Delta Airlines CEO Ed Bastian has noted these incidents are rare. But he suggested putting convicted offenders on the no-fly list could help. And while these incidents are technically rare, they’re still far more plentiful than they used to be. According to CNBC, regulators have received a record 5,981 incident reports from last year alone. Most of these disputes involve face masks. And enforcement actions were needed in 350 of those cases.
Bastian states in a letter to the Justice department that putting offenders on a no fly list “will help prevent future incidents and serve as a strong symbol of the consequences of not complying with crew member instructions on commercial aircraft.”
Last year, the FAA declared a zero-tolerance policy for such passengers. Incidents have included verbal and physical abuse of crews and other passengers, most often over mask policies. Due to the pandemic, airlines require all passengers to wear a mask on board.
This isn’t the First Time Delta Airlines Has Proposed a ‘No Fly List’
While this issue has now been taken to the justice department, Delta airlines floated the idea last September. The airline proposed that its fellow airlines share a single no-fly list of “unruly passengers,” so passengers convicted of such behavior couldn’t simply board another flight on a different airline.
The company asked other airlines to other airlines to “share their ‘no fly’ list to further protect airline employees across the industry — something we know is top of mind for you as well,” Kristen Manion Taylor, Delta’s president of in-flight service, wrote in a letter to flight attendants. “A list of banned customers doesn’t work as well if that customer can fly with another airline.”
While this request to the Justice department is new, it isn’t the first time airlines and labor unions have gone to the Justice Department with requests for assistance. Last year, they requested that the Justice Department prosecute passengers who become violent on flights.
“The top priority of A4A passenger carriers is the safety of all employees and passengers. And we are committed to working with the federal government and our industry partners to provide a safe journey for all travelers,” lobbying group Airlines for America wrote in a letter to the department.
In September, Delta had 1,600 people on their list of banned passengers. That number is up to 1,900 people. The Justice Department has yet to comment on Bastian’s letter.