Could airlines band together to ground unruly passengers?

Delta and a flight attendants union want a common database of unruly passengers.


September 30, 2021

Delta revealed it has 1.6k+ people on its banned list and has submitted 600+ names to the FAA’s Special Emphasis Enforcement Program this year.

It now wants airlines to share their lists to prevent problem passengers from switching carriers.

And last week, the House Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee on Aviation held a hearing about “air rage,” during which flight attendants detailed the vulgar language, slurs, and violence they’ve endured.

Have people always been this bad at flying?

No. Incidents have surged since the pandemic. Per the FAA, between Jan. 1 and Sept. 28, there have been:

  • 4.5k Unruly Passenger Reports — ~73% were over masks
  • 808 investigations
  • 169 enforcement cases initiated

A survey from the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) found that 85% of respondents had dealt with an unruly passenger in the 1st half of 2021.

Like Delta, AFA also recommends creating a centralized list of unruly passengers.

Who would be in charge of this list?

The FBI maintains a no-fly list, but only of known or suspected terrorists. It’s been criticized for its lack of transparency. Example: It took a woman who was put on it by mistake a decade to get removed.

During last week’s hearing, Lauren Beyer, VP of security and facilitation at Airlines for America, said that airlines do maintain internal no-fly lists.

But, there would be “legal and operational challenges” with carriers collaborating on a common database.

And so, as US Rep. Peter DeFazio points out, the responsibility would likely fall on the FAA.

BTW: Check out these memes the FAA made to try to convince people to behave on planes.

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