Flight attendants helpless in face of mask-refusing passengers

Israeli passengers have a list of excuses for why they aren't wearing masks - and flight attendants can't do anything about it. 'I would have to fill out a complicated form - and even then it's not certain he'll be fined.'

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Flight attendant (illustrative)
Flight attendant (illustrative)

Flight attendants from all the Israeli airlines have expressed frustration at their lack of authority to enforce the coronavirus rules on the flight, Israel Hayom reported.

The site also noted the attendants' complaints regarding the lengthy process required to report passengers who refuse to wear masks.

This issue does not affect only Israeli airlines: Foreign airlines are also not allowed to issue fines, but some of them allow attendants to write down the names of the passengers, refuse to allow them to board connection flights, mark them as problematic for future flights, and so on.

G., a flight attendant for an Israeli airlines, told Israel Hayom: "There are more than a few passengers who think they are smarter than everyone else. They say they were vaccinated, that they're not afraid, and that they're not willing to wear a mask."

"If I want to deal with it, I need to fill out a report that's four pages long. This is a report in which I need to interview witnesses who testify that the passenger did not wear a mask, take his details, fill out long forms for at least fifteen minutes and sometimes even more, and only then do we submit it to the Civil Aviation Authority, and they decide whether to submit the report."

Unsurprisingly, G. said he has "not yet heard of someone who received a fine afterwards. More than that, I don't know flight attendants who filled out this form until the end, because it's very complicated and exhausting. I also gave up after I tried, and just stopped in the middle.

A., a flight attendant with another Israeli company, said: "If it's a violent or dangerous situation, then the pilot can land the plane, call the police, and deal with the matter harshly. But here? For a mask? No one is going to do that. If it were like that, then police would be waiting for a lot of flights that land in Israel."

Israel Hayom emphasized that the flight attendants they spoke to noted somewhat of an improvement on the matter, saying that the vast majority of passengers do wear masks. However, they said, there is a certain population in which the percentage of mask-refusers is very prominent: young people flying for vacations, abroad and to Eilat.