‘Unbelievable’: Flight attendants say passenger conflicts are becoming life threatening

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WASHINGTON, DC – SEPTEMBER 01: With the U.S. Capitol dome in the distance, an American Airlines airplane takes off from Ronald Reagan National Airport September 1, 2017 in Washington, DC. More than 16 million Americans will travel on an airplane to celebrate the Labor Day weekend, the unofficial end of summer, says airline industry trade […]

DENVER (KDVR) — More has to be done to keep flight attendants and the flying public safe. That’s what some aviation industry experts are saying after a flight attendant was assaulted on a jet that was forced to land in Denver

Some industry experts are calling what happened on the American Airlines Flight “unbelievable.”

They say these types of assaults are becoming all too common.

Lowell Valencia-Miller, a commercial pilot and assistant professor at University of Denver’s Daniel College of business says aviation is in a new era. 

“I never really thought that we would have say that we’d have to prepare for hand-to-hand combat on an airplane. As we look at aviation, we always have to be sensitive to our own personal safety and those around and we must trust the airlines to keep us safe,” said Valencia-Miller.

Valencia-Miller points to the growing numbers of assaults on flight attendants since 2019. 

Anxiety levels, he says, began to rise and the assaults began.

Valencia-Miller believes banning unruly passengers would help keep peace in the skies. 

“Delta Airlines has recommended creating a common no-fly list for passengers who are banned from flying to be shared with other airlines so that people who have caused disruption on one airline can’t simply go to another airline and do the same thing, and that makes a lot of sense,” added Valencia-Miller.  

We are told flight attendants first began to learn how to protect themselves after Sept. 11 and are finding those skills more useful than ever.

Valencia-Miller says the government will need to find other ways to keep people safe in the air. 

The attacks have the Association of Professional Flight Attendants alarmed and calling for change. 

“The behavior that we witnessed last night and have been witnessing is life threatening. It is dangerous and it threatens the safety of everyone on board that aircraft,” said Association of Professional Flight Attendants National Communications Chair Paul Hartshorn Jr.

The association represents 25,0000 American Airline flight attendants. 

The organization says they are seeing more assaults than ever. 

“The issue is that a lot of passengers feel emboldened, and they will not receive any kind of punishment,” added Hartshorn. 

The Professional Flight Attendants Association is afraid this latest incident will not be prosecuted.

“We have a history of ignoring this problem. The problem is still as dangerous as ever for flight attendants. It needs to stop,” Hartshorn emphasized. 

All eyes are on the American Airlines passenger now to see what happens next. 

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