A Southwest Airlines flight attendant reportedly lost a few teeth after being assaulted by a passenger on a flight over the weekend, according to Transport Workers Union Local 556.
In a letter sent to Southwest and obtained by Fox News, TWU Local 556 President Lyn Montgomery called attention to the assault, saying it was just one of hundreds of misconduct incidents on southern flights -west in recent weeks.
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“Last weekend one of our flight attendants was seriously assaulted resulting in facial injuries and the loss of two teeth,” Montgomery said in the letter. adding that this is only “one of many occurrences”.
According to Montgomery, the number of “passenger non-compliance events” has reached an “intolerable level.”
She also stressed that these incidents are also becoming “of a more aggressive nature”.
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“I am writing to you today because we cannot tolerate our beloved co-hearts (sic) being abused in this way, and because I ask for your help and leadership in putting an end to these parodies”, the letter continued.
The union said there were 477 incidents in the southwest from April 8 to May 15.
Southwest Airlines confirmed to Fox News that a flight attendant was physically assaulted on a flight from Sacramento to San Diego that landed Sunday morning.
But the airline has yet to confirm the number of incidents it has faced in recent weeks.
“The passenger repeatedly ignored standard flight instructions and became verbally and physically abusive on landing,” Southwest spokesman Chris Mainz said. “Law enforcement officials (LEO) were invited to meet the flight on arrival and the passenger was taken into custody.
Mainz said the airline “does not tolerate or condone verbal or physical abuse by our flight crew, who are responsible for the safety of our passengers.”
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However, the union is asking for more guarantees for airline crews. One of the requests is to better inform passengers of the consequences they may suffer from doing so, including fines, criminal charges and possibly being placed on a short list of travelers.
“One tool to better use would be the Southwest Airlines Restricted Traveler List,” the letter read. “The flying public must understand that blatant behavior will result in a ban on flying with Southwest Airlines. “
The union is also asking for more federal air marshals on flights to help in such situations.
“It should be noted that Southwest flight attendants are doing all they can to ensure compliance while creating a safe environment for all passengers and crew,” the letter continued. “But they also need the support and tools to avoid hurting themselves and others. ”
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) cracked down on “unruly” passengers who flouted flight attendant instructions and, in some cases, turned violent.
In its most recent action, the agency revealed that it had proposed fines ranging from $ 9,000 to $ 15,000 against five passengers for allegedly embarrassing and in some cases even assaulting flight attendants.
“We have zero tolerance for unruly or dangerous behavior,” the FAA tweeted.