Flight attendants: Spike in unruly passengers who refuse to wear a mask a safety issue

BOSTON — Flight attendants say the spike in unruly passengers who refuse to wear a mask on the plane is becoming a serious safety issue.

“We have never seen anything like this, we’ve never seen it so bad,” said Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants. “Our biggest issue during this entire time has been people have been led to believe that taking safety precautions is a political decision rather than a public health necessity.”

Nelson says since January, the number of reported passengers who won’t follow the rules is now 20 times more than what they see in a typical year.

She says this is not only a public health crisis, but also an economic crisis.

“They’re not only putting that flight in jeopardy and everyone on board that flight, but they’re jeopardizing the recovery of the airline industry overall, and the airline industry is the backbone of our economy,” said Nelson.

Some travelers admit they’re tired of wearing a mask especially after getting vaccinated.

“I personally don’t like it, but if it’s TSA rules it’s TSA rules,” said Joseph Alphonse, at Logan Airport Wednesday.

But most travelers say they understand why they still need that mask on airplanes.

“We don’t know who’s vaccinated and who’s not, so for the safety reasons, it’s good to follow the rules,” said Deepak Saman, traveling at Logan Airport.

If you don’t follow the rules while flying, the FAA has a clear message:

“If you act out on an airplane, there will be severe and serious consequences and you may not be able to fly ever again,” said Nelson.

According to the TSA, there’s also been problems at security checkpoints.

The TSA’s Acting Administrator says there’s been at least 60 assaults on TSA agents so far this year.

Aviation officials want to remind travelers the mask mandate stays in effect in all airports, airplanes, trains and buses until mid-September.

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