Ask the FAA to protect Flight Attendants from being filmed while performing their duties

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In today's stressful aviation environment, flight attendants are the first responders responsible for the safety of every passenger. One need only watch the news to see the increasing amount of incidents of "air rage," disruptive, unruly, or disgruntled passengers, and a largely anti-airline sentiment among the traveling public.  As front line safety professionals, a majority of public dissatisfaction toward airlines falls upon flight attendants, who have the largest interaction with passengers and are tasked with enforcing FARs (Federal Aviation Regulations) designed to ensure the safety of all passengers. Specifically, per FAR 121.580, "No person may assault, threaten, intimidate, or interfere with a crewmember in the performance of the crewmember's duties aboard an aircraft being operated under this part." While the amount of passengers charged with interfering with a crewmember remains low, these incidents are occurring more and more frequently and make flight attendants' job more difficult, and social media now compounds the problem.

Several recent high profile incidents have emboldened some passengers to seek and, in some cases, instigate confrontation with airline personnel, including flight attendants, in order to reap publicity and financial gain.  Additionally, the overwhelmingly negative public perception of airlines, especially flight attendants, causes some passengers to become hostile toward flight crew and increasingly unwilling to comply with FARs.  The advent of social media has resulted in passengers often venting their dissatisfaction online. Cell phones now record people in all areas of life, including aboard aircraft, and these recordings are often made public, further increasing the public's generally negative perception of flight attendants. The many recent incidents between passengers and airline personnel have escalated to the point where some passengers film flight attendants performing their duties, and, in some cases, post these videos on social media and news outlets, sometimes even obtaining financial compensation for doing so.  Passenger filming of flight crew exposes flight attendants to unwanted public attention on social media and news outlets, public ridicule, intimidation, and, in some cases, even threats toward the flight attendants being filmed. Flight attendants currently have no government backed protection from being filmed by passengers, which has led many flight attendants to become intimidated and fearful of performing their safety related duties, lest passengers become angry, film them, and post the video on social media and news outlets. 

Flight attendants would be better able to perform their duties, ensure the safety of all passengers, and enforce FARs if they were protected from being filmed and intimidated by passengers, and from the fear that they may be subject to public ridicule and shaming for simply doing their job.  Flight attendants nationwide urge the FAA to regard the difficult job flight attendants face, and ask the FAA to offer them protection from being filmed by passengers so they can perform their duties without fear of being filmed, publicly broadcast, shamed, and even threatened on social media.  Such protection would allow flight attendants to better perform their job of keeping each and every passenger safe.



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