Airline and airport workers started an online campaign asking sympathy from travelers during the holiday season. CWA Local 6001, the union that represents American Airlines and United Airlines passenger service agents, plans to show the online advertisement at some of the busiest US airports.
The online campaign targets Facebook and Instagram users as the airline industry expects a number of travelers that’s close to pandemic levels. DFW International Airport expects 2.3 million passengers from November 18 to 29.
According to the Transportation Security Administration, there were more than 2 million air travelers for five straight days.
Aneta Session, a union member who helped organize the online campaign, said that “There are a lot of rude customers”. Session added that “they are upset because the airlines are short-staffed and flights have been delayed or canceled”. Unfortunately, there were cases when passengers assaulted agents.
Alarming Number of Unruly Passengers
This year, flight attendants had to deal with unruly passengers during flights. However, workers on the ground are also dealing with the same problem. Two weeks ago, a passenger at Dallas Love Field punched a Southwest Airlines employee while boarding a flight.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, there are more than 5,300 cases of unruly passengers onboard planes this year. However, the agency doesn’t publish statistics of airport incidents. According to Session, gate agents also face danger when dealing with frustrated passengers.
Online Campaign to Humanize Airline Workers
Airlines are trying to hire employees to meet the increasing demand from travelers. And to avoid mass cancelations and other operational problems, airlines are offering bonuses to their employees who will work during the holidays.
JetBlue offers a $1000 attendance bonus while American offers 150% pay for employees working on certain dates. Plus, American Airlines employees with perfect attendance from November 15 to January 2 will get a 300% pay.
The goal of the online campaign is to humanize airline workers. Session said that the situation created a “heavy burden on them”. Session added that “They are overworked. They are doing a lot of overtime trying to get those planes off the ground”.