De-escalation tips for flight attendants in the airlines. Southwest Airlines recently banned a passenger for life for physically assaulting a flight attendant – Click here for the news story.
It’s about time that the airlines start doing something about these people that have lost their freaking mind and thing it is okay to loud, rude, obnoxious and violent to others! Nothing damages morale more than believing your bosses do not care about you and your safety!
A flight attendant approached some passengers about properly wearing their face masks, and they chose to become loud and rude about it. The airlines have the right, as does any business, to decide under what conditions they will do business with the public, and in this case the airlines have decided that passengers will continue to wear masks a little longer, and in this case until September, 2021, as I write this. These passengers chose to ignore the mandate, without any consideration for others around them.
The flight attendant and the passenger argued for a moment before the flight attendant walked away, presumably to notify the captain. The flight attendant then came back and re-engaged with the passenger. Witnesses stated that a passenger could be heard angrily calling out, “Don’t touch me! Get off of me!” and so on. A that point, a passenger got up and started to record with her cell phone and caught the moment when the passenger suddenly came up out of their seat and began to punch the flight attendant several times before other passengers stopped the assault.
When the flight attendant walked away the first time, that was the time to either hand the situation over to a colleague to see if they would have better luck with the passengers, or at least be taking slow, deep breaths to calm herself down and consider her options when she came back to re-engage with the passengers, who she KNOWS are going to continue to be loud, rude and obnoxious!
When the flight attendant returned, she should have considered maintaining a reactionary gap, which would have kept the passenger from being able to say “Don’t touch me! Get off of me!”, and would have kept the flight attendant out of reach of the passenger’s fists!
I hope other airlines begin to follow through with consequences for volatile passengers who physically assault and hurt airline staff, ban them, fine them, whatever. Nothing damages morale more than seeing your bosses do nothing and show no empathy or compassion to staff getting hurt.
Some personal safety and de-escalation tips for flight attendants in the airlines:
1) Mentally prepare yourself to interact with loud, rude, obnoxious, self righteous people on your flight.
2) Take slow, deep breaths to help yourself stay calm.
3) Do not try to talk over a loud, rude, obnoxious person, just let them vent.
4) Consider turning it over to a colleague before YOU end up saying or doing something that escalates the situation.
5) Be a team, look out for your colleagues and step in to assist them if they are dealing with a loud, rude, obnoxious person.
6) Don’t let yourself get offended, frustrated or impatient, it will only increase the likelihood that YOU will end up doing or saying something that escalates the situation.
7) Disengage and walk away to calm yourself down and consider your options if you can not turn it over to a colleague. Once you have established self control, go back and re-engage.
8) Maintain a reactionary gap so that you do not violate their sense of space and out of reach of their fists! This also avoids the affect of “looming” over someone, which can seem very antagonistic and confrontational to a person who is already upset and stressed. Stand about a row of seats away and address the person from a distance.
#flightattendants #airlines #flightattendantlife