Sarah Nelson Association Of Flight Attendants Cwa, Sarah, Confusion discussed on Balance of Power


Us Major airlines have dropped their mask mandates allowing customers to choose whether or not to mask up but it's a bit more complicated than that And for more on reactions to this change we bring in Sarah Nelson association of flight attendants CWA president Sarah It's great to see you Thank you for coming back to talk to us The last time we spoke it was a few weeks back It was before the mandate actually dropped And you were talking about some of the many challenges that flight crews have experienced here Now that it's gone there's a relief for flight crews But there's also a patchwork of policies In some cities you have to have a mask in the airport only to take it off on the airplane How much of a problem is that confusion for your members It's always a problem Joe when people are giving different instruction in different spaces and they can't keep up with what the rules are Most people actually want to follow the rules and comply But when they're not prepared to do so don't have certain expectations and those expectations aren't met That gives rise for anxiety and that can often lead to conflict and it makes our jobs harder So the way that this was communicated in the first place from one moment in time will flights were already in the air Yeah That was a chaotic situation that we would not want to duplicate ever again So you would call this an improvement despite the existing confusion things are getting better for association members Well listen there was a collective sigh of relief with the end to the mask mandate and the reason for that is because flight attendants have been on the front lines taking the brunt of enforcing this We don't make the rules but we enforce the rules to keep us safe And flight of citizens themselves were having to wear those masks 15 16 17 hours a day If you include the time that they're transiting to and from the hotel So this was this was very difficult for flight attendants and they're glad that they don't have to do that anymore But I have to tell you the conflict doesn't end on the planes And because people are getting upset for a lot of different reasons And a lot of those physical confrontations that you've seen on the evening news those are the result of other issues entirely not having anything to do with masks So we still have a lot of work to do to calm down our skies With that said Sarah should customers who were kicked off of flights for being aggressive for refusing to wear a mask for actually assaulting flight crews over the last two years Should they be on a no fly list Should they never fly again Well let's be really clear If someone got physical if someone assaulted a crew member or another passenger Yeah they're flying privileges should be gone And there is a bill in Congress to put this in place that would be enforced by the TSA And we could do that We could have a transparent process where there's also a due process So people do have the ability to appeal They also have the ability to try to get off that list at some point in time But if someone was aggressive and violent absolutely they need to be banned If they just didn't follow the rules then we need to have a process in place where maybe they can come back on board if they were just refusing to comply with that mask mandate But it should not be a blanket Come on back right now because we're sending the message to everyone that the rules overall don't matter And that's just not true We have to keep everyone safe Last time we spoke you were also concerned about the role that alcohol was playing in this not so much on the airplane Sarah but in the airport and the aggressive marketing that we're seeing there are people who are getting sloshed before they get in the gate even and walking onto the plane as a starting point there The mask mandate coming down is not going to change that Should booze be banned in airports Well Joe I can tell you right now that I could take that position but it would not be a popular position And I wouldn't win Here's what we want though Alcohol has always been a problem in the skies It's always been a major contributor to disruptive passengers to violent passengers And so we don't need what happened during the pandemic which was to go policy for these concession errors in the bars in the airports that were in place for public health measures that they have kept in place because they determined this is a way that they can earn money So what we need to do is we really just need to have a crackdown in the airport where we're not pushing us to go alcohol but we've got clear signage and also that all of the bartenders are trained in the stoplight system so that they're not serving people to the point of being inebriated before they come to our planes And we just have to be really clear with people that you're the boarding will be denied If you appear to be inebriated and you can't bring your own alcohol on board you have to wait to be served by an aviation professional Your union represents 50,000 flight attendants at 17 airlines Sarah We've started hearing from some of those airlines coming back to life if you will after COVID And a lot of people strong demand to get on airplanes We've seen quite a number of delays because of a labor shortage difficulty getting cruise to Gates and timed or even to cities in time for planes to take off How much of a problem is this going to be the sort of growing pains of coming back to something closer to normal So Joe first of all I just want to really applaud our union And working with the airlines to get the federal relief in place.

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