Responding to a spate of poor behavior on commercial flights, the Federal Aviation Administration has issued a warning: behave now or huge fines and possible jail time with no warnings or negotiations.
New FAA No Tolerance Flight Policy For Disruptive Airline Passengers
Noting a “disturbing increase in incidents where airline passengers have disrupted flights with threatening or violent behavior,” the FAA has warned that unruly passengers will face harsh fines, potential jail time, and no chance for warning letters or negotiated settlements. Federal Aviation Administration Chief Steve Dickson signed the order on Wednesday.
Historically, the FAA has responded to unruly passengers by counseling them not to do it again (slap on the wrist) or levying a minor fine. Starting immediately, passengers who “interfere with, physically assault, or threaten to physically assault aircraft crew or anyone else on an aircraft” will face a fine of up to $35,000 and up to 20 years of imprisonment. That includes refusing to wear a mask.
Unruly behavior doesn’t fly! You could be subject to up to $35K in fines or up to 20 years imprisonment for threatening or assaulting a crew member. https://t.co/R6ZunIDuy8 #FlySmart #Travel #airlines
— The FAA ✈️ (@FAANews) January 13, 2021
The harsher penalties will last through at least March 30, 2021 (though I think they should be indefinite…). Recent incidents have included:
- Trump Supporters Flout Mask Policy On United Airlines
- Spirit Airlines Flight Attendant Argues With Passenger Over American Flag Face Covering
- Spirit Airlines Passenger Attacks Mother Of Two After Her Children Kick Seat
- Woman Shot With Stun Gun During Nasty Brawl On Spirit Airlines
- A Sad New Job Description For Flight Attendants
- AA Pilot Threatens To Dump Maskless Passengers In Middle Of Kansas
- Alaska Airlines Bans 14 Passengers After Rowdy Flight From Washington, DC
Sara Nelson, President of the Association of Flight Attendants, applauded the new move but urged the federal government to go even further in placing passengers who engage in such behavior on a “No Fly” list. President Donald Trump condemned lawless behavior from the Oval Office yesterday, but did not specifically mention the new FAA policy.
Frankly, it is about time the FAA stepped in to back airlines and particularly flight attendants, who have been forced into the frontline of dealing with ill-mannered passengers. The message is simple: treat others with respect or stay out of the air. It will truly be a blessing if I no longer have to write about selfish, ignorant fools creating disturbances on commercial flights.
Too weak. Jail time also for airlines if they make too much of an “enhancement” with miles in their frequent flyer program.
Reminds me a bit of the ‘One Too Many’ campaign in the UK. Jet2, a British airline, has this thing called an ‘Onboard Together’ policy – where they make clear that disruption will never be tolerated. Nice to see something similar in the USA being enforced centrally by the FAA. It’s got really crazy in the US over the last 3 or so weeks.
“Threatening or assaulting a crew member”. This should never happen. However, there should be punishment for crew members that think it is their right to make passenger’s lives miserable. How many cases have you seen of a crew member simply deciding that someone was a threat for the flight simply because that person said something or act in a way that was not the way the crew members wanted. That is BS!!! Crew members are not law enforcement people and they were given way too much power since 9/11. Some are correct but most are just way over their heads.
As someone who was thrown off a United flight for taking a picture of my seat, I would agree. Not sure that is an FAA role, but accountability is key for all bad actors.
The accountability there can come in two ways. One legally if the airline violates its contract of carriage you can always sue them and/or possibly pursue a DOT compliant. I freely admit the deck is stacked against you in this case.
Two employees can face discipline and/or termination if they remove someone from a flight that should not have been removed. What’s frustrating of course is that even if the employee gets terminated you who was victimized by that employee will never know that justice was served.
Problem here it will always be his/her version vs yours. You will never win unless it is something like United beating that guy that was all over the news. If you sneeze and the FA doesn’t like it, you are toasted. Since 9/11, I am probably the most boring person when it comes to flying. I enter the airport mute and only say something if really needed otherwise I will only speak again when I leave the destination airport. It is a good exercise to calm your vocal cords but mainly to avoid any issues with anyone that might want to make your life miserable.
Like law enforcement have to answer to an enquiry everytime they unholster their gun flight attendants should have to do the same whenever they deem a passenger a threat to flight safety.
With power comes responsibility.
Will this apply to the parents whose 2 year olds are given the boot for not wearing a mask?
If the No Fly List had been more actively enforced, a lot of these chuckleheads wouldn’t even be on planes right now. That said, the FAA is doing the right thing to try to address the problem in a hurry.
I’ll believe it when I see it (or read about)….. Nevertheless, it’s about time people get heavily fined or go to jail if they can’t pay the fine. Who of us isn’t sick of these tantrum-throwing morons who think the world and everything in it revolves around them or they have never been able to deal with the “NO” answer, rejection or disappointment all through their life? ….. or are the airlines just going to remove the offender and then summarily put them on the next flight (to avoid any bad press)? STOP catering to mentally ill among us !
Conversely, an employee(I work for a major legacy carrier) is “victimized” by a customer said employee will never know whether “justice” was served…goose/gander
Well played FAA, well played.
Better late then never