As published by Sito Pantoja and Edward Wytkind in The Hill
Anyone who has flown knows how stressful air travel can be — the long lines, crowded terminals and lost baggage aggravate many of us. But that’s no excuse for physically attacking airline customer service agents — a trend that is, disturbingly, on the rise. These working people, who serve customers and play a big role in keeping air travel safe and efficient, deserve the peace of mind that their employer and government are doing everything possible to protect them from assault.
This isn’t hyperbole. Across the nation reports are surfacing of these employees coming home with torn clothes, black eyes and bloody lips, and some have been hospitalized. Clearly, our aviation system must be a place that is safe for both passengers and frontline airline employees.
Lawmakers have the power — and we would argue, the responsibility — to help curb this senseless violence. And they should use the federal aviation bill, now before Congress, to step up and protect airline employees. The House version of that bill beefs up protection for passenger service employees by extending to them the protections in our laws that make it a crime to interfere with or assault a flight crew member. The reforms also ensure that people who commit violence are held accountable by giving passenger service agents a clearer path for pursuing legal action if necessary. But to our dismay, Senate lawmakers effectively turned a blind eye to this problem by failing to include a similar provision in that chamber’s version of aviation legislation.
Read more in The Hill