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United Airlines VP issues wild memo about duct taping unruly passengers

Date: August 19, 2021

By Joshua Bote, SF Gate

United Airlines apparently does not want flight attendants to be duct taping unruly passengers on their flights.

According to a statement from United Airlines Vice President John Slater first obtained by Fox Business, "tape should never be used" to restrain passengers on flights.

"Please remember that there are designated items onboard that may be used in difficult situations, and alternative measures such as tape should never be used," Slater said in a memo to employees.

This comes as flight attendants at other airlines deal with an onslaught of unruly passengers. Some airline workers have been disciplined for resorting to the duct tape method of subduing travelers for alleged transgressions such as groping and punching flight attendants.

Slater, in his memo, acknowledged the phenomenon, but instead drew attention to how "a few airlines have recently made news about the way they’ve handled situations onboard" rather than the drastic uptick of bad passengers in 2020.

As of Monday, the Federal Aviation Administration reports 3,889 unruly passenger reports — more than 2,800 of them involve mask-wearing issues.

Earlier this month, Frontier Airlines reprimanded flight attendants who restrained a 22-year-old Ohio man who allegedly groped two female flight attendants and punched another. The man was seemingly intoxicated mid-flight and was later arrested by Miami-Dade police.

American Airlines duct-taped and zip-tied another passenger in July who allegedly tried to open a plane door.

But United Airlines' edict poses the question: How do flight attendants and other in-flight staff deal with the worsening phenomenon of unruly passengers?

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