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Flight attendants ask for kindness during holiday travel

Posted at 5:24 PM, Nov 26, 2020

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- Like pretty much everything else in 2020 Thanksgiving travel looks very different. San Diego International Airport was pretty empty Wednesday afternoon with no crowds or long lines and everyone was wearing masks.

While it appeared to be smooth sailing for passengers, airline workers are faced with more of a challenge.

“For United Airlines no one has been rehired for the holiday,” said Dante Harris. He’s a flight attendant of 21 years and President of the Association of Flight Attendants Southern California chapter. Harris was one of many hit by massive airline layoffs in October when stimulus money ran dry.

“Industry-wide, more than 100,000 employees in the airline industry have been furloughed,” said Harris. “It has been absolutely a disaster.”

While he’s not currently flying, some of his colleagues still are. Many of them faced with this problem:

“Flight attendants are trying to enforce the mask policy, there are people who get belligerent, people who get non-compliant,” said Harris.

Cases across the county are on the rise, yet Harris says some airlines are pushing towards getting back to normal.

“Selling alcohol and serving food. We are fighting against that. that is not something we want to go back to right away.”

The Auto Club estimates nearly 4 million Southern Californians will travel for Thanksgiving. Three-and-a-half million will travel by car and about 270,000 by plane.

If you are heading out for the holiday, keep the following advice in mind.

“We’re 35,000 feet in the air and all we have is each other,” said Harris. “We have to have that sense of community to make sure we’re all taken care of. We are asking people to be kind to each other, especially be kind to your flight attendants.”