Thursday, September 20, 2007

UAL forms passenger incident review committee

United Airline logoUnited Airlines is creating an internal committee to review incidents in which passengers are physically abusive toward employees. According to an article in the Denver Post, United's new "passenger incident review committee" formalizes the process of investigating incidents in which passengers are physically abusive or threaten physical harm of United employees and are an "ongoing safety risk."

The process involves determining how the company responds to the passenger - such as limiting future travel on United - and legal and emotional support for the affected employee. It also includes a system of tracking the incidents.

The Association of Flight Attendants pressed United to start the program. Flight attendants are the most likely to receive abuse from passengers, as they spend the most time with each customer and do not have access to authorities in flight.

"We have seen an increase in these incidents throughout the industry," said Sara Nelson, a spokeswoman for the Association of Flight Attendants at United. "The biggest frustration is delays and cancellations, and that has the added problem of people sitting at airports and going to a bar and drinking alcohol. Alcohol is a leading cause of air-rage incidents."

More passengers with fewer airline employees tending to passengers, the frustrations of traveling, fewer amenities and packed planes also increase "the opportunity for passengers to show their unreasonable side," Nelson said.
AFA also would like flight attendants to be provided with additional training on how to de-escalate conflicts. Sounds like a very good idea to me.