With Covid-19 restrictions gradually lifting across the USA, travel has increased and with this it seems so has disrespectful and unruly behaviour from certain passengers in the country. After several incidents were reported which ended in staff having to restrain passengers with duct tape, including one involving a 13 year old boy, United Airlines has now ordered its staff not to use this method.
United attendants have been using duct tape to restrain unruly passengers for the last few decades, with incidents having been reported occasionally over the years since as far back as 2003. However, according to a memo recently sent to the company’s employees, United Airlines has urged its flight attendants to “please remember that there are designated items onboard that may be used in difficult situations, and alternative measures such as tape should never be used”. The memo also stated that “the overwhelming majority of our customers have been on their best behaviour … and returned to our flights with confidence and enthusiasm”.
The airline stated that when disorderly behaviour occurs, employees should use standard de-escalation measures, including using “the huddle process…which involves discussing the situation with the captain, customer service representative and ground security coordinator for evaluation and solutions”. The memo also said that flight attendants should use the safety manual to help with decision-making if they think that a passenger should be denied onboard service. “In the event [they] are unable to reach an agreement with a customer about one of our safety-related policies, [they] should follow [their] regular de-escalation and training process and always use [their] best judgment”, the memo advised.