United to Crew: Please Don't Duct-Tape Unruly Passengers

Exec says crew members should 'follow de-escalation process'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 17, 2021 6:30 PM CDT
United to Crew: Please Don't Duct-Tape Unruly Passengers
A United Airlines jetliner taxis down a runway for take off from Denver International Airport.   (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, file)

United Airlines has asked its employees not to reach for the duct tape whenever they have a difficult passenger to deal with. In a recent memo seen by People, Senior Vice President of Inflight Services John Slate reminded crew members that disruptive passengers should not be taped to their seats like an unruly Frontier passenger was earlier this month. "Please remember there are designated items on board that may be used in difficult situations, and alternative measures such as tape should never be used," Slate wrote. He suggested using the "huddle process," which involves "discussing the situation with the captain, customer service representative, and ground security coordinator."

Slate urged crew members to "follow your regular de-escalation and training process and always use your best judgment." He acknowledged that there has been a rise in "customer-related incidents" during the pandemic. "Most of these have been mask-related and addressed with little effort," he wrote, adding that the "overwhelming majority" of customers have been on their "best behavior" and have "returned to our flights with confidence and enthusiasm." The Guardian reports that United passengers have been taped to seats on at least two occasions: In 2003, when fellow passengers and a federal agent helped restrain a man who had been "pacing and reading the Bible," and in 2008, when a woman who hit and grabbed flight attendants and other passengers was taped to her seat before an emergency landing. (More United Airlines stories.)

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