The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA) President Sara Nelson released the following statement on American Airlines premium passenger event video.
“Culture is set from the top. It is not enough to say this event “was not sanctioned by the airline.” American Airlines must take action to denounce a culture of harassment and objectification of Flight Attendants. Leadership is needed to provide a healthy, safe environment for the women and men who work and fly with American. This must include a clear message to everyone that sexual harassment of anyone will not be tolerated at the airline.
“We join with our sisters and brothers at APFA in calling on American Airlines to answer questions about how this AA passenger event could have happened and set a new course free of harassment.
“Over a year ago, AFA asked the airline industry to denounce the decades-old objectification of Flight Attendants and pledge a zero-tolerance policy on sexual harassment. United, Alaska and Spirit stepped up. American has yet to do so. This video is a wake-up call for American to confront this issue head-on.
“Sexual harassment isn’t about sex, it’s about power. The timing of this sketch could not be more out of sync with Flight Attendants’ role and importance in our country. In recent weeks, Flight Attendants played a key role in defending the safety and security of the passengers in our care.
“We are aviation’s first responders and last line of defense. Period.”
AFA represents 50,000 Flight Attendants at 20 airlines, including over 3,000 Flight Attendants at American’s three wholly-owned subsidiaries Envoy, PSA and Piedmont.
A bizarre video has been posted online from an event held for the American Airlines frequent flier program , AAdvantage, in which flight attendants are suggestively and mockingly portrayed on stage “catering” to a member of the program’s top tier Executive Platinum level. This evening event was preceded a day earlier by other AA hosted events including one at the training center used by American Airlines flight attendants.
“We saw a customer’s social media post depicting a group of American flight attendants at a customer-organized and hosted event. What was portrayed in the skit was not sanctioned by the airline and is not representative of the 27,000 professional flight attendants who take great care of millions of customers each year. We spoke to the customer who posted the video and shared our concerns that the actions depicted in the skit he witnessed are demeaning to our professional flight attendants and crew members throughout the industry. We appreciate that he listened to our concerns and that he agreed to remove the video.”
“We are outraged! The company is displacing flight attendants by shrinking bases and throwing us all on reserve and now this. I know this is how they really see us. It’s degrading and disgusting!” — AA Flight Attendant
The event apparently featured swag bags and other gifts provided by American.
“This cannot be happening in today’s environment,” said APFA National President Lori Bassani. “We will not tolerate our profession being objectified in a sexist manner. We want the facts about the Company’s involvement and we want answers.”