Delta Air Lines has requested that the U.S. Department of Justice put any person convicted of causing any disruptions on a flight to the national “no-fly” list.
In a letter to the Justice Department Attorney General Merrick Garland dated Thursday, Delta CEO Ed Bastian said there should be “zero tolerance” for any behavior that affects flight safety. Bastian noted that while such incidents of bad behavior represent a small fraction of overall flights on Delta, the rate of incidents on the airline has increased nearly 100 percent since 2019.
Delta has, along with its industry partner Airlines for America, been pushing since last year for heightened reporting, investigation and prosecution of those who interfere with on-board safety. The airlines, based in Atlanta, said it has put nearly 1,900 people on Delta’s “no-fly” list for refusing to comply with masking requirements and submitted more than 900 banned names to the Transportation Security Administration to pursue civil penalties.
Combative passenger on @Delta flight assaults flight attendant and Air Marshal, according to OKC police. Flight #342 from Washington D.C. to Los Angeles was diverted to Oklahoma City where police arrested the passenger. Story: https://t.co/3u0zKJrOQs pic.twitter.com/RHnZX60z3M
— Eric Resendiz (@abc7eric) December 10, 2021
In December, the TSA announced a new partnership with the FAA that would call for unruly airline passengers facing additional consequences for bad behavior under a new partnership. Under the alliance, the FAA will share information of passengers facing fines for unruly behavior with the TSA, which may remove the passenger from its pre-check screening eligibility, a privilege reserved for low-risk travelers.
🇺🇸Delta Airlines passengers have serious scuffle over baggage placement pic.twitter.com/0p3HqLoc1P
— The RAGE X (@theragex) November 1, 2021
A spokesperson with TSA, which enforces the FBI “no-fly” list of potential terrorist threats, referred a reporter to the FBI since that agency maintains the database. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) cited 4.9 reported unruly incidents per 10,000 flights the week ending January 23rd, according to its website.
The FAA has received 5,300+ incident reports from airlines regarding ‘issues of assaults or misconduct in the air’ — here’s how unruly passengers are impacting air travel (warning: graphic images) pic.twitter.com/FOLN4X0VRb
— Tomthunkit™ (@TomthunkitsMind) February 5, 2022
Delta, like many airlines, has its own list of badly behaved passengers they’ve banned from flying with them. But if the DOJ were to make Delta’s request a legal precedent, the consequences would be even more dire and permanent: anyone charged in a disruptive airline incident would be banned from flying for life on any airline, not just Delta. CEO Bastian believes the threat of literally being grounded for life will be incentive enough for people to make the friendly skies even friendlier. “This action will help prevent future incidents and serve as a strong symbol of the consequences of not complying with crew member instructions on commercial aircraft,” Bastian wrote in the letter, a copy of which was sent to The Associated Press by Delta Air Lines.
After more than 4,000 incidents of violent behavior were reported in 2021, the Flight Attendants Association is saying unruly passengers must be criminally prosecuted, not just fined for violent conduct. pic.twitter.com/rPnoV3fj48
— CBS News (@CBSNews) September 25, 2021
The idea is also supported by Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who said back in October that a federal no-fly list should “be on the table” as part of keeping Americans safe and secure.
Transportation Sec. Pete Buttigieg says a "federal no fly list" for unruly or violent passengers on airline flights "should be on the table."@DanaBashCNN notes the FAA is investigating 900+ such incidents, up from just 150 two years ago. pic.twitter.com/Eol85fEDBk
— The Recount (@therecount) October 31, 2021