The CEO of Delta Airlines announced that the airline will issue permanent bans on passengers who lack what he termed “basic civility”. They will permanently ban anyone who disrespects fellow customers or crew.
Airlines in the US have been banning people who refuse to wear masks. Delta has now added 800 people in its no-fly list. But there is a worrying trend of people being disruptive and even violent. So, airlines and the FAA had to react, as this lack of basic civility threatened to become political. This is why Ed Bastian, Delta’s CEO, felt he needed to highlight the airline’s policies:
“Please know that respect and civility to others on our planes, at our airports, in our workplaces and in our society – even when we have differences of opinion – have always been a requirement for our people and our customers. Those who refuse to display basic civility to our people or their fellow travellers are not welcome on Delta. Their actions will not be tolerated, and they will not have the privilege of flying our airline ever again.”
Airlines have stepped up their vigilance, with regard to disruptive passengers. Today’s inauguration has been a focal point of these efforts, but not exclusively so. Accordingly, the FAA has instituted changes, with higher fines and jail time. And while some question the need for such measures, unfortunately there are more examples of a lack of basic civility, that other airlines have to deal with.
Lack of Basic Civility Take Two: Spirit Airlines
On the same day, we had news of two Spirit Airlines staff in Detroit requiring medical attention, after passenger attacks. The triggering reason was an argument over the size of carry-on luggage. Early reports of this particular example of lack of basic civility, described it as a fight, but the airline disagrees. They point out that for a fight to happen, both sides must be aggressors:
“This was not a fight. Describing it as a fight is untrue to our agents. In actuality, three passengers attacked our agents without provocation. This violent behavior is completely unacceptable and has absolutely no place in airports or any other place of business. We will not tolerate abusive behavior of any kind, and these passengers will be banned from any future travel with Spirit.”
Being civil doesn’t sound like a particularly strict rule. If you are nice, you can fly with the airline. If you are uncooperative or violent, you can’t. Ever. Even if we disagree on how to define basic civility, airlines’ own definition has to stand, in their aircraft. That such a simple ‘principle’ even needs to be said, is disappointing.
Some people forget why cabin crew are in that cabin with us, when we fly. It’s not to serve drinks or food. Firstly it is for that safety demo that most people ignore because they think they know it (they don’t). Secondly, it is to keep us alive if something bad happens. And that, by the way, is why there need to be a certain number of flight crew per the number of passengers. So some basic civility towards them and the airlines that employ them, really isn’t much to ask.