As the Trump shutdown ends, cheers for air travel workers echo across Twitter

As the Trump shutdown ends, cheers for air travel workers echo across Twitter

This article was originally posted by Mashable on January 26, 2019. 

Donald Trump's record-setting partial shutdown of the U.S. government — which kept roughly 800,000 federal workers unpaid for more than a month — is finally over. Don't forget to thank your flight attendants.

In the end, no one person or group is solely responsible for making Trump back off the U.S.-Mexico border wall demand that left portions of American society crippled for more than a month. But on the shutdown's 35th day, hours before it finally ended, headlines were dominated by news of disrupted travel plans.

Air travel was one of the many categories of American life impacted by the shutdown. Air traffic controllers are federal workers, and as safety professionals, their work is deemed essential. So they were still putting in their usual hours, but they were doing it without pay.

Flight attendants work for private interests — they're airline employees — but they're also the ones who are most at risk as the infrastructure responsible for keeping planes in the air breaks down. There are Federal Aviation Administration rules requiring flight attendants to be present on planes of a certain size.

In other words: flight attendants may not have been furloughed, but they had what could accurately be described as a vested interest in easing the strain the shutdown placed on air traffic controllers.

The quiet finally broke on Friday. Faced with growing reports of air travel interruptions, representatives from the flight attendant and air traffic controller unions sounded an urgent alarm: fix this immediately or planes are going to start crashing.


Hours later, the shutdown was over. It wasn't some bargaining breakthrough brokered by President Trump's fabled acumen as a deal-maker. Rather, it was the country's month-long transformation into trembling, overstuffed pressure cooker. 

As many observers pointed out in the hours that followed, the final straw broke across the back of angry, exhausted aviation workers.

Here's a final word from Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA and absolute boss of this moment.

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