0 min left

FAA Asks Airlines to Help with Unruly Passenger Crisis

With unruly passenger reports continuing to climb at an alarming rate, the Federal Aviation Administration wants airlines to do more to stop the problem. The agency is giving carriers one week to say how they plan on curbing passenger incidents before they become serious issues.

Once again, the Federal Aviation Administration is asking another stakeholder to help curb unruly passenger problems. Reuters reports the agency met with airline trade groups to brainstorm ideas and giving carriers one week to come up with solutions.

Top Aviation Agency Says “Additional Action” by Airlines is Necessary

The meeting with FAA officials was attended by Airlines for America and other consortiums in the industry. During the meeting, the agency put more responsibility on carriers to stop passenger outbursts aboard aircraft.

“[The stakeholders discussed] ways the industry can work together to reduce the number of unruly passenger incidents,” a spokesperson for the FAA told Reuters. “[The FAA] believes additional action by the airlines and all aviation stakeholders is necessary to stop the unsafe behavior.”

In 2021 alone, unruly passenger complaint investigations have increased by 254 percent compared to the previous record set in 2005, and 540 percent compared to 2019. Despite receiving over 4,300 unruly passenger reports, the FAA has only formally investigated 789 of them, leading to over 162 enforcement cases – for a enforcement rate of roughly 20 percent – and over $1 million in combined fines.

Even though the FAA is asking other aviation stakeholders for help, both lawmakers and airlines have askes for the government to do more. In June 2021, Reuters notes Airlines for America wrote a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice asking for criminal prosecutions against poorly behaved passengers. On September 20, Senate Democrats Dick Durbin and Maria Cantwell also wrote attorney general Merrick Garland asking for prosecutions.

At the beginning of 2021, the FAA said unruly incidents could be referred to the Justice Department for criminal penalties. So far, civil fines have been the primary avenue for enforcement, and it is unclear how many unruly flyers have been referred for prosecution.

Meeting Marks Second Time FAA Passes the Buck

The stakeholder meeting is the second time the FAA has passed responsibility for unruly flyers to other partners. In August 2021, the agency asked airports to be part of the solution by not overserving passengers.

mawestpac October 3, 2021

I would like to know many passengers listen t the flight attendant's announcement. I fell, there is less than five percent of passengers listen to the announcement. I had a chance to get on the regional train last week and noticed that they are plenty of federal regulation posters is posted in the cabin. How many airlines post the rule and regulations? Maybe none. If they post the mask regulation and penalty be imposed in the cabin, the incident may be reduced. Many people don't the federal regulation, and it's important to let them read.

DrMilano September 25, 2021

Airlines are just as guilty for the airport alcohol issue as the clubs are free pouring alcoholic beverages, including upselling premium drinks and BOTTLES of champagne. Hypocrite Delta would surely complain to the DOT if the SkyClubs were no longer allowed to serve alcoholic beverages, as all the AmEx credit card swipes to access said lounges would evaporate and Delta would lose money on the SkyClubs. Easy solution is to require a vaccine mandate to travel, then flight attendants can return to providing a service in the air and not policing a federal mandate which they are trained to enforce.

AADFW September 24, 2021

It is absolutely absurd that people keep blaming this problem on alcohol when that substance has been served in airports and on board aircraft since at least the 1950s. What's different about 2020 and 2021? Hmm... could it be MASKS perhaps? Just require proof of vaccination to fly and make masks optional and this problem goes away overnight.

jem53 September 23, 2021

Airlines have already done plenty to stop these violent "domestic terrorists". They need to be prosecuted by the government and put on the Homeland Security NO FLY list. I agree 100% with MRM. I know several flight attendants and they are afraid to have to deal with these people. As a flyer, I don't want to be seated next to one of these violent crazy criminals. Do Air Marshals no longer exist on our planes?

strickerj September 23, 2021

Sounds like the beatings will continue until morale improves.