Flight attendants say tension with passengers causing safety concern

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Some flight attendants said they fear for passengers' safety after multiple videos surfaced on social media, causing tension between flight attendants and passengers.

One passenger, Dr. David Dao, made international headlines after being dragged off a Chicago plane. Dao refused to give up his seat and was dragged, bloodied, down the aisle. He settled with United Airlines, but the incident was just the first in a trend flight attendants are seeing.

Three flight attendants from three different airlines, introduced to ABC News through their union, spoke about this anonymously.

"Some passengers feel now that they can be more defiant and that has us on edge," one flight attendant said.

Now, when a flight attendant asks a passenger to do something, they often see camera phones coming out and their every move being recorded. Their fear is not that they will be on social media, but rather that their airline could take action against them for simply doing their job.

There have been plenty of incidents of passengers fighting and confronting flight attendants, causing tensions to rise and leading flight attendants to take a more lax approach to enforcing some rules in order to avoid confrontation. Everything from seatbelt buckling, to cell phone use, to laptops.

"Now if you don't acknowledge me I just kind of shrug and go away," said a flight attendant.

"I will tell you once, maybe tell you twice," said another. "I'm not going to get into a major argument with you."

Flight attendants said this is affecting the safety of air crafts.

The FAA said it has not seen a wavering of crew commitment to safety.

The airline industry said they acknowledge the new tension and are reforming to allow crews to better manage situations. They said they hope everyone understands the importance of listening to and working with each other.
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