(CNN) — Working as a flight attendant previously afforded Mitra Amirzadeh the freedom to explore the world — taking her from her home in Florida to destinations including Kenya, France and Spain.
As the pandemic spread, the perks of Amirzadeh’s job diminished. Now restricted to domestic US flights, her work involves navigating not only the fear of catching Covid-19, but also the recent uptick in disruptive passengers.
US flight attendants tell CNN Travel say the stress of the situation is taking its toll,
Susannah Carr, who works for a major US airline, says unruly incidents used to be “the exception, not the rule.” Now they’re “frequent.”
“I come in expecting to get push back. I come in expecting to have a passenger that could potentially get violent,” she says.
Amirzadeh says flight attendants across US airlines are just “over it.”
Allie Malis, a flight attendant for American Airlines, says air crew are “exhausted — physically and emotionally.”
“We’ve gone through worrying about our health and safety, worrying about our jobs — now [we are] worrying about our safety in a different way.”
The rise of air rage
There seems to be a rise in unruly passengers on board US airplanes. Pictured here: airplanes at Miami International Airport in August 2021.
DANIEL SLIM/AFP via Getty Images
This increase was often linked to cabins getting fuller, with increased security checks and processes adding to tension.
Alcohol is also an often cited contributing factor — travelers drink at the airport and board the plane without crew realizing how inebriated they are. When it all kicks off at 30,000 feet, it’s too late.
There have been suggestions that incidents just started to feel more ubiquitous in recent years because social media means videos of badly behaved passengers spread like wildfire.
Covid-19 seems to have exacerbated an already existing issue to an unprecedented degree, at least in the US.
Amirzadeh recalls the silent flights of Spring 2020. People were too fearful to even look at other passengers or air crew, she says, let alone cause conflict.
In recent months, unruly behavior has reached new heights.
“It just seems like every next incident is getting a little bit more extreme, things