FAA Urges Airlines To Take Stronger Action With Unruly, Disruptive Passengers

Kimberly Redmond  |

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) wants US passenger airlines to do more to address the surge in incidents involving unruly or violent passengers.

On Tuesday, the FAA sat down with trade groups, including the Regional Airline Association, the National Air Carrier Association and Airlines for America, asking that they commit to taking more action and respond within a week with what steps they will implement over the next month. 

In a statement, the FAA said it “believes additional action by the airlines and all aviation stakeholders is necessary to stop the unsafe behavior.”

The FAA introduced a zero-tolerance policy for dangerous and disruptive behavior in January following a steady increase in the number of reports of unruly passengers.

Since then, more than $1 million in proposed fines have been doled out against dozens of passengers. 

Of the nearly 4,000 reports of bad behavior the FAA has received since January, clashes over masks have made up more than 75% of those incidents. Other incidents have involved passengers who allegedly assaulted flight attendants, threatened other travelers or drank alcohol they brought onto the plane.

In a typical year, the FAA only sees between 100 to 150 reports of bad passenger behavior, NBC News noted. 

According to the FAA, the zero-tolerance policy will apply as long as federal mask rules on airplanes — which the Biden administration recently extended through Jan. 18, 2022 — remain in effect.

As travel continues to rebound in the US, the FAA has taken several steps to try and curtail bad behavior, including several marketing campaigns.

It has also urged airports across the US to monitor how much alcohol is served to passengers, citing the spike in incidents.
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