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‘Treat me with respect’: Weary airline workers beg passengers to stay calm during holiday travel

Airline and airport workers plan to blast travelers with targeted ads asking for a little sympathy during the holiday season after nearly two years of heightened nerves for flyers and employees alike.

The union representing passenger service agents at American Airlines and United Airlines, CWA Local 6001, is starting the online advertising campaign at the busiest airports in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri as they head into a potentially volatile holiday travel season.

“There are a lot of rude customers and they are upset because the airlines are short-staffed and flights have been delayed or canceled,” said Anetra Session, a union representative who helped organize the ad campaign. “Customers are just in their faces and a few of my agents have been assaulted.”

The new ad campaign will target Facebook and Instagram users just as airlines and airports are set to welcome the highest number of travelers at any time since the COVID-19 pandemic began for the Thanksgiving holiday. DFW International Airport is expecting 2.3 million passengers between Nov. 18 and 29 alone, the airport reported.

Through Monday, more than 2 million travelers had passed through Transportation Security Administration checkpoints across the nation for five straight days.

While passengers have been under scrutiny for misbehavior while planes are in the air, workers on the ground say they are facing just as much abuse from angry passengers as flight attendants and pilots. Two weeks ago at Dallas Love Field, a passenger was arrested after allegedly punching a Southwest Airlines employee in the head while boarding a flight.

“I’m a human being and all I ask is that you treat me with respect,” an airline worker said in one of the videos.

The Federal Aviation Administration doesn’t publish statistics for incidents in airports like it does for those that take place in the air. Session said work is much more dangerous for gate…

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