Monday, February 16, 2004

Travellers: On Vacation From Civility?

Violence Against Travel Industry Employees on the Rise

The New York Times addresses abuse of flight attendents and other travel industry service workers and the stress it causes. And it's not just isolated to the airlines.
In a survey of 875 airline, bus, train and highway employees late last year, the nonpartisan public opinion organization Public Agenda found that 54 percent of travel workers feel that passenger rudeness is a top cause of job-related stress and tension. Nearly half said that they had seen a situation where disrespectful behavior threatened to escalate into a physical confrontation, and 19 percent said they had observed violent acts.
Often, employees don't feel they are getting the support they deserve from management.
"Sometimes it seems like the enemy is not the passengers but senior management," said Ms. Terry, the US Airways customer service agent and union local president. "On the issue of passenger disrespect, management does not want to support us. They prefer to avoid conflict and possible litigation and put their heads in the sand."

Amy Kudwa, a spokeswoman for the airline, disputed that assertion. "We have had a history of supporting both our ground agents and our flight crews when it comes to instances of air rage," she said. "We rigorously pursue and prosecute passengers who engage in such activities."
In one case where an employee was physically attacked, however, the employee had to file charges with the police because airport management refused.