“We ask our carrier, government and the aviation public for help in ending this epidemic of aggression and aggression. Flight attendants are the first responders in the sky who focus on safety. As people come back into the air, we ask for everyone’s help. by complying with requests from flight attendants to help ensure a safe and fun atmosphere for all, ”Lyn Montgomery, president of TWU Local 556, said in a statement to CNN.
“This unprecedented number of incidents has reached an intolerable level, with passenger non-compliance events also becoming more aggressive in nature,” she wrote.
Southwest Airlines spokesman Chris Mainz said the carrier “does not tolerate or condone verbal or physical abuse by our flight crew.”
“The passenger repeatedly ignored standard flight instructions (table top upright, seat belt, etc.) and became verbally and physically abusive upon landing,” Mainz told CNN.
Paramedics took the flight attendant to a San Diego hospital for treatment, police said.
CNN was unable to reach the passenger for comment and it is not known if she has a lawyer.
Montgomery cited Sunday’s altercation in his letter and said the flight attendant had facial injuries and lost two teeth.
Montgomery has asked Southwest Airlines to ensure the flying public are aware that disruptive or violent behavior is punishable by local and federal laws and could result in a ban on flying with the airline.
“Passengers who fail to comply with federal mask regulations and mandates disrupt our operations and our customers’ travel plans, resulting in gate returns, flight diversions and delays,” Montgomery said. “Consistency is also key to this: No passenger needs to be kicked out of a single flight to be able to board the very next Southwest Airlines flight after a non-compliance incident.
The letter also calls on Southwest Airlines executives to call on the US government to increase the number of federal air commissioners on planes.
“We understand and share the Union’s concerns about passenger non-compliance and disruptive behavior,” Mainz said. “We are working in partnership with the (Federal Aviation Administration) to investigate incidents so they can take appropriate action. We will continue to work with the FAA and the Union to preserve and protect the safety and well-being of our flight crews and customers. ”
The Federal Aviation Administration says it has a zero tolerance policy for unruly passenger behavior and has proposed civil fines ranging from $ 9,000 to $ 52,500 against at least 15 passengers in May.
The FAA said in a press release on Monday that it had received around 2,500 reports of unruly behavior from passengers since the start of the year, including around 1,900 reports of passengers refusing to comply with the federal mask mandate facial.
It comes as more people fly, as summer vacation approaches and much of the United States relaxes restrictions imposed during the Covid-19 pandemic.