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The role of flight attendants

The side of a JetBlue airplane

TEXT OF INTERVIEW

Bob Moon: By now you've probably heard about that strange case of a JetBlue flight attendant who stormed off the job by way of his plane's emergency slide yesterday at JFK airport in New York. Witnesses say it happened after an argument with a passenger who refused to sit down when the plane landed on a flight from Pittsburgh. We've got an industry expert live on the line to talk about this. Darryl Jenkins is from the website TheAirlineZone.com. Mr. Jenkins, I wonder what this incident might tell us about how the relationship between flight attendants and passengers changed over the years?

Darryl Jenkins: Well, it's certainly a stormy one for years. The flight attendants -- people don't realize they have one of the most difficult jobs in the airline and that is dealing day to day with people. And as we see, flights have more and more people on them and it increases the stress of the both the people and the flight attendant.

Moon: Well, certainly the job of the flight attendant has changed since 9-11, hasn't it?

Jenkins: Yes, it has. The purpose of the flight attendant, first and foremost, is the safety of the passengers and they're there to help people off the plane in case of an emergency or if there are other emergencies in flight. It is their primary responsibility to take care of that. They are safety professionals, that's what they're trained in. At the same time, after 9-11, even though we have marshals on the plane, they've become a major factor in terms of keeping order during in flight.

Moon: Well, they tell us this passenger wouldn't sit down after the plane landed and was taxiing. Aren't flight attendants trained to handle disruptive passengers?

Jenkins: Yes, they are. And they have different ways of doing it, including putting what's analogous to a handcuff on them. It seems, in this particular case, the young man just kind of basically, for lack of a kinder word, lost it.

Moon: Well, Darryl Jenkins of the TheAirlineZone.com website. Thanks you very much for joining us.

Jenkins: Always a pleasure young man.

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