For several years. AIR RAGE has been a scourge foisted on Commercial Flights
Exhortations, threats, civil penalties, Zero Tolerance, Record Sanctions and Criminal Cases-no abatement
Congress introduces a bill to Ban Abusive Passengers
Records have been set for air rage incidents; cabin crew members continue to be assaulted almost daily; Zero Tolerance policy has been announced; elected officials have widely broadcast their abhorrence for this behavior; unions have testified the horrendous details of these assaults before both Houses of Congress; the Secretary of Transportation and the FAA Administrator have held press conferences establishing their intent to prosecute the miscreants to the max; Airlines have publicized the existence of internal No Fly lists; the CEO of Delta sent a letter to the Attorney General requesting that Justice create and share a No Fly List; and days ago, the FAA proposed the largest-ever fines ever ($81,950 and $77,272) against two passengers for alleged unruly behavior. Total FAA CPs since Jan. 1, 2022 are $2,000,000.
Representatives Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) and Brian K. Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D – Rhode Island) have introduced “The Protection From Abusive Passengers Act,” which proponents says will help protect flight crews and passengers from dangerous passengers by placing them on a new no-fly list and prohibiting them from participating in certain government travel programs. The House version was referred to the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee.
The proposed language to trigger placement on the No Fly List is as follows:
(1) the assessment of a civil penalty for—
(A) engaging in conduct prohibited under section 46318 of title 49, United States Code;
(B) tampering with, interfering with, com promising, modifying, or attempting to circumvent any security system, measure, or procedure related to civil aviation security in violation of section 1540.105(a)(1) of title 49, Code 14 of Federal Regulations, if such violation is committed on an aircraft in flight (as defined in 16 section 46501(1) of title 49, United States 17 Code);
(3) a conviction for any other Federal offense involving assaults, threats, or intimidation against a crewmember on an aircraft in flight (as defined in 23 section 46501(1) of title 49, United States Code).
Federal No Fly Lists are currently in effect in air transportation-the “terrorist watch list” maintained by the Terrorist Screening Center of TSA. While this data base is controversial, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has long criticized the No Fly List and similar lists because of the lack of notification to persons included on such lists.
Section 5 of HR 7433 ducks the issue by instructing“the Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration shall develop, and post on a publicly available website of the Transportation Security Administration, policies and procedures for handling individuals” on the list. The bill provides additional layers to limit/exclude errors—frequent reviews by the OIG and annual Congressional Reports.
If you agree or oppose a No Fly list, you can exercise your First Amendment Rights—
It has taken a while, but legislation to create a national no-fly list has finally made its way to Congress. Lawmakers introduced a bill yesterday to create a national list for unruly passengers in an effort to curb the rise of violent incidents on airplanes.
“Unfortunately, too many of our pilots, flight attendants and crew members are dealing with unacceptable abuse from passengers — everything from kicking to spitting to biting,” said Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), who introduced the bill, at a press conference. “This behavior is not only inappropriate, but it also puts other crew and passengers at risk.”
Traditionally, each airline has kept its own internal list of passengers whose behavior was so egregious that they are no longer welcome to fly with that carrier. But that leaves the door open for a passenger who was banned on, say, United Airlines, to simply book future travels on Delta, American, JetBlue or Southwest.
Incidents of disruptive passenger behavior on flights spiked during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) received a record 5,981 reports of unruly passengers in 2021.
The Association of Flight Attendants, which represents over 50,000 flight attendants at 17 airlines, applauded the introduction of the bill. “It’s about time we take real action to keep Flight Attendants and passengers safe in the air. Thank you, @RepSwalwell, for introducing the legislation to protect Flight Attendants and Passenger Service Agents,” the organization tweeted.
Throughout this period of increased bad behavior, flight attendants have born the brunt of the abuse. According to a 2021 survey of flight attendants, over 85% had dealt with unruly passengers in the first half of last year, when the most egregious incidents escalated to cause disruption on the flight and even, in some cases, violence. On an Alaska Airlines flight in March 2021, a Colorado man who refused to wear a face mask swatted at a flight attendant, then stood up and urinated in his seat area. In May of last year, a Southwest Airlines passenger punched out a flight attendant’s teeth after being told to keep her seat belt fastened.
The bill also has the support of the Transport Workers Union of America (TWU), the nation’s largest airline union representing over 65,000 aviation workers. “The TWU has been calling for such a banned-passenger list since the fall of 2021, as assaults against aviation workers have skyrocketed,” the organization said in a statement. “Despite the severity and frequency of these events, not a single passenger who has assaulted a ground service worker has been prosecuted under federal law. This bill has the potential to be a game changer.”
In February, Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian asked the Department of Justice to create a master list of passengers banned from flying on commercial aircraft. The following week, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told CNN he was open to the idea.
Under H.R. 7433, “The Protection From Abusive Passengers Act” introduced by Swalwell and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), passengers whose unruly or violent actions result in a civil or criminal penalty could be referred by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) or Department of Justice (DOJ) and placed on a “no-fly” list maintained by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
The bill has been referred to the Committee on Homeland Security and to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.
The bill is supported by a strong and diverse coalition that includes the Air Line Pilots Association; Association of Flight Attendants, CWA; Association of Professional Flight Attendants; Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO; Transport Workers Union of America, AFL-CIO; American Airlines; Delta Air Lines; and Southwest Airlines.
“We applaud Senator Reed and Congressmen Swalwell and Fitzpatrick for the introduction of legislation that would not only protect the flying public from those who have been convicted of unruly behavior or assaults on commercial aircraft, but also sends a strong signal of the consequences of not complying with crew member instructions. We look forward to working with them and other policymakers on ways to protect all airline employees, not just those in flight. An offense onboard the aircraft is no different than an offense at the ticket counter or at the gate. Every employee and passenger should be protected by policies and consequences that treat them the same,” stated Allison Ausband, E.V.P and Chief Customer Experience Officer, Delta Air Lines.
 Interference with cabin or flight crew
 Interference with security screening personnel
3Interference with flight crew members and attendants