In new government shutdown, flight attendants won’t let passengers’ lives be put at risk

Picture this: Airline pilots typically maintain what they call a “sterile cockpit” during takeoff and landing, when no communication is permitted between the cabin and flightdeck. This is to allow pilots to focus on the most difficult, and task-intensive, parts of the flight. But during the recent government shutdown — the longest in our nation’s history — some pilots briefed flight attendants that there would be no sterile cockpit on their flight. They were so concerned that the shutdown had compromised security screening, they felt the need to alter safety procedures so they could be informed immediately if there were a security issue in the cabin.

This is just one of many chilling stories I heard in recent weeks from flight attendants and the pilots we fly with. The shutdown put our lives and livelihoods in danger, risked the safety of everyone who flies, and threatened our entire economy.

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