Flight attendants explain why they use duct tape to control unruly passengers

Pictures and videos have gone viral on social media recently, showing passengers held to their seat with duct tape.

This has sparked a big debate on whether it should be used by flight attendants, with many highlighting the safety issues involved in having a person properly tied down in the event of an emergency.

But others claim it's necessary in order to control a person's behaviour until the plane can land safely.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) says it's received more than 2,500 reports of unruly behaviour from passengers on American airlines since the start of this year.

That's more than double the number recorded for 2019 and 2020.

There have also been several notable instances in 2021 of duct tape being used to restrain people.

Nas Lewis, a flight attendant and the founder of the mental health resource group th'AIR'apy, told Insider that duct tape isn't standard procedure.

She says members have been trained to protect themselves and passengers at all costs and they go through rigorous practices to make sure that they're well equipped for different scenarios.

However, she explains that they aren't 'glorified waitresses' and said: "We are first responders up there and the respect is lacking."

Meanwhile, a Chicago-based flight attendant, who wished to remain anonymous, believes duct tape is an absolute last resort.

She says they are trained to use zip ties and tape, however de-escalation is always the first priority to see if the situation can be resolved with words.

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But if the passenger's unruly behaviour continues, staff can use then use the zip ties or even seatbelt extensions to ensure they stay in their seat and keep their hands to themselves.

This crew member said: "Duct tape is a big violation in my opinion due to safety issues. It's a very, very last resort."

Two big news stories in the last few months have seen airplane staff using duct tape on passengers who had become problematic.

A woman was forcibly detained on her journey on an American Airlines flight from Dallas Fort Worth, Texas to Charlotte, North Carolina back in July.

It was claimed she had tried to bite and scratch crew members while screaming that she needed to 'get off this plane'.

The airline claimed staff successfully 'restrained' the woman until the flight has safely touched down at its destination and everyone was allowed to leave without issue.

But footage was uploaded showing how staff managed to control the passenger thanks to duct tape.

The same method was also used during a Frontier Airlines flight from Philadelphia to Miami at the end of last month.

Maxwell Berry, 22, was duct taped to his chair after being accused of walking around shirtless for 15 minutes among other unruly behaviour.

But, in this instance, Frontier Airlines suspended the flight crew for duct taping the passenger until an investigation into the incident is completed.

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