Since the pandemic began, airlines have banned hundreds of passengers for unruly behavior. Delta Air Lines wants airlines to share these lists.
The Atlanta-based airline has “asked other airlines to share their ‘No Fly” list to further protect airline employees across the industry – something we know is of paramount importance to you too “Kristen Manion Taylor, Delta’s senior vice president of in-Air Services, wrote to flight attendants on Wednesday. “A blocked customer list doesn’t work so well if that customer can fly on another airline.”
Delta said it had 1,600 passengers on its list. It declined to comment on a joint no-fly list of banned travelers.
Flight attendant and pilot unions have issued warnings about the recalcitrant behavior of passengers, which has increased during the coronavirus pandemic. Incidents of shouting, verbal abuse of crew members and, in rare cases, bodily harm have been reported.
Passengers wearing protective masks wait for a Delta Air Lines Inc. flight at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia, USA on Wednesday, April 7, 2021.
Elijah Nouvelage | Bloomberg | Getty Images
The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, which represents around 50,000 flight attendants from more than a dozen airlines, previously requested a central database for passengers with a flight ban.
The Federal Aviation Administration received 4,385 reports of recalcitrant passengers this year, nearly three-quarters of them relating to travelers who refused to comply with a state mask mandate on board.
The FAA issued a zero tolerance policy for these incidents earlier this year and said on Thursday that the rate has fallen by 50% since then. However, it added that the rate of six incidents per 10,000 flights was “still too high”.
Unions and airlines called on the Justice Department in June to prosecute passengers who become violent on flights.
“The A4A passenger company’s number one priority 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,” said Airlines for America, a lobby group for major US Airlines like Delta, American, United and others.
The airlines’ prohibited passenger lists are separate from the state no-fly list maintained by the Terrorist Screening Center of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
American Airlines and Southwest Airlines do not currently sell alcohol on board due to concerns that alcohol could encourage bad behavior.
Southwest’s new CEO Bob Jordan told CNBC Thursday that he didn’t expect alcohol sales to return until the state’s air travel mask mandate is lifted, a move currently slated for Jan. 19.
Rep. Peter DeFazio, chairman of the House Committee on Transport and Infrastructure, said Thursday airport restaurants should help discourage passengers from bringing alcohol on board with to-go cups.
“There is no reason why a passenger should leave a restaurant with a cup of liquor to take away and board a plane with it,” he said in a written testimony before an air rage committee hearing.