A Frontier Airlines passenger confronted the crew on his flight to express concerns over another passenger being sick. The response? He should drive next time, and should be on the no-fly list. Hmm…
What we know about this Frontier Airlines confrontation
TMZ has the story of what happened this past Thursday on a Frontier Airlines flight from Miami to Philadelphia. The passenger in seat 25C was concerned about a coughing and sneezing passenger seated immediately behind him (in row 26).
The concerned passenger asked to be reseated, and that request was accommodated. Then at some point during the flight, the concerned passenger confronted one of the flight attendants to ask why the passenger hadn’t been removed from the plane. She allegedly responded that if he was worried he should drive next time, and that he should be on the no-fly list.
That’s not captured on video, so usually I’d doubt that. However, these exact sentiments were reflected by another flight attendant on the same flight.
When the man deplaned he confronted the crew about the situation, and in particular about how the flight attendant spoke with him. In the nearly 90 second video there are two flight attendants along with the captain, and the passenger tries to emphasize his concern about the sick passenger.
Rather than getting an apology or closure over being told he should drive and be on the no-fly list, he’s told that… he should drive next time and that he should be on the no-fly list.
Here are some of the highlights:
- When the passenger starts to share what happened, the flight attendant responds “this is a form of transportation, sir, you have an option, you can drive your car if it’s a problem, you can’t tell people to get off the plane if they’re coughing or sneezing”
- When the passenger recounts his version of events and asks if the coughing and sneezing passenger shouldn’t have been removed, the flight attendant asks “why should he be removed?” and the passenger responds “because the guy’s sick,” to which the flight attendant responds “you ain’t no doctor”
- At this point the flight attendant tells the passenger “you ain’t got your mask on good either,” to which the passenger responds “I got two on, sir”
- The passenger at this point explains how he was told he should drive his car and be on the no-fly list; at that point this other flight attendant says “you should be on the no-fly list, you really should be”
- When the passenger asks why he should be on the no-fly list, the flight attendant responds “because you’re getting someone kicked off for sneezing and coughing”
You can watch the video for yourself here:
My take on this Frontier Airlines situation
I have a few different thoughts on this.
First of all, we don’t know how the passenger behaved during the flight. Did he only bring this to the attention of the flight attendant once or twice? Or did he get aggressive, bring this up a dozen times, or get asked to stop but didn’t? I will say that the man appears to be extremely calm in the video, much more so than virtually any other airplane confrontation you’ll see on tape.
Next, the flight attendants should be acting more professionally. There’s absolutely no need for them to tell a passenger they should drive next time, or that they should be on the no-fly list. That’s just uncalled for, and shows a lack of ability to deescalate situations.
I’m not sure the airline realistically did anything wrong by not removing this passenger, though:
- During check-in, Frontier Airlines requires that passengers acknowledge they don’t have any coronavirus symptoms, and haven’t been in contact with anyone who does
- Frontier Airlines does temperature checks at the gate (I’m not suggesting that’s useful, but it’s worth pointing out, since Frontier is one of the few US airlines to do that)
- Obviously we don’t know how severe the coughing and sneezing was, but generally I wouldn’t think that’s sufficient reason to kick someone off a plane, as there are plenty of people who sneeze due to allergies, etc.
Even with airlines taking precautions, at the end of the day there are hundreds of thousands of people flying daily in the US, and there will be some people who aren’t great at wearing masks, there will be some people who appear to be sick, and yes, there will even be quite a few people who have coronavirus. Airlines are never going to be able to weed out all of those passengers.
Frontier Airlines A321
A Frontier Airlines passenger asked to be reseated when someone immediately behind him coughed and sneezed repeatedly. The man later expressed his concern to the crew again, and was informed he should drive next time, and should be on the no-fly list. Then when he expressed concern to other crew members about the way he was treated, they said the same thing.
I’m not sure the crew did anything wrong in terms of not removing the seemingly sick passenger (we just don’t know enough), but they certainly could have acted more professionally towards this man.
While the FAA has said it would adopt a “zero tolerance” policy towards misbehaving passengers, and Delta has even threatened to ban rude passengers, I’m not sure this would qualify.
What do you make of this Frontier Airlines situation?