on flights, there can be no doubt that the numbers will continue to rise. This has even been an issue on the ground. Some of these unruly types have physically assaulted employees in stores over mask requirements. People have even been killed over altercations related to masks.
The mask mandates were largely excessive and many have argued that they are ineffective when it comes to curbing the spread of the coronavirus. Others resent the fact that after telling the nation that getting vaccinated would negate the need for masks, the government is now pushing mask mandates at the local level. People are rightly angry over the aleatory and ever-changing approach to masking and other COVID restrictions that Democrats in control of the government are taking.
However, this does not justify the behavior that flight attendants have described. It does not excuse becoming disorderly on a flight or in supermarkets. If these people know they will not face actual consequences for their actions, they are only being given incentives for acting like total buffoons. Perhaps the FAA might want to consider putting some actual teeth in their rules against unruly conduct.