Flight Attendant Union Submits Congressional Testimony On Dangers of Knives In-Flight

Washington, DC – The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA) today submitted official testimony for the House Transportation Security Subcommittee hearing on the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) risk based security. Today’s hearing is meant to focus on a “stakeholder’s perspective.” However, the majority members of the committee have failed to include the Flight Attendant experience on the testimony panel. Nevertheless, in addition to submitting written testimony, Flight Attendants will be there in uniform to help keep the focus on the reckless policy change to allow knives back in the aircraft cabin.

“It is critical that we recognize the dangerous scenario of a small knife in the wrong hands within the confines of the enclosed aircraft cabin and closely seated passengers traveling at thousands of feet in the air. This abrupt policy change does not make sense for combating potential terrorist attacks nor the daily disturbances we handle in aircraft cabins that are fuller than ever, while Flight Attendant staffing has been cut.  On a daily basis, Flight Attendants address, de-escalate, and when necessary, direct other passengers to help contain disturbances on the aircraft,” said AFA International President Veda Shook in her testimony.

As first responders and the last line of defense in aviation security, Flight Attendants are critical stakeholders in transportation security policy. However, the TSA’s decision to allow small knives through security for the first time since the attacks of 9/11 was made without key stakeholder input.

“Flight Attendants and passengers did not know what they faced on September 11, 2001.  We were trained to survive a hijacking, to keep everyone calm and safe until the aircraft could land.  It was the heroic actions of Flight Attendants on those flights that ensured our country had some of the first intelligence of that horrific day. That intelligence made its way to the Flight Attendants and passengers on flight 93 and they in turn acted without reservation to sacrifice their own lives to save countless other on the ground.  They are heroes and we will never forget their actions, nor will we ever disgrace their memory by forgetting the lessons we learned. Let not one more American have to make the heroic choice they made that day. Let us not invite another tragedy by failing to apply what we know can happen today, added Shook.

The Association of Flight Attendants is the world’s largest Flight Attendant union. Focused 100 percent on Flight Attendant issues, AFA has been the leader in advancing the Flight Attendant profession for 67 years. Serving as the voice for Flight Attendants in the workplace, in the aviation industry, in the media and on Capitol Hill, AFA has transformed the Flight Attendant profession by raising wages, benefits and working conditions.  Nearly 60,000 Flight Attendants come together to form AFA, part of the 700,000-member strong Communications Workers of America (CWA), AFL-CIO. Visit us at www.afacwa.org.

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