Flight Attendants Call for Zero Tolerance Policies for Pro-Trump Rioters

“Acts against our democracy, our government, and the freedom we claim as Americans must disqualify these individuals from the freedom of flight.”

As the COVID-19 pandemic has raged on, essential workers like health care providers, domestic workers and retail workers have been on the frontlines in the fight against the spread of infection. Flight attendants have similarly been severely impacted by the pandemic. And just as in many other essential fields, the vast majority of flight attendants (86 percent) are women. Flight attendants faced many challenges in 2020—furloughs, layoffs due to travel bans, new sanitation procedures, and the risk to their own health.

Now, they’re also facing unprecedented risks to their safety. Several flight attendant unions are calling for protection and strong action against pro-Trump rioters, who disrupted several flights on their way to Washington, D.C. to storm the Capitol building. The rioters chanted slogans, shouted and disturbed the peace in the cabin, forcing flight attendants to de-escalate the situation and order them to their seats. 


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The largest flight attendant union, The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, is now calling for zero tolerance policies for politically motivated disturbances, saying “Acts against our democracy, our government, and the freedom we claim as Americans must disqualify these individuals from the freedom of flight.”

In addition, they’re calling for the enforcement of unruly passenger policies, which make it clear that interfering with the duties of a flight crew member is against the law and unruly passengers can be fined up to $25,000.

Flight attendants have critically important jobs, and play essential roles in our safety and security. They are bravely fighting back against rioters and violent, anti-democratic protesters, both for their own safety and the safety of everyone aboard their flights. They, like many other feminists and activists, are making it clear that white supremacist mobs and politically-motivated harassment are never acceptable, and should not be normalized in society.


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About

Katie Fleischer is a senior at Smith College, majoring in the Study of Women & Gender, and a former Ms. editorial intern.