Unions and onlookers have come out in support of the crew.
On Saturday, a young adult passenger aboard a Frontier Airlines flight became loud and unruly, inappropriately touching two of the flight attendants, screaming about how his parents are worth $2 million dollars, and eventually physically assaulting the attendants that tried to reason with him. The attendants, with assistance from some other passengers, were forced to restrain the man in the interest of everyone’s safety by duct taping him to his seat. Footage of this incident has gone viral in the last several days, mocking the man, identified as 22-year old Maxwell Berry, for his behavior, and praising the crew for their actions. Unfortunately, Frontier didn’t see things quite the same.
All of the flight attendants involved in the incident have been suspended with pay by Frontier on the grounds that they did not follow proper protocols for unruly passenger restraint. This decision has prompted backlash not only online from those who saw the footage, but from the largest flight attendant union in the United States.
“Management should be supporting the crew at this time, not suspending them,” Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, AFL-CIO (AFA) President Sara Nelson said. “We will be fighting this with every contractual and legal tool available, but we would hope there will be no need for that as management comes to their senses and supports the people on the frontline charged with keeping all passengers safe.”
Frontier passenger allegedly touched 2 flight attendants breasts, then screamed his parents are worth $2 million, before punching a flight attendant. Frontier suspended the crew for duct taping the passenger to his seat as they landed in Miami. 22 yr old Max Berry is in custody. pic.twitter.com/4xS9Rwvafx
— Sam Sweeney (@SweeneyABC) August 3, 2021
According to reports from the Federal Aviation Administration, unruly passenger reports have been on the rise since January, with a large portion of the incidents related to face masks. A survey of flight attendants revealed that around 85% of them have been forced to deal with at least one unruly passenger so far this year.
“I’ve been yelled at, cursed at and threatened countless times in the last year and the most that has come out of it has been a temporary suspension of travel for the passenger,” one flight attendant wrote in the survey. “We need real consequences if flight attendants are ever going to feel safe at work again.”