A new survey of airline customer service agents revealed that almost all of them had experienced verbal abuse from passengers.
The United States Government Accountability Office’s report entitled “Commercial Aviation: Information on Passenger Assaults against Airline Customer Service Agents at Airports” was released Tuesday and is available in full here.
The survey found that of the 104 airline customer service agents surveyed, 96 respondents said passengers had verbally harassed them. Another 46 employees said a traveler had verbally threatened them.
In terms of physical confrontations, 22 customer service agents said a passenger attempted to assault them and 12 had actually been attacked, with 34 others admitting they had encountered other harmful actions.
The report also found that around 10 percent of those surveyed said passengers physically assaulted them in the past year, with almost every employee who experienced an assault reported it to airline management or airport law enforcement.
State and local laws differ on how police handle the disgruntled passengers, but the research shows a more visible presence from law enforcement at airports and more de-escalation training from airlines would result in lower attempted assault numbers.
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American Airlines Increasing Domestic Service for the Summer
Like the rest of the United States, American Airlines is ready for the summer.
As the demand for air travel slowly rises, American is bringing back suspended routes, offering double AAdvantage miles, reopening Admirals Club lounges and offering enhanced cleaning protocols.
American is planning to fly 55 percent of its domestic schedule and nearly 20 percent of its international schedule in July as compared to the same period last year, totaling around 40 percent of the airline’s systemwide capacity compared to July 2019.
Demand has started to rebound, as the carrier reported it flew a daily average of about 110,000 customers per day in May, which is an increase of 71 percent over the approximately 32,000 passengers it transported daily in April.
“We’re seeing a slow but steady rise in domestic demand. After a careful review of data, we’ve built a July schedule to match,” American Senior Vice President Vasu Raja said in a statement. “Our July schedule includes the smallest year-over-year capacity reduction since March. We’ll continue to look for prudent opportunities to restore service so our customers can travel whenever and wherever they are ready.”
Starting on June 22, American will begin reopening Admirals Club lounges around the country with pre-packaged snack offerings and a full-service bar for customers to enjoy complimentary beverages.
As for the airline’s commitment to health and safety guidelines, American will utilize enhanced cleaning measures, enforce social distancing protocols and provide limited food and beverage offerings.
The carrier is also allowing customers to book with confidence, as American announced it would waive change fees for customers purchasing tickets by June 30. Travelers are allowed to change their origin and destination cities as part of this offer, but must pay any fare difference.
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