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Reminder: Keep SOPs Confidential – For Our Safety

Date: August 13, 2021

In the media recently, there has been one story after another about the continued escalation of violence, or the failure to adhere to FAA requirements and/or company policy by passengers, as it relates to safety on our aircraft. 

While it’s fortunate that United Flight Attendants have not been in the spotlight in the past few weeks, we all know it could be our turn at any moment. We need to continue to do everything we can to avoid and/or de-escalate situations like these.

If you’ve checked out media stories elsewhere in the industry, we can look at the examples of passengers being restrained on the aircraft as a direct result of their unacceptable behavior. It would be inappropriate for our Union to comment on how other airlines, or their safety professionals, carry out their jobs, however we can learn from them.  We know firsthand how challenging and difficult things can get. At any time, each of us may be faced with having to make similar decisions under what can only best be described as the worst of all possible circumstances. 

We take pride in being safety professionals.  Because of our knowledge of the aircraft cabin environment and the difficult job that is our chosen career, we acknowledge the challenges our colleagues faced in protecting all of the passengers on the aircraft and stand with them in saying we should never be placed in the difficult decision of having to restrain anyone on the aircraft.

We all attend our annual CQ training, which includes all the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) we are governed by in our workplace. Safety and Security is, of course, a valuable part of that training, and we understand that the internal working procedures we use in the workplace are confidential and should not be discussed or shared anywhere outside of our workplace, even among fellow employees.

The media can become fixated on, and perhaps even sensationalize these events that have the potential to compromise the safety of the passengers in our care.  It’s an understandable part of human nature for us to want to comment on, or correct misstatements made in social media.  We should understand that doing so might be misinterpreted as second guessing the actions of a working crew in a situation for which we do not have all the details.  As we know from our annual training, Flight Attendants are explicitly prohibited from commenting on these events and by doing so, no matter how well-intended, we may find ourselves in an unfortunate situation.

As we’ve discussed repeatedly in our communications, these and other workplace discussions should be avoided altogether on social media.  Depending on what the topic may be, but especially in security sensitive issues, potentially everyone who is mentioned, comments on or who becomes a part of a particular “thread” could subsequently be involved in a company investigation by management.

As we’ve indicated in the past, no one wants to be included any of these situations, especially because the outcome of the investigation is often significant and may have compounding consequences no one could predict as we all lose control of the course of events as the investigation takes on a life of its own.  The good news in all of this is: it can all be avoided.  Don’t post, participate, or comment on anything company related on social media. It’s just that simple.

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