WASHINGTON: Air rage has increased dramatically in the past three
To highlight this growing concern, the Association of Flight Attendants
(AFA) is on a PR-fueled crusade to get the Federal Aviation
Administration (FAA) to provide mandatory training for crew members on
how to handle the problem.
Last year, there were an estimated 4,000 acts of passenger misconduct,
including cursing, physical violence, or extreme acts such as trying to
break into the cockpit or open the emergency hatch.
To help with the media portion of the campaign, the AFA called in Tricom
Associates, an Arlington, VA-based agency. Staffers spent the bulk of
their time on the phone pitching the story to national newspapers and
"It's a good, solid story that has had great timing," said Scott
Treibitz, president of Tricom. "Congress was out, the president was on
vacation, and the media was looking for something to plug into that
The AFA held a press conference at Reagan National Airport in
Washington, DC, where members handed out copies of an "Air Rage Report
Card" that "flunked" the Justice Department and the FAA for the way the
organizations have handled the issue.
The press conference was held July 6 - the first anniversary of "Zero
Air Rage Day," launched by the International Transport Workers
Federation, a worldwide coalition of air-travel personnel. Last week's
event was covered on Today, Good Morning America, CNN, and C-SPAN, as
well as in national newspapers.
Flight attendants in DC, San Francisco, Phoenix, and Charlotte, NC,
handed out leaflets to inform the public about their stance on air
"We don't want to wait until a disaster strikes to bring attention to
what's happening," said Dawn Deeks, spokesperson for the AFA.
A commentary by the group will be printed in an upcoming issue of
Smithsonian Air and Space Magazine to coincide with the campaign.