Flight Attendant Union President Tells You How To Behave This Winter

You are a member of the National Association of Parliamentarians. Which one could better defend a village of flight attendants against an evil space pirate, a parliamentarian or a Mandalorian?[laughs] Probably a Mandalorian. Our organization promotes education in parliamentary procedures. For those who really do, it’s like a law degree. For me, this is one way I educated myself to be a better leader.

Tell me your hottest pilot joke. Oh, I stay away from these things.

How about a PG-13 pilot joke? I don’t think there are any jokes about the PG-13 pilots. [laughs]

You graduated from Hockaday in 1988. It just so happens that this is the same year that I graduated as a Cistercian. Who do you think was a better wide receiver for the Hawks, me or Fred Hartnett? It was absolutely you! I didn’t know you were going to the Cistercian. It’s awesome.

As the boss of the Transportation Workers Union, Local 556, how many cartons of black market cigarettes could you have delivered to my house tomorrow? [laughs] Absolutely none. Nothing. My biggest job is being an advocate for about 17,000 Southwest Airlines flight attendants. They have been front line workers throughout it. They are incredibly exhausted. They are tired of the crisis. We need the operation to stabilize. All flight attendants know they’re going to be asked to work an extra day from time to time, right? You know there are going to be interruptions. But when it happens regularly, as it has over the past 20 months, it takes a heavy toll, both mentally and physically.

You have been with Southwest for almost 27 years. Why has passenger misconduct gotten so much worse recently? I blame him on the effects of COVID and on the state of the nation. Before September 11, we had what was called “air rage”. People were very angry and very frustrated with the cancellations and delays of flights. After September 11, people complied. But it has reared its ugly head again, with the effects of COVID and the mask warrant and flight cancellations and delays and with passengers not getting food or drink on the plane as they would. were doing before.

Did stopping alcoholic drinks help? It absolutely helped because of course alcohol ignites these types of situations. We hope they will continue not to sell alcohol on board until some of these situations are healed.

Have you ever been at work – you know, about 7 miles above the earth, flying at 500mph – and flew in a sharknado and the drink carts hit the ceiling and you have angry passengers flying around? bitch about having to put on their masks, and did you ever think, you know, I should have found an easier line of work, like being a cop? [laughs] I have always thought of a flight attendant as a butler. As we tell you, “It’s the right thing to do on an airplane. This is how you should behave. But then we like to serve you with a smile. And also, we are like nurses, because if you fall, we will help you. So, you know, it’s amazing the extent of what we have to do with a smile on our face.

Lots of people are going to be in the air for the holiday season. What’s the only thing you want to tell them? Oh okay. Let’s see. Have your flight attendants there to guide you, ensure your safety, take care of you and get you to your destination on time. Hopefully if we do that we can have a little fun along the way as well.


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