United Airlines sought to avoid its own sticky situations with passengers by warning staff to refrain from using duct tape to restrain unruly fliers – after flight attendants at two other airlines recently resorted to the tactic making for memorable viral videos.
“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,” John Slater, senior VP for inflight services, wrote in a memo obtained by Newsweek.
“As you’ve likely seen, a few airlines have recently made news about the way they’ve handled situations onboard. The overwhelming majority of our customers have been on their best behavior throughout the pandemic and returned to our flights with confidence and enthusiasm,” he wrote.
“When things have evolved, you’ve relied on all aspects of inflight safety training, including de-escalation,” his memo added.
Slater was referring to at least three incidents involving duct tape used on passengers on American Airlines and Frontier.
Flight attendants on a recent American Airlines flight from Maui to Los Angeles tied down a young boy when he threw a tantrum. The flight was diverted to Honolulu.
In another incident, Maxwell Berry, 22, was tied to the back of a seat on a Frontier flight from Philadelphia to Miami on Aug. 3. He was accused of groping two flight attendants and groping another.
And last month, an apparently unhinged woman was duct-taped to a seat on her American Airlines flight from Dallas-Fort Worth to Charlotte, NC, after she allegedly attacked the crew and tried to open the door of the plane.
United crews also have used duct tape to restrain a disruptive man who was able to slip out of handcuffs on a flight in 2003, Newsweek reported.
And in 2008, a woman who attacked passengers and flight attendants was duct taped on a United flight, according to the mag, which cited a report in the The Seattle Times.
A United rep declined to identify to Newsweek the “designated items onboard” the new memo advises using instead of the tape.