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New Report Sheds Light on Abuse Against Airline Customer Service Agents



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.

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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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IATA: Damage to Air Travel Will Extend Into 2023



Any comeback by the beleaguered airline industry will extend into 2023, according to new data released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the airlines’ main trade group.

Long-haul travel will continue to lag behind and passenger fears about flying in general will contribute to the delay, Lonely Planet reported.

IATA estimates that passenger traffic won’t rebound to pre-crisis levels until at least 2023. It expects that global passenger demand in 2021 will be 24 percent below 2019 levels and 32 percent lower than the forecast the association made in October 2019.

The new data is based on a slower opening of economies and relaxation of travel restrictions. Lockdowns and shelter-in-place orders could return if the virus comes back strong in the fall and winter with a second wave, as some health officials have predicted.

In addition, another contributing factor is quarantine measures that have been instituted by various countries as well as individual states in the U.S. According to IATA, 69 percent of recent travelers that it surveyed said they would not consider traveling if it involved a 14-day quarantine period once they arrive at their destination. IATA is asking governments to find alternatives to the quarantine measures.

Of course, all of this is contingent upon the public’s willingness to fly—and instilling confidence in that will take time, said IATA’s director general and CEO, Alexandre de Juniac.

“To protect aviation’s ability to be a catalyst for the economic recovery, we must not make that prognosis worse by making travel impracticable with quarantine measures,” he said. “We need a solution for safe travel that addresses two challenges. It must give passengers the confidence to travel safely and without undue hassle, and it must give governments confidence that they are protected from importing the virus.”

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