Delta Wants Airlines to Share Banned-Flyer Lists

Editor’s note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape’s Coronavirus Resource Center.

Delta Airlines is asking other air carriers to share their lists of passengers banned for unruly behavior such as refusing to wear face masks on a plane, CBS News reported.

CBS News said it reviewed a Delta memo sent to flight attendants that said: “We’ve also asked 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. A list of banned customers doesn’t work as well if that customer can fly with another airline.”

The Federal Aviation Administration already keeps a banned flyer database using information provided by airlines. The FAA reported this week that it has received 4,385 reports of unruly passengers this year alone, including 3,199 reports of passengers refusing to obey the face mask rules.

Delta has banned more than 1,600 passengers itself and submitted more than 600 names of passengers to the FAA, CBS News said. The FAA says its database only contains incidents reported at the discretion of the crewmember.

Bad behavior on airliners has increased sharply during the COVID-19 pandemic, often occurring when passengers refuse to comply with federal rules that face masks must be worn in airports and on airplanes unless a person is eating, drinking, or has a medical exemption.

The FAA ordered the mask mandate in June 2020 and announced a zero-tolerance policy in January 2021. In February 2021, the agency implemented fines for unruly behavior.

Complaints dropped after that, the agency reported. So far this year, the FAA says it has initiated 789 investigations into passengers accused of unruly behavior. In 2020, the FAA started 183 investigations, CBS News said. 

The FAA can propose fines of up to $37,000 per violation. One incident can result in multiple violations. Perhaps the largest fine proposed so far for unruly behavior was $52,000, for a passenger accused of trying to open the cockpit door and physically assaulting a flight attendant twice.

CBS News reported last month that the FAA has already requested fines of more than $1 million in 2021 for unruly passengers. It’s unclear how many of the fines have actually been paid.

Sources

CBS News. “Delta has banned more than 1,600 unruly passengers. Now, it wants airlines to share ban lists.”

FAA. “Unruly passengers”

CBS News. “Assaults, a death threat and mask refusal: Fines for unruly passengers this year top $1 million”

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