An American Airlines flight attendant said that she was barred from wearing a face shield because it would make passengers uncomfortable.
The 33-year-old flight attendant, who lives in Worchester, Massachusetts, had been wearing the $8 plastic face shield on a few flights since returning to work on May 2.
She took a selfie while on her flight from Boston to Dallas, wearing the shield over an N95 mask.
The attendant – who went by her middle name ‘Marie’ – captioned her photo: ‘First flight back after a month of cancelled trips. Gonna kick some a*s!’
The 33-year-old flight attendant, who lives in Worchester, Massachusetts, had been wearing the $8 plastic face shield on a few flights since returning to work on May 2
After a few flights, Marie’s supervisors started reprimanding her. She explained to the Boston Globe that they told her that the masks weren’t a part of ‘image standards’ and that they made passengers feel uncomfortable.
They also suggested that she take leave if she didn’t feel safe.
Feeling intimidated and harassed, Marie said that she cried all the way home but continued wearing it.
Last week, the airline sent a message to flight attendants telling them that the face shields ‘could pose a safety hazard, making it more difficult for crew members to respond to an emergency.’ They then banned the masks.
After a few flights, Marie’s supervisors started reprimanding her. She said that they told her that the masks weren’t a part of ‘image standards’ and that they made passengers feel uncomfortable
‘The FAA has not approved them for regular use onboard our aircraft, and the CDC does not recommend them,’ the airline said in the ban. ‘No other US carriers permit flight attendants to wear face shields during regular flight operations.’
Marie disagrees with the airline’s message.
‘I think it’s a safety hazard for us to not protect our entire face for every second we’re on a plane,’ Marie said.
‘Carriers like mine are going to create another devastating second wave of this deadly virus because we are not being given appropriate PPE to wear. … I can see this virus spreading like wildfire throughout the cabin.’
Louis Mendes Paiva, a systems engineer from Weymouth, felt planes were getting more crowded and as a result, more dangerous. Paiva flew with Marie from Boston to Charlotte last week, and posed with a selfie with the attendant. He wears the mask after a doctor recommended it.
The frequent flyer did not think the policy was fair.
Louis Mendes Paiva, a systems engineer from Weymouth, felt planes were getting more crowded and as a result, more dangerous. Paiva flew with Marie from Boston to Charlotte last week, and posed with a selfie with the attendant
‘They should be encouraged to wear as much safety PPE as possible,’ he said.
Airlines across the country have put many safety measures in place to keep staff and passengers safe. Face masks have been shunned by U.S. airlines for the most part while some international ones have favored them.
Shields are favored because they can protect the eyes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that people can contract coronavirus by touching a surface and then touching their ‘mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes.’
American has said that if the CDC were to evolve its recommendations, then the airline would ask the FAA to modify its policy. They would assert that allowing shields would require airlines to revise their procedures around putting on oxygen masks, performing CPR, and other safety measures.
Maris stressed that she was worried about people dying while the airline seemed more worried about the shield scaring people away
In a statement, the FAA said that it ‘does not need to preapprove the use of personal protective equipment by flight attendants if the equipment does not impede the ability to perform required safety tasks.’
Marie’s union, the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, ‘is working with the company now on this issue.’
The AFPA is in talks with American about the flight attendant safety glasses, according to a copy of the email sent by the union’s safety chair, Thomas Houdek.
The email added that Marie’s ‘derogatory postings’ ‘predetermined the outcome of this case.’
Houdek said: ‘It probably would not have become an issue if she had just worn it in flight and didn’t call attention to herself by postings on social media.’
Maris stressed that she was worried about people dying while the airline seemed more worried about the shield scaring people away.
‘It makes customers feel uncomfortable when I’m wearing it… that was the bottom line of the whole thing,’ she said. ‘To be told that during a pandemic is unreal.’
RIchard Martino, a 75-year-old from Myrtle Beach, said that he had been flying to Boston every few months for a heart disease clinical trial at Boston Medical Center.
On his most recent flight to Boston from Charlotte, he was on a flight with Marie, and said that her mask did not scare him.
He did however comment that the flights were ‘jammed’ and he was ‘sitting like a sardine in a can.’ People were also occasionally taking off their masks.
‘If I come down with it, I’m dead, I’m literally dead,’ he said of getting COVID-19.
On Thursday, Marie planned to still wear her shield inside the terminal, then replace it with goggles before boarding the plane.
‘The number one priority is safety. Safety! That’s what our job is for,’ she said. ‘I want to stop a second big wave of this virus from taking innocent lives if I can.’
Source: dailymail US