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National No-Fly List Could be in the Works for Badly Behaved Flyers

Hand einer jungen Frau in Handschellen Hand of a young woman in handcuffs

Travelers who are caught being bad aboard commercial aircraft could finally be banned across all U.S. airlines.
After submitting nearly 6,000 unruly passenger reports to the Federal Aviation Administration in 2021, the major U.S. airlines are taking matters into their own hands.


Bloomberg reports the carriers are meeting with other government agencies, unions and organizations with the hopes of creating a national “Do Not Fly” list for the worst acting flyers.


Talks Include Airlines, Trade Unions, TSA and Homeland Security

When the issue first became a serious problem in 2021, airlines were encouraged to take their own measures and submit the worst claims to the FAA for review and potential fines. In turn, the FAA issued public service announcements and sought fines of over $1 million collectively against the worst travelers.


In addition to removing the troublemaking flyers from aircraft, carriers also created internal no-fly lists for those who did not follow the airline rules – including following the national face mask mandate. As it stands today, the no-fly list includes over 4,000 flyers across all major U.S. airlines. But in many cases, these flyers are only banned from one carrier, as the companies do not necessarily share their lists.


Now, the carriers are reportedly meeting with other stakeholders to create a national no-fly list, which would include anyone banned by an airline. According to those close to the talks speaking to Bloomberg, the airlines are meeting with Airlines for America, the Department of Homeland Security, the Transportation Security Administration and representatives from labor unions. The discussions are focused on what behaviors would warrant flyers being added to the list, and which activities would warrant a lifetime ban. Moreover, the group is determining what to do about redress for mistaken identities, and which agency would oversee and distribute the no-fly list among all the airlines.


While the talks are still at a high level, there is no timeline on when the no-fly list would be implemented. However, both Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Delta Air Lines chief executive Ed Bastian have both publicly called for a universal unruly passenger no-fly list.


Discussions Come as Frontline Workers Face More Threats

The talks come at a time when more assaults on airline workers and other parties are being reported in higher numbers than ever before. In January 2022, a Honduran passenger was arrested on charges of breaking into the cockpit of an American Airlines flight. And in October 2021, American CEO Doug Parker pleaded with a public to stop the assaults, after a passenger broke the nose of a flight attendant.

Moyerclan February 27, 2022

Yes! Yes! Yes! 
Gawd I miss the days when air travel was special... dressed up and on our best behavior.  Some folks act like their at Walmart on the people of Walmart site.

phkc070408 February 20, 2022

I'm going to +1 to the idea that there needs to be a form of due-process and dispute.  I think I like the idea of a neutral being the one to decide if you're put on the list or not.  I definitely agree that an FA should not be allowed to add someone to the list on their own.

jcmalcolm February 18, 2022

This idea will only serve to enrich lawyers and will not happen in practice.  Imagine if all grocery stores banded together to ban those who misbehave or shoplift, all trains or subways in the nation banning those who use profane language or wear clothing offensive to others, etc.
Who really wants some former Facebook employees making a few mouse clicks and banning those who have loud political discussions of the 'wrong' views?
There is no other industry in the US that conspires together to ban customers.  Airlines aren't special. 
There is due process in the US Constitution for a reason.  Let's not toss around silly ideas that would further destroy a free society.
Not wearing a mask will not make an airplane crash. Ever.  
Even the USG NoFly list has at most 300-400 terrorists on it - for good reason.

AADFW February 17, 2022

I'm fine with this so long as there is some sort of due process and it is not left up to the caprice of an individual flight attendant (who may have woken up on the wrong side of bed) to unilaterally play judge and jury. 

GrayAnderson February 16, 2022

The issue here isn't the legal system being "soft".  The issue is that you've also had issues over the years of a small number of FAs going on power trips (scour the FT archives and you'll find stories).

So if the idea is "all carriers ban anyone convicted of a crime against an FA", I'm cool with that.  But if you're banning folks the FAA hasn't bothered to warn or fine, I feel like that is rather sketchier.